Manchester United have the chance of moving back to 5th in the Premier League and three points shy off fourth-place Chelsea as they play host to relegation-threatened Watford. They’ve done so with conviction, pulling off a dominant 3-0 win to move closer to the fourth-place and are now in a Champions League position because of Man City’s ban.
After a nervy start, the Red Devils moved into overdrive after the first half-hour and took the lead in the 42nd-minute through an exquisite Bruno Fernandes penalty, which he won himself. Watford threatened again after the break, even scoring an equalizer through Troy Deeney in the 52nd-minute but VAR came to United’s help to keep their lead intact.
The hosts took full advantage of the lifeline, as Anthony Martial doubled the lead in the 58th-minute by delightfully chipping Foster from a difficult angle. Mason Greenwood then made it 3-0 in the 75th-minute with a thumping strike past Foster to Old Trafford’s delight, capping off a solid performance for the Red Devils.
Here are the Manchester United Player Ratings vs Watford.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0) –
Solskjaer got his team pretty much spot on tonight. While playing James ahead of Ighalo seemed questionable, playing Greenwood & Fernandes in that free role brought dividends. His trust in Bruno paid off as he ran the show to produce some delightful stuff. Ole kept pegging his side forward and that brought the late goals & his positive approach worked wonders today.
David de Gea (6.5) –
De Gea was forced to remain sharp from the get-go and made a strong save to deny Doucoure before the half-hour mark. He refused to be bullied by Watford’s physicality and held his nerves to gain three consecutive league clean-sheets!
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.5)-
AWB’s getting better going forward and put in a venomous cross in the 14th. Hit the side-netting in a promising scoring situation minutes later. After the early high, went sour in the attacking end. Ultimately got the better of the dangerous Deulofeu, pulling out his memorable tackles and not allowing Watford any freedom down his side.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
Clatters Deeney with a thumping aerial win in the 2nd minute. Struggling with his distributions on occasions. Bailed out by VAR as Deeney outmuscled him to score before it was disallowed. Apart from that, he was commendable in defence once again. Indomibale aerially, strong with his challenges and ushered United forward with confidence.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
Lindelof’s struggling with Watford’s physicality at times but maintained his cool to avoid big problems. Until he did create an error, missing a header leading to Deeney’s goal that was fortunately ruled out. Apart from that, the Iceman was sturdy in defence and moved United forward with his impressive passing range.
Luke Shaw (7.5)–
Retains his place over Williams. Made a terrific goal-saving block to deny Deeney in the third-minute. Powering forward with intent and thundered a shot at Foster in the 24th. Put in another superb defensive showing, making crucial clearances & owning that left-side as his improvement in-form continues.
Fred (6.5) –
Fred’s being targetted with relentless pressing from the Watford players. Holding his ground pretty well in the first half-hour. Put a shot over from a really promising scoring situation in the 38th. Put in another tenacious performance by waltzing around midfield and while his defensive work was compelling, his attacking influence remains underwhelming.
Nemanja Matic (6.5)-
Starts the game shakily by botching a clearance almost causing a goal-scoring chance for Deeney. Somewhat redeems himself with a goal-saving block off Doucoure in the 13th. Despite being albeit slow & indecisive with his distribution, he put in another assertive performance in regaining possession & making important tackles to get United forward.
Bruno Fernandes (8.5) –
Bruno’s demanding the ball all the time to create things. Just not getting his splitting passes right early on. But livened up after the half-hour mark with better delivery and won the penalty with a superb burst forcing Foster to bring him down. Took it himself in sublime fashion to score his first for United. Then barely scraped a shot wide before half-time.
Played the incisive through-ball leading to Martial’s strike. Gets his assist with a clever lay-off for Greenwood’s goal. Tormented Watford with his movement & delivery to round off a performance worthy of proving his price-tag.
Daniel James (5.5) –
The out-of-form winger has a chance to redeem himself today facing the weary Dawson. Troubling with his pace and tested Foster with a looping shot in the 17th. Powers another strike way wide in the 37th. Despite the frustrations, he let Fernandes through on goal to earn the penalty.
While his sparky movement troubled Watford, James’ final delivery & defensive contributions were both underwhelming. His barren run continues.
Mason Greenwood (7.5) –
Greenwood returns after a short-spell out. Made a promising forward-run before thundering a shot at Foster in the 10th. Moved into a promising area in the 56th but his shot went wide. Forced a strong save from Foster with a strong right-footed strike in the 65th. His relentless paid off as he started and finished the move for his goal in emphatic fashion.
Anthony Martial (7.0) –
Started the game slowly but livened up afterwards. Moved into a promising spot but his shot harrowed way over in the 28th. Remained a frustrating figure before producing a moment of magic in chipping over Foster for his goal. That’s two-in-two in the league for him as he surges forward to reach that coveted 20-goal mark.
Scott McTominay (N/R) –
Coming off from injury, McTominay brought a reassuring figure to see out the result for United.
Tahith Chong (6.0) –
Troubled Watford with his tricky movement, but his poor decision-making held him back from getting amongst the goals.
Odion Ighalo (6.0) –
Got a cameo against his former side and was inches away from scoring his first-goal when he went through on goal in the 85th-minute but his strike tipped the post.
MAN OF THE MATCH
It was the Bruno Fernandes show today. He ran the game tonight, got an assist and his first United goal to get Old Trafford echoing his name. Undoubtedly today’s MOTM for me.