Manchester United were unable to make it 3 wins in a row in the Premier League, playing out a frustrating 0-0 draw against relegation dwellers Watford – dominating the entire game and missing some sitters.
The Red Devils were completely on top of the game in the first half, dominating 67% of the possession, attempting 10 shots and having a good 5-6 big chances to score. But they were somehow not able to score any goals and went into half-time a frustrated unit.
United continue going for that much-needed goal in the second half, but just weren’t able to score past Ben Foster. They attempted 22 shots, but only had 3 on target! In their defence, the Red Devils had two potential penalties denied in either half and could’ve won if the officiating was better, but there’s no point of using that as an excuse for a game like this.
The Red Devils created a lot of big chances and wasted some huge chances, resulting in this draw. If they continue dropping points against relegation dwellers and putting in such frustrating, indecisive performances, Ralf Rangnick’s side can’t really expect a top-4 challenge.
They still might be in 4th place, but just two points above Arsenal (who have 3 games in hand) and 5 clear of Spurs (with 2 games in hand). Only an end-of-season miracle can ensure a finish in a Champions League spot for United now. Their next 3 games? Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool. If they play like this, can’t see them winning any PL game in March.
Manchester United player ratings vs Watford
Ralf Rangnick (7.0)–
Rangnick went with a relatively attack-minded team for this one, even though playing Pogba/Bruno out wide didn’t really make sense. But his tactics, especially with the attacking moves, was spot on as United started the game in emphatic fashion but just couldn’t finish their chances. The players missed some absolute sitters.
Ralf’s tactics ensured United dominated the entire game and were defensively solid too. It’s just that they couldn’t score from easy areas. HIs subs failed to make the necessary impact too, resulting in an extremely frustrating result. Can’t really blame him for the players being so wasteful today.
David de Gea (6.0) –
De Gea had a very quiet first half, barely having to make any saves. Forced into making a few routine saves in the second half and had it quite easy all game long, getting a nice clean sheet from a disappointing result.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.5) –
Wan-Bissaka gets another start and nearly sets up a goal in the 4th, sending in a great for Ronaldo’s early chance. Completely nullified the dangerous Dennis’ threat, making 4 tackles and winning 10 duels at the back. Near flawless defensively and moved the ball forward well, even though his crosses were hit n’ miss.
Victor Lindelof (7.0) –
The Swedish centre-back seems quite comfortable playing alongside Varane at the back and looked proactive at the back. Won 8 duels, made 9 ball recoveries and like Varane, Lindelof also impressed defensively – proving they can be a viable centre-back duo.
Raphael Varane (7.0) –
Varane continued good form after impressing in mid-week. Kept control of Josh King, not allowing him to really threaten his side’s goal. Maintained a solid defensive line, winning 6 duels and making some clutch challenges to help his side get a clean sheet and be in control at all times.
Alex Telles (6.0) –
The Brazilian starts the game brightly and set up Ronaldo’s offside goal with a nice cross. Struck a freekick just wide in the 37th. Fizzled out a bit in the second half and looked a bit shaky against Ismaila Sarr’s pace, forcing a late substitution.
Fred (6.5) –
Fred is playing in a deeper role than usual today and helping his side dominate the possession. A bit clumsy in losing possession at times, but maintained an energetic attitude in midfield, pressing the opponents well and progressing things nicely.
Paul Pogba (7.0) –
Pogba seems to have gotten the free, advanced midfield role. Sets up a great chance for Bruno with a nice cross in the 19th. Creates another nice chance with a sweet flick for Elanga in the 56th. Moved the ball around slickly, but looked a bit shaky defensively and seemingly lost all his energy towards the end. But even he’ll be gutted not to get an assist after having created some big chances.
Nemanja Matic (7.5) –
Matic starts after impressing as a sub against Atletico. Progressing the ball forward nicely with some slick passes. Made some excellent long balls to set up nice chances and completely bossed things in midfield, maintaining a 91% passing accuracy, making 9 recoveries and winning 3 duels.
Bruno Fernandes (4.0)–
Captain Fernandes comes into this with two goals in as many last PL games. Tricks past multiple players to take a shot in the 9th, but sees it blocked by his own teammate. Then misses an absolute sitter in a 1v1 a few minutes later, hitting a shot at the keeper. Puts another big attempt wide after a nice run in the 19th.
Then scuffs another nice chance in the 27th, heading over from a nice area. Created a few good chances in the second half and showed desire to get the ball forward, but his poor misses in the first half eventually cost United a win. Maybe the captain’s armband has a curse or something.
Anthony Elanga (7.0) –
After scoring twice as a substitute in recent games, Elanga gets a well-deserved start. Creates a big chance for Bruno in the 12th after a nice forward run. Made a fantastic run in the box in the 56th but couldn’t finish a well-created move, hitting one wide of the goal.
Tormented Watford’s defenders with his electric, incisive movement but just lacked that special something in the box. Should’ve had a goal contribution after that energetic outing.
Cristiano Ronaldo (4.5) –
Only has 1 goal in 2022 but should get chances to increase that today. Almost does in the 4th minute, rattling the post after a nice attempt from close-range. Scores one in the 16th but sees it ruled out. Does well to go past the goalkeeper and set up the chance for Bruno in the 27th. Got a nice shot on target in the 61st that is blocked by Elanga.
Sees a weak attempt of his body barely saved six minutes later. Looked shot of confidence towards the end and his close-control, link-up play was again underwhelming. Didn’t have lady luck’s blessing with his shots and again put in an underwhelming outing, by his standards.
Jadon Sancho (6.0) –
Sancho added more energy and incisiveness moving down the left, troubling the defenders with his mazy movement. Had one shot curl over the bar towards the end in his most major contribution.
Luke Shaw (N/R) –
Shaw was helped to create some big chances for United and did set up some decent stuff with his crosses, but unable to see anyone capitalize on it.
Marcus Rashford (N/R) –
Played more like a centre-forward alongside Ronaldo, but couldn’t really get himself to have a shot on target.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matic and Wan-Bissaka were probably United’s best players today, helping them dominate their specific areas. Can’t give this to a United player after THAT performance, so I’ll give the MOTM to Watford midfielder Moussa Sissoko. He worked hard defensively and frustrated the Red Devils really well.