Manchester United vs Watford Preview (February 26, 2022)

Written By Uttiyo Sarkar on February 25, 2022

Manchester United have somehow built a little winning run in the Premier League and looks to continue that when they host relegation battlers Watford at Old Trafford. This is a bit of a ‘grudge match’ because Watford defeated them 4-1 in the reverse fixture & United are also desperate for a dominant home win.

Ralf Rangnick’s side has a daunting schedule ahead, so they need a big win against the Hornets to gain some winning momentum before the challenging March fixtures.

Manchester United Likely XI

De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Telles, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo

Edinson Cavani remains United’s only injury worry.

Watford Likely XI

Foster, Kiko, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara, Sissoko, Cleverley, Louza, Sarr, Dennis, King

Defender Nicolas N’Koulou is ruled out, while Joao Pedro & Juraj Kucka are doubtful.

Manchester United vs Watford Preview

The next few weeks can potentially define Man United’s bleak season. Games against Man City, Tottenham & Liverpool lie await and the second leg of the Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid is also in March.

However, Rangnick should take things one step at a time. His focus should be on winning the Watford game. After seeing his side impress in recent league games, nothing but a dominant win can be feasible.

Cristiano Ronaldo is experiencing a rough patch of form in 2022, having only scored one single goal. Watford aren’t defensively great (they conceded 4 to Crystal Palace recently), so Ronaldo has to pounce on his chances (which he should get aplenty) if he wants to reignite his scoring form. After his heroics against Atletico, Anthony Elanga is in line to start. The Swedish youngster needs to use his sparky movement & be decisive in the final third to torment the visitors.

Jadon Sancho is experiencing nice form under Rangnick, but he needs to continue improving his own final product to get among the goal contributions against his youth side. Bruno Fernandes & Paul Pogba will look to pull the strings in midfield & run the show.

Fernandes just needs to be less experimental & more accurate with his final third passes to continue his impressive form, as well as look to get in key scoring areas to trouble Watford. Pogba also needs to maintain discipline in midfield and pick out chances with his innovative forward passes.

Watford might be in the relegation zone, but United have to be wary of their ‘new manager bounce’ under Roy Hodgson. The Hornets pose an unpredictable threat & have quality attacking players that can hurt the Red Devils.

Emmanuel Dennis is a daunting challenge because of his smart movement & decisiveness. Ismaila Sarr’s pace & clinical nature in the box makes him a big threat, while Josh King doesn’t miss if given too many opportunities.

Former United player Tom Cleverley & Moussa Sissoko can be bullish figures in midfield, as well as create chances. It’s safe to say United’s backline can’t slack off. Harry Maguire & Raphael Varane must maintain a rock-solid line all game long to ensure a clean sheet for David de Gea.

The Red Devils should dominate the lion’s share of possession and create a lot of chances, but they can’t afford to be wasteful. Rangnick must ensure his side maintains an aggressive intensity, keep things under control & finish chances clinically to win their third-straight PL game.

Prediction

Because of Watford’s ‘new manager bounce’ thing I don’t think this will be a cakewalk for United. But I still think they have enough quality & good form to seal a 3-1 win.

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Uttiyo Sarkar

An unbiased Manchester United die-hard. Lover of the beautiful game. Addicted to the Premier League and beyond. Hopeful writer in the search for the greater good.

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