By Ollie Cranham-Young
- A win would see United return to the top of the league
- A victory would be United’s third in a row in all competitions
- Carrick, Martial, Fellaini and Valencia all missing through injury
- Rooney unavailable due to illness
Following nearly a two week international break United will be looking to regain their impressive form of late.
A win over Watford at Vicarage Road which would not only see them achieve three consecutive victories in a row but also see United return to the top of the league.
Despite all the criticism they have received in recent weeks a win would see United return to the top for a third time this season. With Arsenal and Manchester City are both in action later in he day, United’s stint at the top could be short lived.
A win for United would see them obtain an away win for the first time since they demolished Everton a month ago following two draws in their last two away games to CSKA and Crystal Palace respectively.
Watford have proved they are no mugs and they currently sit 11th in the league, only 1 point behind Liverpool and will prove a tough test for Louis Van Gaal’s side on Saturday lunchtime.
Watford’s impressive home form is another obstacle that United will have to overcome if they want to leave Vicarage Road will all three points on Saturday.
Watford are a well organised team, hat will be tough to beat. They have conceded only goals in their league games so far. Meaning they have the joint fourth best defence in the league. Only United themselves, Arsenal and Tottenham have conceded few.
Unite have emerged victorious in their last two games against West Brom and CSKA Moscow and will be looking for an away win on Saturday to give them a confidence boost ahead of the all important game against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night.
United haven’t conceded in the league since the beginning of October after an abysmal day in North London but that run could be extended to 5 league games if De Gea manages to perform his magic again.
A win for United would also seem them maintain the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City if they both manage to earn their victories on Saturday afternoon.
As for Watford they are also only 4 points off 7th place, a surprising achievement for a side that was in the Championship last season. They lost 2-1 to Leicester City in their last league outing however before that they claimed back to back victories against Stoke and West Ham.
Injury Problems For United
Michael Carrick is set to miss out after picking up an ankle injury in England’s defeat to Spain and Anthony Martial will also be unavailable following his foot injury as his side lost against England in midweek.
Despite playing and scoring against France for England, captain Wayne Rooney has been ruled by Van Gaal due to illness. Fellaini is also unavailable after failing to recover from a knock he picked before the International break.
Antonio Valencia is out after recently undergoing foot surgery however striker James Wilson is nearing a return to full fitness and is expected to start with Martial and Rooney unavailable.
Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw are long-term absentees however Ashley Young will be hoping to make an appearance at he club at which he spent over a decade of his career helping Watford win promotion last time around in 2006.
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores’ was midfield magician Juan Mata’s first ever club manager and he addressed the media earlier this week with his list of injuries for the upcoming fixture:
He said midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado is doubtful due to a hamstring injury and defender Joel Ekstrand is yet to feature this season for Watford but could make his league debut in a few games time.
Watford may not be he most exciting opponents that United will come up against this season although they will still provide a tough test for the Reds, with United having struggled against promoted sides in recent years.
Clubs such as Leicester and Burnley have all supplied interesting encounters for United, especially when United are playing away from home.
Nevertheless, Louis Van Gaal’s men will be looking to clinch all three points on Saturday and hopefully stay at the top of the league for the longer than planned couple of hours.
One thing we do know is, if United become victors against Watford it will announce to the rest of the league that they are at the top, and are ready to challenge Arsenal and Manchester City for the coveted Premier League crown.