Winning games is most crucial when running into the Christmas period of the season with games stockpiling up from the Carabao Cup, Champions League and the Premier League. So a 1-0 home win against Brighton did just that and put Manchester United three points clear of Chelsea and four points ahead of Arsenal who have returned into their favourite role of fourth place if only for a while. But now with two big games against Arsenal at the Emirates and the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, only a win will do against the Hornets who have been in sparkling form themselves.
|Phil Jones is still sidelined after England duty|
Watford are eighth in the Premier League and are rejuvenated with their talented new manager Marco Silva and in-form winger Richarlison who Spurs are reportedly keen on signing. Last season, Manchester United were overwhelmed at Vicarage Road and lost the game 3-1 with an early strike from Capoue and a late penalty from captain Troy Deeney to see the Red Devils off. Jose Mourinho will be hoping his own rejuvenated squad will be able to overcome Watford in their chase of their Manchester City, who will be expecting to get three points from each of their home games against West Ham and Southampton.
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones still seem to be sidlined with injuries from their international duty for the Ivory Coast and England respectively. Marcus Rashford limped off for Marouane Fellaini against Brighton and that might be a cause for concern but there has been no real news from Manchester United about this injury so perhaps it isn’t serious. Michael Carrick still seems to be sidelined as well with his heart issues and will be pushing for a start in the new year.
Paul Pogba may be rested for this game in an attempt to maintain his fitness for the Saturday fixture but his influence in the team has been so significant since coming back from injury it would almost certainly be a mistake to leave him out. Marcos Rojo may return to the lineup after playing very well against FC Basel and Victor Lindelof showed Old Trafford what he can do against Brighton with some fans claiming he has brought out his ‘inner Vidic’ which would be a sight to see from the Swede.
Watford will certainly have a go at Manchester United as their crowd will want to see, so United should give some respect to the team that toppled Arsenal and held Liverpool by being merciless in their performance and being more clinical in the final third and not having to rely on controversy and luck to win the game.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Darmian, Lindelof, Rojo, Blind, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Martial, Lingard, Lukaku