Preview: Watford v Manchester United

Benfica - Manchester United

Manchester United will have their work cut out for them when they take on impressive Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Premier League
28 November 2017
Gameweek 14
Kick-off: 22H00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Vicarage Road

Referee: J. Moss
Assistants: E. Smart, A. Halliday
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Head-to-head summary

Watford 28 5 5 18
Man United 28 18 5 5

Previous encounter

Manchester United 2-0 Watford (11/02/17) Premier League

Man United goalscorers: J. Mata (32′), A. Martial (60′)

Players to watch

Richarlison has already made a huge impact for the Hornets following his arrival from Fluminense during the off-season. The 20-year-old winger was an unknown entity to the Premier League and used that to his advantage, having registered five goals and three assists in 13 top-flight outings this term.

United continue to blow hot and cold with Romelu Lukaku still struggling for goals. The Belgium international is the club’s top scorer this season with 11 goals in all competitions, but has only found the back of the net once in his last 10 games.

The trickery and pace provided by Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on the wings could cause problems for Marco Silva’s side, although the pair had little effect against Basel and Brighton most recently.

Team form and manager quotes

Watford are one of the surprise packages in 2017/18 having already taken points off Liverpool in a 3-3 draw and beating Arsenal more recently.

A 2-0 success over West Ham saw them arrest a three-match losing streak in the league and they followed it up with a convincing 3-0 victory at Newcastle last time out.

The Hornets remain in the top-half of the table in eighth place, eight points adrift of their midweek opponents, and Silva is looking forward to locking horns with compatriot Jose Mourinho.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to stay a little bit more with him,” the Portuguese coach told the press.

“It’s a very good relationship and he’s a very good person. For Portugal, he has been a very important coach, but tomorrow it is one against the other and of course I want to win.”

The Red Devils have recorded back-to-back wins against Newcastle and Brighton since going down to Chelsea earlier this month. They remain the closest challengers to runaway leaders Manchester City, who hold an eight-point lead over their neighbours.

The return of Paul Pogba against the Magpies inspired United to a 4-1 victory, although they were fortunate to beat the Seagulls on Saturday where Ashley Young’s deflected shot secured a narrow 1-0 win.

Mourinho’s men have only suffered two league defeats in the new campaign, and the 54-year-old is wary of the opposition, who have made strides under Silva.

“I think Watford have made progress,” Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference. “I think they have a squad full of very good players, that are not normal to be a mid-table team.

“They have a good coach and they improved a lot from last season.”

Team news

The hosts welcome back skipper Troy Deeney, who has now served his three-match suspension for violent conduct.

However, Miguel Britos faces a late fitness test on a knock he received at St James’ Park over the weekend, while Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee) continue to be unavailable.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are both on the mend, but the defenders are unlikely to be risked on Tuesday, which could see Marcos Rojo get another run-out as he looks to build up his match fitness.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could also play a part after coming off the bench in United’s last three games.