Preview: Manchester United v Watford

Retiring Manchester United captain Michael Carrick will be hoping to bow out on a high when Watford visit Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season.

Premier League
13 May 2018
Gameweek 38
Kick-off: 16H00 local time
Venue: Old Trafford
Referee: L. Mason
Assistants: M. Wilkes, M. McDonough
Fourth official: N. Swarbrick

Head-to-head summary:


Man United 29 19 5 5
Watford 29 5 5 29

Previous encounter:

Watford 2-4 Manchester United v 28/11/17 (Premier League)

Watford goalscorers: T. Deeney (77′ pen), A. Doucoure (84′)

Man United goalscorers: A. Young (19′, 25′), A. Martial (32′), J. Lingard (86′)

Players to watch:

It will be interesting to see which Anthony Martial pitches up on the day. The Frenchman has the ability to leave any defender in his wake, but he’s struggled to produce the goods consistently for United. Martial has contributed 11 goals and 10 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions this season, but has gone six games without registering either.

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been the Hornets’ standout performer this term and was rightfully rewarded with the club’s Player of the Season award this week. The French midfielder has featured in all but one of the club’s 37 league matches, scoring seven goals and providing three assists.

Team form and manager quotes:

Carrick will call time on a glittering playing career at the end of the campaign to join Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff at the Theatre of Dreams.

The Red Devils got the point that secured second place in the league on Thursday, but they will be aiming for a massive improvement from the goalless at West Ham.

Mourinho’s side are now winless in their last two outings after suffering a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Brighton last Friday.

The Portuguese coach confirmed that Carrick will lead out the team one last time on Sunday, while other changes are also expected from the Hammers stalemate.

“Carrick is going to start the match as captain but he is not going to end the match because I want him to leave that pitch alone,” Mourinho told the press.

“I want him to feel what the Manchester United supporters feel in relation to him. I’m not as sad as I normally am when my players end their careers because he is going to be with us and even closer to me than he was as a player.

“So it’s just an emotional moment. He’ll start the match and I’ll make the change in some moments so he can leave the pitch alone.”

Javi Gracia’s men are seeking back-to-back wins to close out their campaign. Last weekend’s 2-1 success against Newcastle arrested a worrying seven-match winless streak.

The 13th-placed Hornets are tied on 41 points with the three teams above them. They could finish in the top half of the table or as low as 15th, depending on results elsewhere on the day.

Gracia’s job is far from safe, given the Pozzo family’s propensity to sack managers at will. His predecessor, Marco Silva, last just over six months at the helm, while Quique Flores and Walter Mazzarri only lasted a season each in the hotseat.

Team news:

The hosts continue to be without Belgian duo Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Marouane Fellaini (muscle).

Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Sergio Romero, Daley Blind, Eric Bailly and Juan Mata will all be recalled to the starting line-up, along with Carrick.

Younes Kaboul, Tom Cleverley, Tommie Hoba and Stefano Okaka remain unavailable for the visitors, but Andre Carrillo and Nathaniel Chalobah could be brought back into the fold.