Manchester United welcome Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League after a very impressive win against Chelsea last week. Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire scored as the Red Devils left Stamford Bridge with all three points to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification. The Europa League game against Club Brugge in Belgium ended in a draw but the Reds grabbed an invaluable away goal in a 1-1 draw, putting themselves in an excellent position to advance to the Europa League round-of-sixteen next week.
Despite an uptick in form under Pearson, Watford still find themselves in 19th and facing relegation. The Hornets have managed to whittle down the points gap to just one from safety and, coming off their winter break, Watford have had over two weeks to rest and prepare for this game.
Last time out, they won a point against fellow strugglers, Brighton. Wins against Wolves and Bournemouth had given Pearson's Watford a new life in their fight to avoid relegation, but the new manager bounce seems to have died in the last few weeks. Draws with Tottenham and Brighton have earned them a few valuable points, though tight losses to Aston Villa and Everton have been heart-breaking.
On Sunday, Nigel Pearson is looking to become the fourth English manager to complete a Premier League double over Manchester United.
Manchester United vs Watford Head-to-Head
In 28 games United hold a firm advantage with 20 wins, though Watford have taken steps to address that record in recent years.
The last time these two teams met, back in December, Manchester United travelled to Vicarage Road to take on rock-bottom Watford — and it was a complete wreck. The hosts beat Ole's side 2-0 with a goal from Ismaila Sarr and a Troy Deeney penalty proving the difference. Heading into that match, Watford had been winless in five — but Nigel Pearson encouraged his squad and pulled off a huge upset.
Manchester United form guide: D-W-D-W-W
Watford form guide: D-L-L-L-D
Manchester United vs Watford Team News
There is some amazing news for Manchester United when it comes to injuries as Scott McTominay is set to return for the clash against Watford after two months out with injury.
The midfielder hasn’t played since damaging knee ligaments against Newcastle on Boxing Day. With January signing Bruno Fernandes adding a new attacking dimension to United’s midfield, McTominay’s presence gives Solskjaer much-needed options as he negotiates the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the opportunity in Europa League to rest David de Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes, and Fred — with the latter two restricted to a short run-out near the end.
As for Watford, Record signing Ismailla Sarr has had 2 weeks to recover from a muscle problem but is still a doubt, so his vacancy could see Danny Welbeck start against his old side. There are further concerns over Kiko Femenia and Tom Cleverley while Craig Dawson and Daryl Janmaat are surely going to miss the game. Nathaniel Chalobah is likely to come into the side as Pearson considers his options in midfield
Manchester United vs Watford Predicted XI
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic; James, Fernandes, James; Martial.
Watford: Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Capoue; Welbeck, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney.
Manchester United vs Watford Prediction
We have watched enough football this season to realize that Manchester United do not like playing sides that they should beat. Losing at home against Burnley and Crystal Palace and drawing with Aston Villa and Everton before Carlo Ancelotti says a lot.
Watford will be looking to frustrate the home side and play on the counter. But with home advantage and some good form, Manchester United should win this game comfortably.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 WatfordPublished 21 Feb 2020, 20:34 IST