Premier League 2018/19: Watford vs Manchester United - The battle of Vicarage Road
Watford, the rising sensation
At the beginning of the season, not many would have bet on Watford to be sitting above the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United in the Premier League table after gameweek 4. However, as things stand before play resumes after the international break, Watford is in the third position only on goal difference with Liverpool and Chelsea.
This is certainly a fairytale start for the Hornets who are yet to win the topmost prize of the English football, the Premier League. This is their best ever start in the Premier League campaign.
Manchester United in search of inspiration
Manchester United, on the other hand, is off to a jittery start to the campaign. After losing two matches on the trot against Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspurs, United outfit has broken the losing streak with a win against Burnley, before going into the international break. They have 6 points from their 4 games and are already 6 points adrift of the table toppers.
This is not a start Jose Mourinho or the United supporters would have desired. Resuming from the break, United will have to face a resurgent Watford without the services of two of their key players, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw. Rashford is out due to suspension while the heart of the United defence, Shaw is out due to the concussion he faced while on national duty against Spain following a collision with Dani Carvajal.
The Battle of Vicarage Road
The weekend encounter is a baby step towards glory for the hosts, while for the visitors it is a step towards saving the pride of the legendary club. With United defence already in doldrums, the absence of Luke Shaw will make it a nightmare job for the remaining watchdogs. Watford is third in terms of scoring in this campaign. Roberto Pereyra and Co. could unleash havoc on this defence if leakages are not plugged at the right time.
The glimmer of hope for United is the fact that, they have dominated the Hornets in their previous encounters. Watford has lost 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions with Manchester United. This fact could be a morale booster for the Red Devils.
However, since the head coach Javi Gracia took charge in February, the Hornets have accrued 23 points at home, more than any other team in the Premier League. This stat definitely puts the hosts in the driving seat.
Players who hold the key
Manchester will rely heavily on Romelu Lukaku, who is their leading scorer. Lukaku, however, would not have as many chances as he had against Burnley. His wastefulness could cost United the hope of bouncing back. They are already on the verge of going into the bottom half of the table. Paul Pogba will have to unearth his true potential to come out with all the points from the match-up.
Roberto Pereyra has lit up the Premier League, by scoring 3 goals so far in the campaign. The ex-Juventus midfielder is finally paying off for the Hornets. However, the star of the show for them could be Jose Holebas who has been involved in the most number of goals in the campaign for any Premier League outfit. Holebas has scored once and assisted in 4 others so far.
The weekend clash could be an absolute carnage for goalkeepers and defences of both the teams. May the better team win!