Marco Silva’s Watford side, along with Burnley, have been the surprise package of this year’s Premier League campaign so far. The Hornets are currently in 8th place, with 21 points from their opening 13 games, and just four points away from Champions League positions.
Tuesday night sees Manchester United travel to Vicarage Road, in an encounter that is effectively a must win for the visitors, given that they are already eight points, and a significant goal difference behind runaway leaders, and neighbours Manchester City.
Both sides come into the game on the back of a successful weekend. Watford were great value for a tremendously impressive 3-0 away win at Newcastle United, with the visitors deservedly taking three points away from St James’ Park, with goals from Will Hughes, Andre Gray, and an own goal from Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin.
Following a disappointing result in Switzerland away to Basel in the Champions League last Wednesday, Jose Mourinho’s United crept to a 1-0 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday, courtesy of a deflected Ashley Young strike on 66 minutes, which has since been credited as a Lewis Dunk own goal. The United boss was quick to praise the Premier League newcomers, referencing that the Seagulls deserved more out of the game than what they ultimately took away.
Whilst United will have to be better against a confident and in-form Watford side on Tuesday night, the Hornets have only beaten their visitors once in the Premier League, amongst eight meetings.
This victory came as recently as September 2016, as the then Watford boss Walter Mazzarri, saw his side defeat Mourinho’s men 3-1 at Vicarage Road, with two goals in the remaining ten minutes of the contest from defender Camilo Zuniga, and striker Troy Deeney proving the difference.
Manchester United have prevailed within every single other of the seven Premier League encounters between the sides, as well as cruising to a 4-1 victory in an FA Cup Semi Final meeting in 2007, in a game played at Villa Park. The same year, the Red Devils put Watford to the sword once more, with a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford, on their way to secure the Premier League title.
Marco Silva will have the option of reintroducing club captain Troy Deeney for the game, after the Watford talisman completed a three-match suspension, following an incident with Stoke City’s Joe Allen. They will however, be without defenders Craig Cathcart and Younes Kaboul, who are suffering with knee and hamstring issues respectively, but despite a recent knock, Uruguayan defender Miguel Britos will be in contention for the game.
United will be without defender Phil Jones, who picked up an injury on International duty. Whilst Eric Bailly is yet to be determined fit, Victor Lindelof looks set to remain in the side, on the back of an impressive display at the weekend.
Watford will enter the game full of confidence, and why shouldn’t they? Marco Silva’s stock is continuing to rise, given his sides exploits this season, and his team will go into the game knowing they can compete with anyone on their day.
United are approaching a stage, where any slip ups could realistically rule them out of the title race. Already trailing Manchester City by a significant number of points, and with the latter looking irrepressible, they simply cannot afford to drop points in this game.
Score Prediction – Watford 1 vs Manchester United 2