Manchester United vs Watford Preview 23rd February 2020

Luke Shaw battles Watford striker, Troy Deeney for the ball.

In the aftermath of United’s 1-1 draw with Club Brugge, it looks like Ole has decided on some changes already, well before kick off. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira both seem to have been left out of the matchday squads with no sign of injuries. This could be a result of both of the players poor performances earlier on in the week. Here is a predicted line up for United, based on the managers recent comments he has made and recent choices of players.

Predicted lineup for Manchester United vs Watford

We are likely to see the team start in a 4-2-3-1, with the relatively successful 3-5-2 formation having been reserved for away games only recently. After being rested midweek, it would be no surprise to see James back in the mix alongside Bruno, who impressed on his short cameo on Thursday. With United likely to maintain a lot of possession today, Greenwood will look to get on the ball on that RW and make plays with Martial and Fernandes. However, to beat Watford, this is the lineup I would go with instead.

Our preferred lineup vs Watford

There are not many changes from the predicted lineup to this one, the only changes being Williams in for Shaw at left back as he will provide more attacking impetus against a team that will look to sit deep. Also, Martial drops to LW with Ighalo upfront, this is done again with the idea we will have much more possession than Watford throughout the game, and Martial possesses more creativity than James so we would be wise to try and get the Frenchman on the ball as much as possible; then upfront Ighalo will not have to drop deep for the ball with Martial and Fernandes behind him, so he can concentrate on fulfilling his role as the lone striker. McTominay has returned from injury, but will likely start the match on the bench after 2 months away injured.

Manchester United players celebrating Anthony Martial’s goal vs Chelsea earlier in the season.

Watford’s style of play is predicated on a high proportion of long balls (16%) being played, so United will have to be wary of that when coming up against them. They have only scored 1 goal from a set piece this season, with the vast majority (71%) of their goals coming from open play. They are likely to match United with a 4-2-3-1 formation that will probably look something like this.

United will likely look to their new signing Bruno to provide much of the creative threat up against Watford, but it will need to come from more than just him if United hope to beat the Hornets, with the Red Devils struggling to break down lower table sides this season. They will want to avoid a repeat of the opposite fixture only 2 months ago, where Watford came out 2-0 victors.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-2 Watford

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