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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019


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Hello! And welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this evening’s late kick-off in the Premier League between Watford and Manchester United.

Javi Gracia’s side welcome The Red Devils to Vicarage Road today looking to extend their best-ever start to a Premier League season. Watford, incredibly, have a 100% record this season with four wins from four against Burnley (1-3), Crystal Palace (2-1), Reading (2-0) and Tottenham (2-1).

They face a patchy Man United side, who are currently in ninth spot following two wins from four games. Jose Mourinho’s men have a lot of ground to make up already if they are to establish themselves as title contenders.

With Liverpool and Manchester City already swaggering at the top end of the table, nothing but three points will do for the visitors today. Kick-off is coming up at 5.30pm.

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas;
Doucouré, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra; Deeney, Gray.

Subs: Gomes, Mariappa, Success, Masina, Sema, Chalobah, Femenía.

Man United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelöf, Young; Pogba, Fellaini, Matic; Lingard, Lukaku, Sánchez.

Subs: Grant, Bailly, Mata, Martial, Grant, Fred, Darmian, McTominay.


With just under 45 minutes to go before kick-off, how do we see this one going? Watford have won four from four, and Man United are in need of all three points. Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Man United win (138)
Watford win (95)
Draw (54)

Romelu Lukaku reckons this will be a pivotal month for Man United. With just two wins from four, the pressure is already under Jose Mourinho. “Watford have been doing really well this year,” says the Belgian. “I don’t mean it as disrespect, but after Leicester won the league, it made it click in my mind that whatever team is up there deserves to be up there. Watford have been doing brilliant, so I’m not impressed they are in that position…  they play in the Premier League for a reason.” Are Watford the new Leicester? 


A first sight at goal for the hosts as the ball falls invitingly for Abdoulaye Doucoure. He sizes up an effort from range, but the midfielder’s half-volley lags well wide of the post to David de Gea’s relief. A promising start for Watford who, like Brighton last month, will not be cowed by United here today following their unbeaten start to the season.


Chance! A good save is needed from ex-Man United man Ben Foster between the sticks following a tidy passage of play which began and ended with Paul Pogba. The French midfielder got play going after picking up possession in the middle of the park. Following a few strides forward and quick exchange with Ashley Young, the number six lined up a chance on the edge of the box which very neatly crept into the bottom corner. A good stop from Foster to deny Pogba.


At the other end Gracia’s men offer the perfect response with a sight of goal of their own. Will Hughes peels away from his marker before eyeing up the bottom righthand corner. The 23-year-old year-old releases a powerful low effort which spins along the surface, but De Gea is equal to it and manages to get down low to gather. Positive play at both ends.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League - Vicarage Road Will Hughes. Source: Nigel French


Save! A world-class save from De Gea denies Troy Deeney what looked destined to be the evening’s opening goal. The forward caused all sorts of headaches linking up alongside Andre Gray, who chested the ball down smartly. The pair exchanged a one-two, before Marouane Fellaini mopped up the danger, however the Belgian only succeeded in giving the ball right back to Deeney. He let fly with a powerful toe-poke from the edge of the box, but De Gea raised himself to bat the ball over the crossbar like a kitten with a ball of yarn.


Man United have the ball in the back of the net… but it won’t count. Nemanja Matic lofted an excellent ball into the danger zone, which Alexis Sanchez duly dispatched past Ben Foster. But the referee’s linesman raises his flag immediately. Interestingly, Sanchez has not scored a goal away from home in the Premier League since joining Man United. The 29-year-old has two goals in 15 appearances since arriving at Old Trafford.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: Daniel Hambury



Lovely, fluid passing play up the length of the pitch from Watford sees the ball fall to Abdoulaye Doucoure on the edge of the area. The crowd urges the French midfielder to have a go at goal. He duly obliges, however Marouane Fellaini does well to recover and get himself in the way with a no-nonsense block. An absolute battering ram of a man, Fellaini.


Close again from Alexis Sanchez. This time he’s onside, but this time around the ball does not end up in the back of the net. The Chilean dodges past bodies left and right running into the box, but he arches his back and leans just too far backwards as he pulls the trigger — causing his shot to rise high over Foster’s crossbar. Anywhere beneath the bar and that was a certain goal to break the deadlock.


Manchester United take the lead and it’s Romelu Lukaku with the goal! A free kick lofted into the area is not properly dealt with by Watford, the ball falls to Ashley Young who spins the ball into the danger zone with his weaker left foot. The ball misses everyone bar Lukaku, who guides the ball into the back of the net with his chest. Ben Foster argues that the Belgian use his hands, but the referee is having none of it.


Almost a second in as many minutes for the visitors. Paul Pogba sizes up an effort from range and forces a fine save from Foster following a powerful strike from outside the box. Jose Mourinho’s men really upping the ante now.


But Man United do in fact double their lead in as many minutes. Jose Mourinho’s men are two to the good, as  M̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶S̶m̶a̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶   Chris Smalling expertly chests the ball with his first touch, before whacking  a sublime effort past Foster with his second touch. It was brilliant control from the defender and an emphatic finish to match. 2-0!


United have turned this game on its head and are in total control. Not that they were under any significant pressure, but it was an evenly-matched game before Lukaku’s opener. Now, however, Watford look a bit like lost sheep. Two goals in quick succession means they have a mountain to climb if they are to maintain their 100% win record. 


There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.


Save! What a save from Ben Foster! Another flowing move from Man United as Jesse Lingard picks out Paul Pogba at the back post with a pinpoint cross. Pogba strikes first time with a sweet right-footed volley, but Foster stands his ground and bats it away. What a stop.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: Daniel Hambury


No changes from either manager at the break. Javi Gracia’s men face a mammoth second half if they are to salvage something from this game. A win would see them go joint top of the Premier League alongside Chelsea and Liverpool. But that seems a long way away now, as the Hornets look to potential drop points for the very first time this season. Still, a lot of football to played in this game.


A first sight at goal for Man United in the second half. Paul Pogba drifts inside just outside the area and let’s fly with a curling effort on his right boot. The effort has plenty of whip on it, but just never bends back around and ends up in the crowd behind the goal.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: Nigel French


A free-kick gives Watford the chance at getting back into this game. It’s in a decent position 25 yards out from goal and slightly to the left, but Roberto Pereyra fizzes his strike comfortably over the crossbar. His side are struggling to get any attacking game-plan together to test Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling.


More good vision from Pogba gets United into a promising position along the right wing. Romelu Lukaku cuts inside from the flank, but his pass towards Alexis Sanchez is intercepted by Craig Cathcart and booted into Row Z. Mourinho’s side are finding it very easy to move the ball about in the final third with a real lack of aggression from Watford’s back four.


And just like that Watford are back in this! The club’s record signing Andre Gray executes a brilliant finish which flies emphatically into David De Gea’s top corner. The striker latched onto a clever cut-back from Abdoulaye Doucoure along the left wing before rifling the ball into the back of the net. It’s 2-1, it’s game on and the crowd at Vicarage Road have found their voice again.


The tables have been turned as Watford raise into a higher gear. Young, Smalling, Lindelof and Valencia have their work cut out for them at the back now as the hosts throw bodies forward like it’s going out of fashion. We’re in for an exciting finish where it had looked like Mourinho’s men would run away with this.


It’s really end-to-end stuff like as both sides slug it out looking for another. You do get the feeling that the next goal will decide this game — Watford are throwing everything they have forward to try and snatch a point, while the visitors are searching for the final nail in the coffin to solidly their lead. That Man United goal looked like it might come with Anthony Martial in oceans of space down the right wing, however the substitute only succeeded in giving the ball away sloppily.


Close! Oooof, nearly a third for the visitors, and that would have been it surely. Man United break on the counter, a really snappy move down the right wing. Martial picks out Lukaku, who then picks out the run of Sanchez into the box. The Chilean looked certain to have a free strike at goal, before a brilliant last-ditch interception from Craig Cathcart stops the move dead in its tracks. A perfectly timed sliding challenge from the centre back.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: Nigel French


Substitution for Man United: Scott McTominay replaces Alexis Sanchez.


Watford still pushing and pushing for a late equaliser. They are getting some headway on the edge of the box, but a chance for a sight at goal falls apart as Andre Gray and Troy Deeney get in each other’s way before being sloppily disposed. The hosts are applying a lot of pressure, but chances are few and far between as United try and hold strong for the remaining handful of minutes.


SAVE! David De Gea keeps his side in the lead with a safe pair of hands. Knowing his side were struggling to break through in the final third, Roberto Pereyra let fly with a piledriver from range. The effort had a lot of bend and power behind it, but the Spanish goalkeeper read it well, read it early, and clasped the ball with confidence.

There will be three minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.


Man United will have to play the final minute of stoppage time with 10 men as Nemanja Matic receives his second yellow card of the evening. The midfielder cynically takes out Will Hughes and is given his marching orders by Mike Dean in injury time.

A barnstorming end to the game as David De Gea caps off a brilliant display with a dramatic last-ditch save to deny Watford a last minute equaliser right at the death. Despite that late red card for Nemanja Matic, Man United hang on for their third win of the season.

Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling saw Jose Mourinho’s side take a comfortable 2-0 lead into the break. Andre Gray’s strike with 25 minutes remaining really made a game of it in the end, but a handful of excellent saves from De Gea late on made sure of the win for the visitors. Phew, what game! Thanks a million for joining us, you can read our full match report here.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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