Watford, on the back of a perfect start to the Premier League season welcome Jose Mourinho and Manchester United to Vicarage Road on Saturday. The run up to the international break saw the Hornets come from behind to defeat Spurs, 2-1 with goals by Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart, with Jose Holebas continuing his stellar deliveries from set pieces, adding two assists. United cast with a bit of turmoil, on and off the pitch had lost two games before hopping on the back of Romelu Lukaku, who scored a brace against Burnley, to give the Red Devils some confidence headed into the international break.
These are teams that appear to be headed in very different directions right now. Javi Gracia has the entire team on board, as Watford are off to their best Premier League start on the back of nine goals scored, just three conceded. Still anytime you face Mourinho or the Red Devils, you know there is opportunity for something to happen. It’s been a rough series, as Watford have won just one in the last 10 games against Manchester United.
The Hornets will still be without the services of Gerard Deulofeu saying, “Gerard has a little pain, but it is better to wait one week more because we are in September and we have time.” It’s United who head into the weekend with bigger concerns with the likes of Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Maroune Fellaini nursing injuries. Then, there is Marcus Rashford, unavailable, due to suspension after receiving a red card in the Burnley match.
Gracia is confident ahead of the Saturday fixture, “It will be demanding to play against this Man United side but playing at Vicarage Road we will be strong, and we know we can beat any team at home.” If the first four games have been any indication, Gracia will send out an unchanged starting XI against United, with Will Hughes playing out of position on the right. It’s been a strong lineup that has brought some excellent results. United has the talent, as well as big names that can take over any game. Lukaku will be the biggest concern, on the back of his brace and goals during the international break, he’s a player the defense will need to close down.
Watford have over achieved to this point with pundits and bookies pointing to the Hornets to be relegated ahead of the season. However, their start has many taking notice of their play, but the pressure will be on United this weekend. Deeney is confident ahead of the game, “We can make it uncomfortable for them, but we are not naive enough to think we are going to outplay them. We will play our game, implement our style and hopefully it will be enough on the day.”
Based on how each team is playing, I tip Watford to keep the run down the yellow brick road going. They are playing as a team and have bought into Gracia, after starting 4-0 on the season. Much like Spurs, United have some problems and the turmoil within could cause further problems should the Red Devils come out on the short end this weekend.