Watford 1-2 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points

REUTERS/David Klein

Manchester United sniffed out another victory as first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling proved enough for the Red Devils to secure three points, despite Watford getting back a goal in the second half, courtesy of Andre Gray.

A last minute red-card for Nemanja Matic looked set to throw the script awry, but David De Gea held the Mancunian giants firm.

Here are the talking points from the encounter at Vicarage Road:

1. Will Hughes

While Watford’s 100% win record this season has been foiled, it provided much positive fodder. The Hornets boasted of a strong showing from English midfielder Will Hughes, and the 23-year-old certainly appeared to be a crucial engineer of their success for the four games where they emerged triumphant.

Against United, it was his threat that often posed a real danger, particularly in the first-half, when the home side often appeared toothless in the face of a near perfect United play.

Going into the season, they can certainly hope for a top-flight finish, and if the likes of Hughes keep up their brilliance, something great may await them after all.


2. Second Goal Was Engineered

The second goal that United netted, mere minutes after Lukaku found his opener, was really engineered in the training ground itself. The reactions of both the players as well as Jose Mourinho is testament to that.

The manner in which Fellaini single-handedly set-up the goal to conveniently find Smalling in a crafty spot to score the goal told a great tale.

This is certainly the kind of goal that Mourinho will wish to see his lads score, particularly since their practiced nature make them a near-perfected assurance. More of the same?



3. Lukaku All The Way?

Lukaku found the net yet again, and the Belgian striker seems eager to not kiss his consistent goal-scoring run goodbye.

The 25-year-old has oft received criticism for being nothing but a blunt and fortunate finisher, but his tally from last season, coupled with his performance in the past few games, both for club and country, narrate a starkly different tale.

With 4 goals in 5 games, Lukaku is right on track to meet his normal quota, and could very much better his prior tallies as well. But is the side overly reliant on him to meet their goal-scoring requirements?


4. Two Reds For The Reds

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For two successive games in a row, Manchester United have come out with 10 men on the field.

While Marcus Rashford’s aggressive behavior against Burnley earned him a three-game suspension via a red card, this time around, it was Matic who picked up a second-yellow in quite literally the last minute of the game.

Both instances had essences of brashness and impatience to them. There was absolutely no need for the Serb to go into the late tackle despite knowing that he was on a yellow, and even less so knowing that Valencia was right ahead to secure that particular run.

This may mean that Fred and Pereira will get some crucial minutes in the games to come, till Matic is back from suspension.


Player Ratings: Watford 1-2 Manchester United

5. ‘Real’ De Gea Is Back

Much doubt has been hurled at the Spaniard, particularly after an underwhelming outing with his country in the World Cup. However, today’s game was a masterclass in shot-stopping, and one that has been seemingly absent for quite a while.

His saves were crucial throughout the game, and particularly so in the dying moments, when Watford seemed eager to take away a point from the encounter.

This peak of form is good news when seen together with his work-rate for Spain in the international break as well, and for once, Mourinho may be able to not worry much about their defense, with De Gea being the final line of assurance.