2021-22 Premier League: Week 12 – Watford vs Manchester United

Two inconsistent teams collide at Vicarage Road as Watford host Manchester United in a crucial clash at both ends of the table.

Victory could lift Watford as high as 14th in the table, whereas Manchester United could temporarily go fifth with a win for a few hours.

 

Team News

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Juraj Kucka is suspended for Watford after his red card in the Hornets’ defeat at Arsenal two weeks ago.

Ozan Tufan (fitness) is a doubt but Peter Etebo (quad), Francisco Sierralta, Christian Kabasele (both hamstring), Kwadwo Baah (ankle) and Ken Sema (knee) are ruled out.

Man Utd will be without Paul Pogba after he was released from international duty for France as the result of a quadriceps strain.

Scott McTominay (illness) and Luke Shaw (concussion) are doubts but Raphael Varane (hamstring) and Edinson Cavani (tendon) are ruled out.

 

Stat Attack

  • Watford have won one of their last seven league meetings against Man Utd (W1, L6).
  • Man Utd have failed to keep clean sheets in any of seven previous Premier League visits to Vicarage Road (W5, L2).
  • Both teams have converted all of their penalties awarded in 14 Premier League meetings, with Watford scoring four penalties to Utd’s two.
  • Two of Watford’s three last-man tackles this season have been made by William Troost-Ekong.
  • Mason Greenwood have been substituted in six of his 10 league starts for Utd this season.

 

Prediction

Having suffered frustrating 1-0 defeats to Southampton and Arsenal just before the international break, Watford can take heart from their improved performances although Claudio Ranieri’s focus now has to be on improving the defence after sloppy mistakes cost them in both matches.

Watford’s defence though has Ben Foster to thank for avoiding larger losses but they do now need to step up because he cannot keep bailing them out every game, whilst their attack is improving but just lacked the final touch in both matches.

Man Utd though are an inconsistent team because their attack was decent if wasteful in their Manchester derby defeat to Manchester City, yet their defence lacked intensity and basically was shambolic which is a huge worry after numerous players went away on international duty.

What is more concerning though is the fact that manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer jetted off on holiday during the break, instead of sticking around to focus on the first-team players who weren’t on international duty although this holiday might hopefully of refreshed his focus as a manager on his team.

This game therefore should be interesting because both teams need improvement and judging on the contrasting approaches of both clubs towards players not on international duty, I wouldn’t be surprised if Watford’s training pays off.

Prediction: Watford 2-1 Manchester United

Result: Watford 4-1 Manchester United

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