Watford vs. Manchester United
Venue: Vicarage Road
Date: Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Manchester United came out on top after finishing on the right side of a thrilling 4-2 scoreline against Watford at Vicarage Road.
A comfortable first half from United saw Ashley Young bag a high quality brace against his former side with Anthony Martial sending the visitors into the break with a commanding lead.
With less than 15 minutes remaining, however, Troy Deeney’s penalty and Abdoulaye Doucoure set up a frantic finale, only for Jesse Lingard’s eye-catching solo strike to seal the points late on.
It was a bright opening from the side sporting bright jerseys, with a couple of dangerous crosses to boot, but United took the lead less than 20 minutes in.
Neat work from Romelu Lukaku found Lingard whose pass found Young lingering towards the left-hand side of the box, and his fearsome half-volley beat Heurelho Gomes at his near post.
The former Watford man then doubled his and United’s tally with a wonderful free-kick that found the top corner, after Doucoure tugged on Paul Pogba’s shirt to give away the set piece in a central position.
It was soon three when slack Watford defending allowed Martial with space to create an opening, and the Frenchman was clinical enough to slot a finish past Gomes.
Aiming to replicate his free-kick, Young struck another free-kick into the wall before a double save denied Lukaku and then Lingard’s follow-up.
Reading Pogba’s loose ball, Kiko Femenia ventured forward before his cross was met by Richarlison, but his header clipped the crossbar as half-time arrived.
The hosts looked to threaten from a succession of corners but it was United who broke clear from one, with Lukaku’s ball across goal unmet after a promising counter.
Speculative from range was Doucoure with his shot curling over as Richarlison rose to head over from another Femenia cross.
Centre-back Adrian Mariappa sliced wide as Pogba headed over from Lingard’s free-kick when he should’ve hit the target.
Winning the ball back was Marcus Rashford to square for Lukaku who made a real mess before being thwarted, and the Belgian dragged wide moments later.
Two Watford substitutes then combined as Andre Carrillo slipped in Roberto Pereyra, and Rojo brought down his fellow Argentine, allowing the third substitute Deeney to send David De Gea the wrong way from the spot.
De Gea then held a Deeney header and Lingard’s ambitious chip dropped wide after latching onto Lukaku’s through ball.
It was Carrillo again whose cross was met first time by Doucoure for an excellent goal to lift the home support after poking a finish past the Spaniard.
Just as the Hornets sniffed an equaliser, Lingard ran from his own half before firing a finish past Gomes to settle down the nervy visitors.
This was an important victory ahead of a testing trip to Arsenal on Saturday, against a side who produced a late comeback to draw with Liverpool and also defeated the Gunners at Vicarage Road this season.
Marco Silva’s impressive side also sat a comfortable eighth place and boasted two victories, two clean sheets and five goals heading into this fixture.
Silva’s colleague and off the field friend Jose Mourinho was also pleased come the final whistle.
“We could have scored seven. We were very dangerous for 90 minutes.
“The second half should have been five or six nil and it was even easier to score goals in the second half.
“It’s a match to win comfortably and in the end at 3-2 the game is in a grey zone and Jesse had that fantastic initiative and killed the game.”
After three defeats in four away from home, Mourinho will be satisfied to come out on top on the road for the first time in the league since 23rd September.
A tricky fixture at Arsenal now awaits, with a 5:30pm kick-off due to kickstart December and a busy run of fixtures.
Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo; Valencia, Matic (Herrera 54), Pogba, Young; Lingard (Ibrahimovic 88), Lukaku, Martial (Rashford 64).
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, McTominay, Mata.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Watford: Gomes, Mariappa, Prodl (Pereyra 58), Kabasele; Femenia, Doucoure, Cleverley, Zeegelaar; Hughes (Carrillo 58), Gray (Deeney 72), Richarlison.
Subs not used: Karnezis, Wague, Janmaat, Capoue.
Manager: Marco Silva