Red Devils win late at Hornets
Written By: Robert Halter
Manchester United went back to Watford during November for the first time since 2006. At the third minute, a loose connection by the Hornets, Allan Nyom, landed on top of the outside netting. But the Red Devils got the breakthrough when Ashley Young combined with Ander Herrera, who floated the ball in to Memphis Depay, whose incisive close range volley crashed past Gomes into the right side of the goal, on the eleventh minute. In the nineteenth minute, Young created again down the right flank but Miguel Britos had a covering header to avert the danger. Although a minute later, Young lost the ball out to Etienne Capoue who set Odion Ighalo through on the right section of United’s area, but the opportunity was not capitalised upon as Ighalo blazed over the target. United soon made an enforced change as Herrera went off with a pulled hamstring and Marcos Rojo took over. On twenty eight minutes, Watford were unable to clear their lines and Morgan Schneiderlin at the back stick, lashed a well struck volley over the top. Man U kept up the pressure as from a Juan Mata corner and knock on by Schweinsteiger, the ball had to be hooked away from the goal line by Troy Deeney. Watford created again on thirty six minutes as Nyom’s cross was not cleared by Phil Jones, whose header went into the path of Capoue, who cracked his effort over the crossbar. But two minutes later, Depay struck a low drive from twenty five yards out and it took an alert Gomes, to turn the ball behind with a finger tips save. At the start of the second half, Nathan Ake replaced Jose Manuel Jurado. But it was the Red Devils quickest out of the traps on forty six minutes when from Capoue’s mistake, Watford were left open at the back as Depay found space for Jesse Lingard, and it took a double handed block by Gomes to keep out Lingard’s close range strike. Two minutes later, Mata spread the ball out wide to Schweinsteiger but his strike from distance, drifted over the target. On fifty four minutes, Schweinsteiger miss placed a close range effort, after being found from Mata’s corner. Although Watford responded a minute later, when Ake’s ball from the left flank, was laid off by Ighalo and a fierce strike from Deeney had to be beaten away from United’s keeper, David De Gea. Then a vital block by Schneiderlin in front of De Gea, stopped a hooked effort at goal by Ighalo from a headed pass by Capoue, off a Deeney corner, in the fifty eighth minute. On sixty six minutes, after Anya lost possession to Mata, a ball across to Lingard was put over to Depay, but his strike bent past the far right post. Watford soon changed Nyom with Juan Carlos Paredes while Man U brought on Paddy McNair for Phil Jones who had a twisted ankle. But De Gea was at United’s rescue again as Chris Smalling’s block from Capoue’s strike, fell to Almen Abdi, who struck the ball towards De Gea’s near post but on the line the United keeper turned the ball behind before punching away Ben Watson’s in swinging corner. In the seventy fifth minute, Deeney fired straight at De Gea, after a touch from Ighalo as the Hornets pressed forward. Soon a final switch by United replaced Mata with Andreas Pereira. On eighty three minutes, a ball over the top from Danny Blind put Lingard through but his tame effort was caught by Gomes. But referee Bobby Madley awarded Watford a penalty after Rojo wrestled Ighalo to the floor in the eighty six minute and it was Watford captain, Deeney that sent the spot kick crashing into the left side of the net past De Gea. Three minutes later, Gomes had to make a near post stop to claw away a Smalling strike from Pereira’s corner. United sealed victory on eighty nine minutes as Gomes could not hold onto Lingard’s strike from a Pereira assist and Schweinsteiger drove a shot in at the right post as Deeney deflected the ball into his own net. At the end, Ake’s ball over to Aghalo was met with an acrobatic strike that De Gea collected and secured Manchester United’s 2-1 victory to temporarily put the Red Devils top of the Premier League table.