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Watford v Manchester United 17-18

Red Devils outshine the Golden Boys

Written By: Robert Halter

Manchester United had only lost once to Watford in their last thirteen competitive fixtures with the Hornets as the Red Devils met the Golden Boys in a late November night game at Vicarage Road. In the sixth minute from a Kiko Femenia ball in, it just eluded Richarlison, in a goal scoring position. This soon followed with a delivery by Richarlison which was just too far past Andre Gray. The Hornets pressed again as from a Will Hughes pass, the ball looped off Marcos Rojo, who blocked Femenia’s incisive play in the area, as the ball landed on the outside roof of the net. But it was the Red Devils that struck the first blow, with Romelu Lukaku, breaking down the middle and from a lay off by Jesse Lingard, the ball was drilled into the left side of the net by Ashley Young, in the nineteenth minute. The first booking went o Abdoulaye Doucoure for pulling down Paul Pogba, and from the free kick, Young produced an unstoppable pillar driver that bent into the left hand corner of the goal, to double the Man United advantage on twenty five minutes. It was plain sailing for the Red Devils as Anthony Martial rammed in the third with a right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner, through an assist by Lukaku, in the thirty second minute. The Golden Boys gave away a careless free kick after Adrian Mariappa brought down Martial, but this time, Young struck the wall in the forty second minute. Before the break, United were close to a fourth, as Lukaku’s low stinging strike from outside the area was kept out at full stretch by Heurelho Gomes, and then Lingard’s rebound strike from the centre of the box was turned over the bar with a strong save by Gomes. The Hornets had a sight of goal near the end of the first half, when from Femenia’s cross, a header by Richarlison, struck the top of the crossbar. At the start of the second half, a dangerous cross by Tom Cleverley on the left side was caught by David De Gea. In the fiftieth minute, from a Cleverley corner, a header over by Rojo, averted the danger. But the Red Devils broke forward with Martial, and the favour was returned by Lukaku, whose cross just went past Martial and Lingard, in the danger zone. United then switched a limping Nemanja Matic for Ander Herrera and the next casualty was Watford’s Will Hughes, who pulled up with a hamstring and Roberto Pereyra took over while Andre Carrillo replaced Sebastain Prodl. In the sixty first minute, from Pereyra’s pass, a strike from distance by Doucoure, rose high over the upright. The Golden Boys next attempt was a cross on the right by Femenia, which was headed wide at the back stick by Richarlison. Another change by Jose Mourinho saw Martial taken off for Marcus Rashford. Then a later switch by Marco Silva involved Troy Deeney on for Gray, who could have made a quick impact when from Doucoure’s ball in, the boot of Deeney could not find a connection. The Red Devils responded as Pogba powered a header over from a Lingard free kick, following a foul by Richarlison on Antonio Valencia. After Rashford won the ball off Mariapa, the Watford defender made amends by blocking Lukaku’s strike, and shortly after, Rashford on the right put the ball across to Lukaku, who drove the ball wide to the right. However, after a reckless foul by Rojo on Pereyra, referee Jon Moss awarded Watford a penalty, and Deeney, drove the spot kick into the bottom left corner, with thirteen minutes to play. On eighty minutes from Femenia’s delivery, a header by Deeney was caught by De Gea. But it was shortly 3-2 from Carrillo’s ball over on the right and a first time connection by Doucoure, flew into the left side of the goal, on eighty four minutes. Although Watford’s hopes were short lived when from a Herrera assist, a thirty five yard run from inside his own half by Lingard, ended with a telling strike into the heart of the goal, before the match winner Lingard made way for Zlatan Ibrahimovich. But Watford sill pressed as Richarlison’s strike on the left by line was turned behind by the legs of De Gea before Man United secured a 4-2 victory.