The two teams square off at Vicarage Road tomorrow and one can expect an entertaining contest after the international break. United might be without the services of Luke Shaw, while Watford have a near full-strength squad to choose from.
Here, we look at the three key player battles that could take place in this match.
#3 Troy Deeney vs Chris Smalling
Troy Deeney is expected to lead the line for Watford and Chris Smalling might start at the heart of the defence for United. The primary aspect of Deeney’s gameplay is to physically bully the opposition’s defender, thereby creating space for Andy Gray in the final third.
Deeney is good with the ball at his feet, as his incisive passing and clinical finishing could trouble United’s fragile backline.
Chris Smalling might struggle against creative players, but he always trumps his adversary in the physical aspect of the game. Smalling’s aerial prowess while defending helps against similar players, and hence this could be an interesting duel to watch out for.
#2 Abdoulaye Doucoure vs Paul Pogba
Doucoure is an excellent enforcer in Watford’s lineup, as the Frenchman looks to break the opposition’s play and is equally adept at driving forward.
He can take good shots from the long-range and is quite tenacious while recovering the ball too. He will be facing compatriot Paul Pogba at the centre of the field, as the former Juventus midfielder has a similar role and will look to set the tempo of the play.
Pogba will have to be more careful regarding his positioning, as Doucoure is pretty dangerous on the break. The latter might not have the same technique as Pogba, but he is hard to stop while running with the ball.
#1 Alexis Sanchez vs Daryl Janmaat
Alexis Sanchez had an impressive outing against Burnley as he was diligent, committed and quite incisive with the ball at his feet. The Chilean has shown his ability and if he can be well supported by his teammates, he could be the player he once was at Arsenal.
The Chilean delivered an assist for Romelu Lukaku and expect him to be the central figure and the main creative force against Watford too. He will, however, come up against Daryl Janmaat, who has been one of the better fullbacks in the league recently.
Janmaat maintains a fine balance between his offensive and defensive duties and has mustered impressive numbers this season. With 2.3 tackles and 3 interceptions, he has been one of the best fullbacks in the league so far and Sanchez won’t have it all his way.