Tag Archives: Watford

Manchester United’s Rough Weekend

Watford V Man United

In the wake of a miserable 4-1 defeat to probable relegation battling Watford, Manchester United have sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Former United player and assistant to Solskjaer, Michael Carrick has been appointed caretaker manager until the club appoints a permanent manager. It was reported by ESPN that United were close to appointing Mike Phelan, but the club decided against because of possible backlash.

The Watford Match

Not going to spend much time on the Watford match. United got their ass whopped, Harry Maguire got sent off and Donny van de Beek ironically scored the last goal the Solskjaer era.

United had some chances early in the second half after the DVB goal and even after Maguire got sent off. Playing with 10 men is always rough and Watford would turn the knife in stoppage time.

U23s Draw Derby

Manchester United U23s were in action against Derby on Friday in a PL2 matchup. Derby is solid defensively and got their goal early in the second half in their smash and grab attempt.

Charlie McNeil would tie the match in the 70th minute. McNeil finished between the keepers legs after being played in by Hannibal.

The U23s will be in action next Saturday against Crystal Palace

United Marches On

Manchester United have to bounce back from the sacking of Ole. Unfortunately it was time for Ole to go, but in the stubbornness of the board to fire Ole, they cost themselves three points. If the board was as business savvy as they think they are, three points could cost millions depending on their final position.

If they would have fired Ole after the loss to City, even if they would have appointed Carrick then, they would have had the opportunity to work on something different for Watford.

Even if Ole was gone, Watford with not many players leaving for international duty, was always a tough ask. The international break sometimes do not favor these top clubs with a massive amount of players traveling and playing international matches.

United have no time to lick their wounds, a huge match in Spain looms. Manchester United must march on.

Same Old Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Press Conference

Talk Man United Header

Manchester United are in action against Watford on Saturday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke with the press ahead of the game on Saturday.

It was the same press conference that has been had. No hard questions, nothing about tactics, same questions about him almost losing his job and Jesse Lingard.

The Lingard situation is understandable, it is being reported that Lingard is going to leave on a free after contract talks have stalled. Lingard wants to play to make the England World Cup squad. United should have sold him in the summer.

“Jesse is training really hard, really well and he’s ready and available for me, definitely. He’s disappointed he’s not played more, of course. In regard to the contract situation and talks, I’ve not been in them very, very closely. For me, Jesse is still a big part of this club, an important part. He gives energy to the group every day,” said Solskjaer.

Solskjaer and Pogba

Paul Pogba was injured on the first day of training for France and could be out for awhile. Is it a bad thing?

“Of course, there’s a couple of doubts with illnesses and small niggles. Paul is out still for a while, Rapha is out for a while still. Apart from that, players will be coming back in, [let’s] call it, the near future. Some this weekend and some during the week. But that’s the same for every team that misses players,” said Solskjaer.

Maybe not. Solskjaer has deployed Pogba on the left at times and Pogba disappears, Solskjaer plays Pogba in the double pivot and sometimes he disappears.

Most people would say Pogba’s best position is the number 8 role, the box to box midfielder who can sit back deep and pick a pass, but have someone next to him to provide cover. The problem with United is no one is capable of playing that defensive midfield role week after week.

It is not likely that Solskjaer changes his tactics to a 4-3-3 instead of a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-back system that he has used as back up.

We could see Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek paired together in Pogba’s absence. DVB is a classical Dutch number 8 and was phenomenal in that role with Ajax.

The Pogba injury allows Solskjaer not to pick him without scrutiny. Pogba is one of the best midfielders in the world, but could be gone after this summer with his contract coming to an end. Watford could be a glimpse of United without Pogba.

Ole Still Positive

If Ole is negative in these press conferences, he will take a beating in the media. Ole plays it tight, keeps his cards to his chest and always says the right thing. The politically correct thing.

“We’ve been through periods like this before. Our away form should give us confidence, what we’ve done. We’ve just gone 30 games away and lost one or whatever we have. Last season, we turned it around as well on a run with 20 games and one defeat. That’s the kind of run we have to get back to. As I said, this week we’ve worked on a few things, we’ve prioritized a few things that we have to improve on.”

“We know the run of form hasn’t been good and that performances haven’t been good enough. We know we can do better, we know we should do better and we think we will do better. It’s down to performances on the day. [Players are] human beings, sometimes you hit the post and it goes out and sometimes it goes in. That can change the mood, the atmosphere. We just got to focus on getting a good start tomorrow and build on a good start.”

Watford vs Manchester United Preview

Watford

Back to the grind for United players and fans alike as they travel down south to Watford for their Premier League encounter. After what seems yet another international break, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that his players are rejuvenated after successful international outings or enjoying a break from the media hurricane after the losses to Liverpool and Manchester City.

It is time for these United players to start performing and produce a good display. Some might be thinking this is only Watford who sit in 17th place but there is no easy game in the Premier League and there especially needs to be a reaction following the losses against two rivals.

Watford’s Form

A trip to Vicarage Road is going to be a lot edgier than it would have been two months ago, Watford could just surprise some people as they look to move away from the foot of the table.

The Red Devils come up against an out of sorts Watford who have just won three games all season. Their last win came three games ago as they produced a magical late display to beat Everton 5-2 with form Manchester United man Joshua King grabbing a hat trick.

However, that has been the only glimmer of success recently as they were thumped 5-0 the week before by Liverpool…not that United can talk. They also lost to Southampton and Arsenal 1-0 in the last two games.

Manager Claudio Ranieri has been in charge for four games now with three losses and one win but he will be looking to take all three points against a fragile United side. It could well be a repeat of the 2019 game at Vicarage Road where Watford won 2-0 thanks to a massive howler by David De Gea.

Watford’s Tactics

Since Ranieri has come in, he has adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation allowing striker King to command the role up front on his own. He has also favoured Moussa Sissoko in the holding role in midfield and this could be a key battle with the weak midfield for United.

However, against Liverpool Ranieri favoured a 5-4-1 formation to restrict Liverpool’s dynamic front men but that plan did not work. Could he be tempted to pack the defence against United? Do they offer the same threat? Probably not but United can really struggle to pick the lock when sides sit deep against them.

Watford’s Team News

Watford will certainly be without the suspended Juraj Kucka who picked up a second yellow card late on against Arsenal before the International break.

The Hornets really are there for the taking and do not look solidified just yet as they battle relegation. Former Manchester United man Ben Foster has been one saving grace for them as he is constantly peppered by the opposition but has been repelling them more recently.

Watford also have Ashley Fletcher, Craig Cathcart and the aforementioned King who could all feature against their former side.

Man Utd’s Next 5 Games After The Break

Man Utd's Next 5 games

Man Utd just got done with their toughest run of games so far in this early season. A run of games that people looked at nervously when Man Utd went into the last international break.

Two wins, three losses and a draw, including two dismal performances against rivals is how United did and it has taken the air out of a room that was full of optimism after the good start of the season and the transfers that Man Utd brought in.

The next five are not that easy.

Man Utd’s Next 5

Man Utd return from the international break with a game against relegation threatened Watford. United will be traveling to Watford. The 17th place side has one good win this season against Everton away, they put five goals past the Toffees.

Man Utd should win, but Watford have nine players out on international duty, so they might not get that much of an advantage of being able to have that time to train with most of the first team.

Watford has good fans and could create a decent atmosphere. When they got relegated a couple of seasons ago they beat a Liverpool team at home, that Liverpool team won the league and were undefeated in 44 games in the league.

The next match is against a recent European foe in the Champions League. Villarreal, the team that beat Man Utd in the Europa League Final. Man Utd will continue their travels and head to Spain, both sides are top of their group in the Champions League.

A draw would not be a bad result for Man Utd, they finish the group stage with a home game against Young Boys.

United will have their toughest game after the international break against Chelsea. United will be away again when they face the European Champions and the current top team in the Premier League.

A really tough game for United, a slightly different opponent than the high flying extremely offensive minded sides like Manchester City and Liverpool. Chelsea are a bit more defensive minded under Thomas Tuchel, but have great attacking players.

United will then host two in-form London clubs, Arsenal and Crystal Palace. Arsenal have now jumped United in the standings and are now fifth.

Arsenal have not lost since August, they got smashed by City. They had a tough start, but they brought in some players at the window and they are looking like they are gelling.

Another team who brought in some players at the window is Palace. Patrick Viera, had some doubts and pundits thought he could be the first manager sacked, but they have been playing some really good football and are gelling too.

Palace beat City a couple of weeks ago, drew with Arsenal, but had them on the ropes most of the game. They beat Tottenham, but everyone is beating Spurs.

Man Utd’s next five are not easy, some really good teams, it will be interesting to see what happens if United do not get the results, especially with the current questions circling the coaching staff.