Watford vs Manchester United: Match preview and predicted line-ups

Two new managers, two different sets of ambitions. For Watford boss Walter Mazzarri, this season is all about building on the Hornets respectable 13th-place finish from last term, and even then the Italian isn’t guaranteed to be in a job this time next year (see the summer sacking of the hugely popular Quique Sanchez Flores). Any hopes of success will again be reliant on the goalscoring exploits of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, and the fact that both notched their first Premier League goals of the season last weekend will be a great relief for the new boss.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s impressive start under Jose Mourinho has had many experts predicting a rejuvenated Red Devils side challenging for the Premier League title, however, last week’s Manchester derby defeat may have damped such expectations slightly.

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Watford come into this game full of confidence after coming back from 2-0 down to beat West Ham United 4-2 last weekend. The victory lifted the Hornets up to mid-table, after an opening day draw with Southampton and subsequent home defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea meant they had begun the season with just one point from a possible nine.

Meanwhile, United kicked off their campaign with typical Mourinho-like efficiency, winning each of their opening three games. Saturday’s home defeat to Manchester City and Thursday night’s Europa League humbling at the hands of Feyenoord show that there is still work ahead for the Portuguese boss, but it is remains United’s best start to a Premier League season for four years.

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Predicted line-ups

Don’t expect Watford to make any changes on the back of their exploits last weekend. New signing Roberto Pereyra looked the part in central midfield and alongside Valon Behrami, and the in-form Etienne Capoue, will be tasked with nullifying with the threat of Paul Pogba.

Although Jose Mourinho opted to make a number of changes against Feyenoord, the line-up for this one is likely to closely resemble that of last weekend. However, Jesse Lingard could make way for Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford on the left, whilst fitness worries over Luke Shaw mean that Marcos Rojo may be given a chance at left-back.

Watford predicted starting XI                                Manchester United predicted starting XI

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Injuries and Suspensions

Watford’s only injury worry will be that of summer signing Stefano Okaka, with the forward picking up a muscle injury during the win at West Ham. As for United, Luke Shaw’s inclusion is likely to be touch-and-go after a slight hamstring injury forced him to miss United’s trip to Rotterdam on Thursday night. A number of other first team regulars were also rested in midweek, as Mourinho’s side aim to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing Manchester derby defeat.

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Conclusion

Walter Mazzarri will be pleased with how Watford have dealt with a difficult set of opening games, and will be hoping that his side can avoid defeat on Sunday afternoon. The Hornets’s vintage counter-attacking display at the Olympic Stadium shows that they are a force to be reckoned with on their day, and United will have to be wary of falling into a similar trap to West Ham. Nevertheless, Mourinho’s side should have enough quality to take all three points home and, as long as they avoid the defensive lapses that were their downfall against Manchester City, we expect them to return to winning ways in this one. As a result, we are predicting a 3-1 Manchester United victory.

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