Manchester United vs Watford: Preview, Team News, Key Battles, Predictions and Betting Odds

Sankha Ghosh / 02 March 2016

Something really strange happened at Old Trafford on the weekend. During Manchester United’s astonishing victory over Arsenal the crowd, for may be the first time, looked to be completely united with Louis van Gaal. Will it be the turning point in his reign? Time will tell obviously and the Red Devils will be desperate to continue some impressive overall head to head form against the mighty Hornets as the goals have actually dried up for Watford lately and they have been struggling out on the road.

Manchester United will continue their top four pursuit when they welcome Watford on Wednesday on the back of a Huge win against Arsenal in their last league outing and Louis Van Gaal’s boys now look to build on the winning mentality. Meanwhile, Watford played out a goalless stalemate with Bournemouth on matchday 27 which left them 10th on the Premier league table with 24 points. But the Red Devils are now just 3 points behind 4th placed Manchester City and are looking forward with great confidence to close the gap if Manchester City slip up.

Team News:

Manchester United – 

Despite performing like a mid-table side and suffering defeates at the hands of several mid-table clubs in all competitions, Manchester United now seems to have found their in-form players. Even though, the Dutch manager is having plenty of injuries and because of that, most of the players are out, but the youngsters are playing just awesome. For example, Rashford, who striked two lethal goals on his Premier League debut. He scored against a heavy weight team like Arsenal who have a great stopper in goal. On the other hand, Mata, Depay, Herrera, Lingard all are playing better than earlier. There is also a high chance for Martial returning to the starting eleven. This is certainly a plus point for Manchester United that their players are finally getting back their actual form. Luke shaw, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinstiger, Ashley Young, Mouruane Fellaini and Darmian Matteo are all out on injury.

At the same time, David de Gea is back after two matche recovering from an injury. He saved some sure shot goals against Arsenal despite conceding two. However, the best part is Manchester United is somehow looking furious day by day. Although, they are far far behind the title race, but another victory will definitely help them a lot to get back their top 4 position.

Watford –

Although, they played a goalless draw with Bournemouth, the players displayed far better performance than previous matches. In last five outings, they have won just two; against Crystal Palace and Leeds United in Premier League and FA Cup respectively. However, captain Deeney is not enjoying a great form and we have seen several useless passes in the previous match. However, Ighalo, Amrabat are playing good, which is obviously a positive sign for Watford.

There currently no serious injury reports for Watford but Ben Watson, Srbastian Prodl and Miguel Britos all have seen 4 yellow cards each and stand a risk of suspension if any yellow card is given to them.

Expected Line-up:

Manchester United – De Gea; Varela, Carrick, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Herrera; Lingard, Mata, Depay; Rashford.

Watford – Gomes; Paredes, Cathcart, Britos, Ake; Behrami, Watson, Capoue, Amrabat; Deeney, Ighalo.

Key Battles:

Juan Mata vs Nathan Ake

Mata has enjoyed a slightly above average season so far, scoring 4 goals in 27 Premier League appearances along with 4 assists. United will be desperate for attacking creativity and paired with his Spanish international teammate Ander Herrera, Mata could provide enough spark to tilt the match in his teams’s favor. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old Spanish midfielder, he will be matched up against Nathan Ake, one of Watford’s most in-form players as he always leads his side in total tackles neutralizing any threat coming to the Watford defence.

Morgan Schneiderlin vs Troy Deeney

Schneiderlin, the veteran French midfielder has been really impressive for Manchester United till now this season. Despite not able to control the midfield in every match, he gives a much needed layer of protection. He has also displayed some important interceptions and his pass percentage remains very high which adjusts perfectly for a squad like United playing a possession game. On Wednesday he will be up against Watford captain Troy Deeney, who despite not in a great form against Southampton in their last match can become a huge threat to injury-hit Manchester United defence and Schneiderlin has to take a great responsibility on Wednesday to cover his back-four.

Key Stats:

Manchester United are on a ten match winning streak against the Hornets.

Watford have failed to score in five of their last seven games in the Premier League.

The Hornets have conceded at least two goals in each of their last seven against Manchester United.

Watford have won just one of their last five away games.

Troy Deeney scored a penalty to equalise for Watford and then an own goal to give Man Utd all three points in the reverse fixture this season.

Watford already have more points away from home this term (18) than they managed in their two previous BPL campaigns put together (15).

Betting odds:

Manchester United Win – 4/6

Draw – 14/5

Watford Win – 5/1


The impressive win against Arsenal really has to have done something for a down under Manchester United. The goals have finally started to come for them at Old Trafford and it took an injury crisis it seems, to have made it happen. Meanwhile, Watford are always an offensive unit in terms of returns at the moment so this tie may end up being a home win for Manchester United with 1-0 scoreline.