Seeking redemption following an underwhelming derby defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, Manchester United head to Vicarage Road to meet Watford.
Watford’s decision to sever ties with the now ex-manager Xisco Munoz and appoint Claudio Ranieri as his successor last month has yet to pay dividends.
The Hornets have delivered a mixed bag of showings during the Italians’ brief reign, losing three of their four Premier League matches without scoring.
Watford’s solitary league win under Ranieri came at the expense of Everton as they came from a 1-0 half-time deficit to post an overwhelming 5-2 victory at Goodison Park in October.
As for Man United, a 2-0 home defeat to cross-town rivals Man City last time out was only the tip of the iceberg, with the pressure ramping up on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils have racked up just four points from their last six Premier League outings, their lowest points tally across a six-game sequence in the competition since November/December 2015 under Louis van Gaal.
With talks of Zinedine Zidane‘s potential arrival at Old Trafford picking up momentum, Solskjaer can ill-afford to drop the points at Vicarage Road if he is to retain his job.
Watford vs Manchester United Head-to-Head
Man United have outplayed Watford in 14 of their 16 Premier League encounters since the competition was rebranded in 1992 while losing the other two.
However, it’s worth noting that those two reverses have come in the Red Devils’ last four top-flight visits to Hertfordshire, succumbing to a two-goal on each occasion.
Regardless of which of the spectrum of supporting these sides you stand, brace yourself for an exciting, high-scoring affair.
Six of the seven Premier League clashes between Watford and United at this venue have seen both teams scoring in matches garnering 3+ overall goals.
Watford Team News
Watford could be without deep-lying midfielder Ozan Tufan, who sustained a knee injury while away on international duty with Turkey.
In addition to long-term absentee Peter Etebo, Christian Kabasele could also remain on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring problem.
On-loan box-to-box midfielder Juraj Kucka won’t be in Ranieri’s matchday squad due to a red-card suspension.
All eyes will be on Joshua King, who bagged a second-half hat-trick in his side’s thumping of Everton.
Manchester United Team News
Man United’s French duo, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane, are not in contention for this match as both have yet to regain full fitness.
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay withdrew from their national teams’ camps due to head injury and illness, respectively, and could be unavailable on Saturday.
Solskjaer will rely on his talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo to step up to the plate again and lead the line at Vicarage Road.
Including his first spell at Old Trafford, the 36-year-old has registered 83 goals and 21 assists in 91 Premier League appearances against newly-promoted sides.
Watford vs Manchester United Predicted Line-ups
Watford (4-4-1-1): Ben Foster; Kiko Femenia, Craig Cathcart, Nicolas N’Koulou, Danny Rose; Ismaila Sarr, Tom Cleverley, Moussa Sissoko, Emmanuel Dennis; Joao Pedro; Joshua King.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Fred; Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Cristiano Ronaldo.