Watford provides a crucial test for Solskjaer’s side, in which a build up of momentum over the last couple of games needs to be continued. It is always a difficult place to go, where Nigel Pearson seems to have got something out of a struggling team with an encouraging display against Liverpool.
Marcus Rashford’s form has continued, with his goal where he cut inside the Colchester defence looking ominous for this run that he has been enjoying not simply being considered a purple patch. He finally looks like a man who can feel confident of breaking down any defence, playing with an aggressiveness not seen at United in years.
Too often throughout the years we have seen our attackers run towards the defence and then not have the confidence to take defenders on. Marcus Rashford and Daniel James finally provide that thrust from wide areas to take on defenders, something which should provide some fruitful rewards in the future.
Mason Greenwood however will hope to have a place in the attack on Sunday, after scoring a very well taken goal against Everton at Old Trafford last weekend. This goal came where you felt United were not going to find the net, despite constant pressure on Jordan Pickford’s net. He has been very well handled by Solskjaer, being eased in and out of the team over the season. But now you feel, as Ole himself suggested, that he is playing too well not to include him in the starting eleven more regularly.
Paul Pogba is likely to return to the squad on Sunday, after a large period of uncertainty over his fitness and then a bout of illness to rule him out of the fixture versus Colchester on Wednesday night. It is a huge boost in a midfield lacking creativity and you feel he can help to find the in form Marcus Rashford. It may be too soon for him to start, but seeing him in and around the squad will surely add more belief to Solskjaer’s side ahead of the festive period. There may be an issue however of our midfield being overrun, with Watford likely to pack bodies into their midfield.
Luke Shaw may be the most likely to play at left back, although the consistent absence of Brandon Williams I feel is severely unfair, given his largely great introduction to life in the Premier League so far. Maguire and Lindelof will almost certainly start at centre half together, clearly showing signs of being Ole’s preferred pairing this season.
These are the kind of games that will define our season, with us being so close to the top four. A poor away record must be worked on, and I’m sure an in form Marcus Rashford will look to drive his boyhood club to victory on Sunday. You still feel the mood is vulnerable to switching very quickly, with the christmas period absolutely vital in building up valuable points in a possible charge in catching a slightly faltering Chelsea side.