Manchester United visit Vicarage Road for what is on paper a relatively easy game. Sitting bottom of the Premier League and on their third manager before the end of December it hasn’t been as they imagined. However, what is surprising for pundits and fans alike is Watford have a similar squad from last season. Identifying three players who could cause United problems won’t be dictated by form but rather ability and the impact of their new manager.
Deulofeu has been a great signing for Watford. Providing gaols and assists for his team. This season he leads both those statistics with two assists and goals. Capable of playing across the front line with great balance and skill Deulofeu is a crowd pleaser who can deliver outstanding performances. In equal proportions he can frustrate with inconsistent games where he can go missing. Against a big club like United you expect him to be motivated and hungry, he could prove to be a real threat for all of United’s defenders.
A box to box midfielder with the ability to dominate games who can chip in with vital goals. Doucouré is another player who has always been linked to bigger clubs with physical attributes likening him to Yaya Toure and Patrick Viera. You can expect Fred and McTominay to be challenged all game both in attack and defence. With the most passes and tackles for Watford this season and second highest number of shots taken, Doucouré makes his presence felt across the pitch.
Deeney has never been a prolific goal scorer but there are many other attributes that he adds to the team. This season he has been limited to six Premier League appearances, which probably explains Watford’s form. As the club captain Deeney brings passion and leadership to the team, which has been missing. Furthermore he is what you would call an old-fashioned English striker who hassles and hurries defenders for the full 90 minutes. Nothing probably symbolises this more than the fact he has won more aerial battles then any of his team mates, even more impressive when you consider his lack of playing time. Maguire will have to be at his best to dominate Deeney in the air and make sure Lindelof is not left isolated against such an imposing figure.
United must approach this game without looking at Watford’s league position. If they have the same mindset as they had when playing Tottenham or Manchester City you would expect a comfortable victory. However, as so many times this season against the smaller teams United have been caught out, they can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes at Vicarage Road.