United Move to 5th Place After Beating the Hornets at Old Trafford

1. United produced a good laboured performance against a Watford side that made it difficult for the United players with their pressing high up the field, particularly in the first half. Indeed, United had a couple of scary moments in the first 15 minutes, as they couldn’t get out with the ball from a packed Watford midfield.  However, once Ole instructed Bruno Fernandes to find space on United’s left flank, then Fred and Matic had an easier route to find him and from then on, we always looked on top.  I had not commented on Bruno till now but I have to mention him today.  In the absence of Pogba, Bruno is the player United have been missing to be able to break down teams like Watford who stay behind the ball and make it difficult to play against.  Apart from his all round technical ability, shooting capabilities and dribbling skills, I have to highlight three attributes.  The first is his passing range, where independently if it’s a long pass or a short one, the direction and weight of the pass is mostly spot on.  The second attribute is the calmness with which he plays, making it look that he has more time on the ball than he has in reality.  The third and top attribute for me is his decision making.  Time and again we see runs from forwards to get into good positions – even from United players – and then they fail to choose the right option and the chance is missed.  Bruno has the ability to make the right decision quickly.  What a player!!

2. When three of your four attacking players score in the same match, then it has to be a day to savour. Fernandes coolly slotted a penalty which he himself won, past Ben Foster for the first goal, Martial added a second showing some sublime skills and young Mason Greenwood did what he does best by hammering the third in the top corner from Bruno’s assist.  James was good and persistent at times with his running off the ball but he rarely picks the right decision in the final third.  The boy is still young and time is on his side to improve in that department.

3. My third point to note is the improvement of the defensive department as the season progresses. This was the third clean sheet on the trot in the Premier League and despite a couple of scares – notably the goal cancelled by the VAR for a handball by Dawson in the same attack – the back four coped well with anything Watford through at them.  Special mention goes to Luke Shaw today.  He has been improving every game since he returned from injury and today he had another excellent display.  Long may the clean sheets continue.

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