Man Utd v Watford Betting Predictions | Premier League BettingPublished February 07, 2017
Having beaten Arsenal and Burnley in the last two games, Walter Mazzarri’s Watford side are in a much better position than they were beforehand and head into the meeting with Manchester United in confident mood.
Many questioned their ability to defend before travelling to the Emirates Stadium, but they successfully frustrated one of the most potent attacking forces in the Premier League. Despite easing past Leicester with a 3-0 win last weekend, Manchester United have continued to struggle against defensive organisation at Old Trafford. There is more than enough quality for the Red Devils to secure victory, but the theme of patience and waiting until late on in the game may have to continue.
Thanks to Chelsea’s incredible form this season, playing with three defenders and wingbacks has become very fashionable. Watford, though, have been doing this all season. The main strength of this system is the flexibility in play, but if Mazzarri is to get anything from this game, he will first have to stop Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Finding a system which gets the best out of both players, and Paul Pogba, while keeping balance in the team has been the most impressive thing about Jose Mourinho as United continue their good form. One defeat in 20 games is a huge positive, but seven draws in that time sums up their frustration.
Because Watford will play with five midfielders, flooding the centre of the pitch, that will likely kill the space that Mkhitaryan and Mata utilised expertly against Leicester. Mata starts out wide but cuts inside and Mkhitaryan roams to create gaps for the Spaniard to run into, but that will be the area Mazzarri will look to control.
Given the frustration of previous games, Mourinho may look to change the system slightly, or at least the emphasis of play. Most likely, the Portuguese will allow his players to take the game to Watford, as the fans will demand it. If United sit back, particularly early, and force their visitors to come into the game, they can hit them on the counter attack. The space will be there for Mkhitaryan to run into, and this system would get the best of Marcus Rashford, who has not scored in 15 games, and outcast Anthony Martial, if he comes back in.
As already stated, Manchester United have the quality to break down Watford regardless and are more tactically savvy than an Arsenal side undone by the Hornets. They should win, but it may take a while once again.