Jose Mourinho’s men hold off late fightback to bring end to Hornets’ winning start

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September 15, 2018
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September 15, 2018

Jose Mourinho’s men hold off late fightback to bring end to Hornets’ winning start


HARD-FOUGHT

Quick goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling helped United claim the three points despite Andre Gray’s second-half strike

Watford’s perfect start to the season was ended after they lost 2-1 to Manchester United at Vicarage Road.

First-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling helped United claim back-to-back wins but the Premier League’s surprise package made them work for the win after Andre Gray pulled one back after the break.

United are now eighth in the Premier League table

United are now eighth in the Premier League table

The Red Devils have made a bad start to the season but there was nothing wrong with their approach to this game as they tested Ben Foster with efforts from Lukaku and Paul Pogba early on.

On 16 minutes, the hero from the Hornets’ comeback victory over Tottenham Troy Deeney had a curling effort tipped over the bar by David De Gea.

However, that was as good as it got for Watford in the first-half as United seized control of the game and Foster was forced into making another great save, this time denying Alexis Sanchez.

But Jose Mourinho’s side broke the home team’s resistance ten minutes before the break when Ashley Young’s cross deflected into Lukaku’s path and the ball struck his midriff to trickle into the corner of the net.

Pogba was unlucky not to double their lead moments later but his fierce effort was parried over by Foster.

United didn’t have to wait long for their second, however, when Smalling expertly chested and volleyed Marouane Fellaini’s header powerfully in.

Smalling celebrates United’s second goal of the game

Smalling celebrates United’s second goal of the game

Javi Gracia’s men improved after the break and Smalling was forced to clear an inswinging corner from the right away from danger just after the hour mark.

But new life was breathed into the contest when Gray latched onto Abdoulaye Doucoure’s cutback to slam the ball into the roof of the net.

Clearly sensing they could do to United what they did to Spurs two weeks ago, Watford threw everything in search of an equaliser.

They would have been encouraged even further when Nemanja Matic was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time.

And Watford nearly got the goal straight away but De Gea made a superb save to deny Christian Kabasele’s header as United held on for the crucial win.

This brilliant save by the Spaniard preserved the three points for United

This brilliant save by the Spaniard preserved the three points for United

STAR MAN

Make no mistake, this was a big, big win for the Red Devils as they had to really dig deep to stay in touch with the Premier League’s top sides.

Fellaini made a number of good challenges to stifle the Watford onslaught but Smalling is this game’s star man.

The centre-back made a very good clearance off the line in the second-half and his goal – which has ultimately proved the deciding goal – was brilliantly taken.

Smalling’s goal was a finish any striker in the league would be proud of

Smalling’s goal was a finish any striker in the league would be proud of

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Unsurprisingly the moment of the match has to be the Smalling goal as that was ultimately where the game was won and lost.

Some believe he’s not good enough to wear the United shirt but his display shows Smalling is more than capable of playing for the club.

UPCOMING FIXTURES

Fulham v Watford (Premier League) – Saturday September 22

Young Boys v Manchester United (Champions League) – Wednesday September 19

After a difficult start, Mourinho’s side are beginning to string some results together

After a difficult start, Mourinho’s side are beginning to string some results together





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