How Manchester United will face Watford in the Premier League match – Samuel Luckhurst

Manchester United will be hoping for a recovery in form when they travel to Watford in the Premier League this weekend.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is still under enormous pressure after four defeats in the last six league games and knows that he needs an improved display if he is to stay in a job.

United have won 18 of their 26 matches against Watford, but are without wins in three Premier League matches against newly promoted teams, where they played a draw against West Brom, Leeds and Fulham last season. They have not gone four in a row without a victory against such opposition since a race that ended in September 1997.

As for early team news, Raphael Varane will miss the match due to injury while Paul Pogba is suspended.

Here’s how MEN writers think the team should line up.

Samuel Luckhurst

Wan-Bissaka’s relegation is delayed and Diogo Dalot deserves a real chance to show he can extend his United career. Harry Maguire is exposed in the hope that he is encouraged by his international form, as well as the shortcomings of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof’s partnership.

Nemanja Matic – the only defensive midfielder in the squad – has been astonishingly underused and must be tried alongside Donny van de Beek. Jesse Lingard has long awaited a league start for United.

Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho are inverted strikers who would offer Cristiano Ronaldo support and pull the full-backs forward. Matic, Lingard, Van de Beek, Greenwood and Sancho were not on international service and their freshness could be crucial.

Five changes
Five changes

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Rich Fay

United need an answer, not only in terms of results, but also in terms of their performance this weekend with a dominant display that is crucial on Vicarage Road.

Bailly may be worth trying along with Maguire given his mobility, but otherwise the defense should remain fairly straightforward even after a bad form.

There is no need to play both Fred and McTominay for this one, so Van de Beek should come in for the Scot with Fernandes the obvious choice in the attacking midfield role.

Ronaldo is the only option through the middle and Greenwood deserves another turn on the right wing. Sancho has been bad all season but could start his campaign with a blow to the left against the side he played for as a child.

Tyrone Marshall

Solskjær has already indicated that he will give up the back three, and it would be a negative move to use that system against a newly promoted team. With Varane out, that means Lindelof starts alongside Maguire, and Telles should come in for Shaw. The left-back has not been pictured training this week and suffered a concussion against City two weeks ago. A rest can be beneficial.

In midfield, it must be time for Van de Beek to get off to a meaningful start. McTominay missed international duty so Fred can play alongside the Dutchman in a partnership that has previously hinted at potential.

Fernandes is probably lucky to keep his place, but the offensive midfielder and Ronaldo should give a reaction to Portugal’s poor international break. United need their talisman to go up on the plate again.

Ronaldo will of course lead the line. Rashford has played well since the return of his injury so he can start from the left and Sancho may be worth starting on the right against his former club. Greenwood has been having a hard time lately and as a young player he wants spells where his level drops and he can be rotated out of the side.

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