Watford, one of three sides with 100% records coming into match day five, will face a very serious test on Saturday when they encounter Manchester United at home in the Premier League.
Group EPL Vicarage Road Stadium, Watford, England
Key Stat: Watford have five losses and a win against United in their six PL meetings since their promotion. However, their one victory did come at home back in 2016.
Expert Verdict: 90 minutes at Vicarage Road could give us a look-in at the final table. Are Watford for real and are United 'fixed?' Both of those questions could be answered with one simple result. On paper, you've got to favor United. They've got the history, finances, and quality behind them. But Watford have found something special and come off a very nice win against Spurs- a team that beat the Red Devils. This win will speak volumes for United, who figure out a way to get it done.
Javi Gracia continues to have issues over the fitness of center back Younes Kaboul, former United midfielder Tom Cleverley, defender Miguel Britos, and winger Gerard Deulofeu. Even if available, he'd likely not want to change too much after the great start they've gotten off to.
It's evident that Troy Deeney has done a lot of work in the summer, and it's paying off so far. The towering striker has lost a lot of weight, and instantly results have went his way. He scored the winning goal the last time his side beat United and two of the last three. Could he make it three from four? Ricardo Pereyra is another man to watch for. The Argentine always showed promise, but injuries kept biting him time and time again. He's started well this season by scoring three goals, can he keep up the fine start?
Watford have won each of their last five matches:
2-1 home win vs Tottenham
0-2 win at Reading (EFL Cup)
2-1 home win vs Crystal Palace
1-3 win at Burnley
2-0 home win vs Brighton
Defenders:Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas
Midfielders:Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra
Jose Mourinho has a lot of players nearing returns at the moment. One of them is center back Phil Jones. Fellow defender Marcos Rojo is also close to coming back as well. Marouane Fellaini is a doubt in midfield after the international break, but left back Luke Shaw is looking like he will be capable of starting after a horrible head injury on England duty. New signing right back Diogo Dalot has been working up to fitness and could be available as well. Marcus Rashford will miss due to suspension after his red card against Burnley.
Belgian star Romelu Lukaku has a massive chance here to show his quality to be absolute. If he scores in this match, it would give him 20 PL goals in his first 39 matches. Only three great strikers have done that at the club in the past, including Ruud van Nistelrooy. He scored twice in the last PL match, and he'll be trying to pick up right where he left off. Paul Pogba, one of the World Cup winners for France, is another to watch. He's scored twice already and is starting to look like the player United spent huge sums of money to bring back to the club.
United have two wins and three losses in their last five matches:
0-2 win at Burnley
0-3 home loss vs Tottenham
3-2 loss at Brighton
2-1 home win vs Leicester
1-0 loss at Bayern Munich (Friendly)
Defenders:Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw
Midfielders:Pogba, Matic, Herrera
Forwards:Lingard, Sanchez, Lukaku
Manchester United have dominated historically against Watford, winning 16 of the 23 matches played so far and only losing three to the Hornets. Here's a look at the last five results:
May 13, 2018: United 1-0 Watford
Nov 28, 2017: Watford 2-4 United
Feb 11, 2017: United 2-0 Watford
Sep 18, 2016: Watford 3-1 United
Mar 2, 201: United 1-0 Watford
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Watford are at 3/1 to win, a draw is at 12/5, and a Manchester United win is at 10/11.
Watford have been the surprise team of the first month in the EPL. The Hornets join Liverpool and Chelsea as the only unbeaten sides through four matches after a fantastic comeback win against Tottenham before the international break. Things didn't begin all that well under Javi Gracia last season, but they have been going in the right direction this term. With all of that said, there are legitimate questions that need answering over the ability to sustain a title charge. While a win in this particular fixture would not answer all of them, it would go some way to proving that they can play with the big boys of English football.
Manchester United enter the match with a .500 record this term. They are tenth on six points after a lull in proceedings for a two week period that ended when they seemingly put things right with victory over Burnley. But don't be so sure, there are still issues with the Red Devils. Sometimes you get the feeling that Mourinho wants to be right instead of winning. He will have to put his feelings aside and make sure that he doesn't further alienate his key players, or he could be headed for the exit door soon. United aren't out of the title race yet, but if they fall back much further, then there will be massive issues afoot for them. United, in theory, could have their focus on the Champions League in midweek, but their trip to Young Boys in Switzerland shouldn't frighten them too bad at all.
Troy Deeney has scored two of the last three goals the Hornets have against United.
Both of them coming from the spot. Him to score here anytime is at 13/5 via Ladbrokes.
Both teams scoring is at 1.8 via Betfair.
Lukaku and Pogba had big World Cups for their nations. And while questions continue to be posed about both of them, their experience in the big time and their quality is enough to make the difference against a very motivated Hornets squad.