The Premier League form book has drawn up a compelling clash between a wounded giant and an energised lightweight.
Watford play host to the record Premier League winners after back-to-back losses under their new manager Jose Mourinho.
The Red Devils had been on a six game competitive winning streak until last weekend’s demoralising derby day defeat against enemies Manchester City. The loss saw them slip down to fourth in the table after Everton’s win at Sunderland.
Mourinho will be disappointed after losing to Pep Guardiola for the ninth time and will look for a rapid response from his charges after a weakened team lost against Feyenoord in the Europa League.
Watford head into this game coming off of a fantastic turnaround against West Ham at the London Stadium last Saturday. The Hammers led 2-0 after 34 minutes but a twenty-three minute, four goal barrage from the Hornets gave them all three points in a contest marred by crowd trouble.
It was Watford’s first victory of the season and took them up to 10th place with four points from four games.
Watford have new signing Stefano Okaka facing time out with a hamstring injury. Coach Walter Mazzarri has been quite flexible with his team selections with 15 players making starts so far this season. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo will likely be paired up front again, despite Deeney picking up three yellow cards in the league already.
Expect United to make changes to their team after Thursday’s defeat. Mourinho has only made changes to his wide midfielders in the league thus far, with Jesse Lingard and Henrik Mkhitaryan coming in for Anthony Martial and Juan Mata respectively.
Marcus Rashford’s hesitant performance against the Dutch team will most likely see him back on the bench this weekend. Luke Shaw was withdrawn against City after picking up a hamstring injury and could be replaced by Marcos Rojo. If Daley Blind moves to left-back, Chris Smalling will return at the centre of the defence.
Key Man – Troy Deeney (Watford)
The striker is the heartbeat of the Hornets side and will lead from the front on every occasion. He currently has a solitary goal and assist apiece in the league this season, hitting the back of the net last week against West Ham.
The striker claimed the Hammers were ‘mugging off’ his team with their fancy tricks and rabona assists. It will be interesting to see what he makes of United’s Pogba, Mkhtaryian and a certain man from Scandinavia.
Key Man – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
The big Swede has averaged a goal a game for his new club and will look to continue his strong form against Watford. On his day, the frontman can be an incredibly destructive presence and although he has four goals so far this season, he is yet to deliver a truly awesome performance. Sunday afternoon will be the perfect stage for such a display.