Manchester United will be looking to build on Monday’s impressive 2-0 victory at Chelsea when they welcome a struggling Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Devils are currently just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the table, while Watford occupies 19th position having failed to win in their last four league outings.
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are confirmed absentees for United but Eric Bailly should be fit in time for the weekend, having been rested for the Club Brugge fixture after picking up a knock against Chelsea.
Scott McTominay, who has been out since Boxing Day with a knee ligament injury, returned to training on Thursday, though it’s unlikely he’ll usurp either Fred or Nemanja Matic to start on Sunday.
Odion Ighalo is still waiting for his first start but, with Martial enjoying a good run of form, he may have to settle for a substitute appearance against his old side.
As for Watford, Ismailia Sarr has had a fortnight to recover from a muscle problem but is still a doubt, so his absence could see Danny Welbeck start at his old stomping ground but there is further concerns over Kiko Femenia and Tom Cleverley, while Craig Dawson and Daryl Janmaat will definitely miss out.
There are plenty of options for Pearson to consider in central midfield, with Nathaniel Chalobah likely to come into the side in place of Will Hughes.
Head to Head
Manchester United lead the overall head to head 22 wins to Watford’s six, while there have also been five draws in their 33 matches throughout history.
The two teams have locked horns on 13 occasions in the Premier League and Hornet have only recorded two victories, both at home, losing the other 11.
Watford triumphed at Vicarage Road 2-0 in December thanks to strikes from Sarr and Troy Deeney, though Manchester United had won the previous five meetings prior to that encounter with the corresponding match last season proved to be Solskjaer’s first since being appointed Red Devil’s permanent boss as he secured a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Whenever Solskjaer needs a couple of wins under his belt, he delivers. The former United striker seems to do just enough to keep Ed Woodward happy, even if that’s not enough for the club’s suffering fans.
The 2-0 victory against Chelsea seemed to come totally out of the blue, while the 1-1 draw at Club Brugge gives the Red Devils a platform to go on and qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League.
Wins against Wolves and Bournemouth had given Pearson’s Watford a new lease of life in their battle to avoid relegation, but the new manager bounce seems to have disappeared in the last few weeks.
Draws with Tottenham and Brighton have earned them a few precious points, though tight losses to Aston Villa and Everton have been somewhat demoralizing.
Man United possible starting lineup (3-4-1-2): De Gea; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams; Fernandes; Martial, Ighalo
Watford possible starting lineup 4-2-3-1): Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Chalobah, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Watford