5 Things We Learned From Watford 1 - 2 Manchester United

Depay Likes Being Stuck In The Middle

Van Gaal surprised with his team selection, choosing Memphis as his central striker and then pairing him with fellow winger Jesse Lingard in front two.

It worked perfectly as the Red Devils scored inside 11 minutes. It was a great ball from Ander Herrera but it was all about the finish from the young Dutchman, he got the wrong side of the defender and caressed the ball into the top corner expertly.

Depay has been shorn of confidence for months and that goal could be the catalyst for him to show the player everyone knows he can be. Maybe a more central role in England suits him better, Wayne Rooney may be a little worried.


United Look Better With Pace – Sorry Wayne

The absence of Wayne Rooney was greeted by joy by man Man United fans and with the way they started, that was understandable.

Louis van Gaal’s side have been crying out for more pace in the attacking areas of the pitch all season and with the front two of Depay and Lingard they finally had it. That resulted in their best start to a game this season.

The away side scored in the first 15 minutes of a match for the first time this term and looked a real threat in the opening stages, deservedly grabbing the lead through Depay. An injury to Herrera saw them change shape and they had to settle again but seeing a United team play with pace and intent from the off was very refreshing.


Hornets Front Two Will Keep Them Safe

Watford are the best of the promoted sides, of that there is no doubt. It makes no logical sense. Their model is patch and their turnover of players and managers should not produce success, but somehow it does.

They responded excellently in the second period, with Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo at the heart of all things that were good about the Hornets attacking threat. The way they dovetail is brilliant to observe and they are showing themselves to be one of the top-flight’s best partnerships.

Deeney was unlucky with the late own goal but these two will be crucial to Watford’s fight for survival. If they stay fit it’s hard to see them needing to stave off relegation come the end of the campaign.


De Gea Is Still The Difference

Man United have not conceded a goal since Jesse Lingard was born. Well, not quite , but it was nearly 11 hours since David De Gea had picked the ball out of the back of his net before Troy Deeney scored, which is pretty impressive in anyone’s book.

The Spanish stopper has had to take a back seat in the praise stakes behind Chris Smalling so far this season but he has been superb once again since he returned to the starting XI.

Pretty much everything Watford threw at him he repelled, bet that with expert handling, standing strong or making a wonderful one handed save from a deflected Abdi strike. Make no mistake about it, he is just as important as he ever was. He just needs his defenders not to give stupid penalties away.


A Freed Juan Mata Is Better For Everyone

If you want to get the best out of Juan Mata you play him centrally and with runners around him. Low and behold he was given something more of a free role here, thanks to the likes of Memphis and Lingard being able to fill in for him out wide. The result? One of his best showings this term.

The Spaniard was picking up some great positions on the edge of the Hornets box and he was the focal point of most of the away side’s attacks, setting the tempo and playing the passes.

He revelled in the fact he had runners in behind and he found the front two on a regular basis. This was just a flash of what the former Chelsea man can do, maybe if he is afforded the luxury of such players around him more often United will get even more from him.