Three things we learned as Man United squeeze past Watford

Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League this afternoon as they beat newly promoted Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

The Red Devils took the lead after just 11 minutes through Memphis Depay, who was handed his first start since October, as the Netherlands international volleyed in a Ander Herrara cross past Gomes.

Louis van Gaal was forced to tweak his formation to 3-5-2 mid-way through the first half as Herrera limped off and was replaced by Marcos Rojo. After that United struggled to create much as Watford grew in to the game and threatened on a number of occasions in the second half, but David De Gea produced a string of world class saves to keep United in front.

But in an eventful final five minutes, Watford drew level through a Troy Deeney penalty after Rojo tripped Ighalo in the box before Bastian Schweinsteiger won it for the visitors in the 90th minute with a close range finish that may go down as a Deeney own goal.

Here are three things we learned from that throughly exciting contest this afternoon…

Depay is the real deal…

depay

Injuries to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial saw Memphis Depay handed his first start for Manchester United since October, with everyone labelling this afternoon’s game as his big chance to prove he can be play an important role for the club.

And it took him 11 minutes to open the scoring as he latched on to an Ander Herrera cross to volley in from close range. The Netherlands international had a solid game and certainly proved he’s got what it takes to be a major part of Louis van Gaal’s side this term.

Man United’s solid defence…

Before Troy Deeney smashed in the equaliser from the penalty spot, Man United had gone over ten hours without conceding a goal.

They mostly have David De Gea to thank for that, having pulled off a string of world class saves through the game and particularly in the second half when Watford were going all out for an equaliser.

The return of 3-5-2…

…and the fans are fuming about it. Ander Herrera limped off in the first half and instead of sticking with the formation that was proving to hot for Watford to handle, Louis van Gaal chose to stick Marcos Rojo on and revert to 3-5-2.

After that United rarely looked like scoring again and allowed Watford more of the possession. If it wasn’t for David De Gea between the sticks, Watford would’ve gone on to win the game as a result.

Luckily for United, Bastian Schweinsteiger popped up at the death to win it for Louis van Gaal’s side.

 


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