RED DEVILS RUN RAMPART AGAINST WATFORD

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It was gutsy, it was exhilarating, it was superfluous; in short, it was basically all of the things that have failed to typify a team grossly under-delivering on their attacking promise.

But long before the ball was kicked on Vicarage road on Wednesday, in what was being billed as the match of the Portuguese heavyweights, Jose Mourinho already had a defensive crisis on his hands with preferred centre-back pair; Phil Jones and Eric Bailly out injured, the ‘Special one’ elected for an unfamiliar back three of Rojo, Smalling and Lindelof.

With those kind of odds, Marco Silva was always going to fancy his chances and so from the instant the whistle was blown, Watford’s band of entertainers zeroed in for the kill. Will Hughes looked to instantly stamp his authority on the game, with the ever-lively Richarlison probing down the left wing. All such resistance was effectively ended in the 19th minute when Jesse Lingaard found Ashley Young on the edge of the area. The former Watford man unleashing a venomous half-volley that confounded Gomes at his near post.

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PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY

Six minutes later, Young was at it again. Abdoulaye Doucoure brought down a rampaging Paul Pogba from 30 yards out, and up stepped the English international to bend an unbelievable effort into the top corner, it was a goal of exquisite quality and one that showcased the player’s confidence at the moment. Watford looked to get back into the game but were simply blown apart by United’s apparent superiority and attacking verve which soon inevitably translated into another goal in the 32nd minute when Lukaku poked through for Anthony Martial to tuck home his seventh league goal of the season.

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PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY

Half-time and Man Utd were strolling home though it could have been more had Lingaard and Lukaku in particular been more clinical. In counterpoint, Richarlison’s effort off the bar in the 45th minute summed up the Hornets’ dismal first-half performance.

If their initial performance was poor, then Marco Silva’s men come out a much more improved outfit in the second-half; helped in no small way by the substitution of Matic ten minutes into the half. Troy Deeney came on to replace Andre Gray and the Captain soon get himself on the score-sheet, tucking away an 80th minute penalty after fellow substitute Pereyra was hacked down by Rojo. It was a night for jaw-dropping goals and Abdoulaye Doucoure added his name to the mix in the 84th minute with a beautifully cushioned effort to make it 2-3 to Watford.

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PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY

However, just when it seemed like the pressure was piling on for Mourinho, Jesse Lingaard picked up the ball and embarked on a twisting run that ended in the goal of the night and three points for his team.

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