Watford 2, Manchester United 0
Manchester United fell to a first defeat in seven matches as they were deservedly beaten by rock bottom Watford in the Premier League.Embed from Getty Images
David De Gea was the villain as his mistake allowed Ismaila Sarr’s second half shot to squirm into the net, and he was powerless to stop a Troy Deeney penalty softly afterwards too.
Paul Pogba couldn’t change things as Nigel Pearson earned Watford’s first home win of the season on his first home match in charge at Vicarage Road.
After the midweek win over Colchester United, the Reds reverted to the side that drew with Everton last weekend although Paul Pogba made the bench after his recent injury troubles.
But United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was once again frustrated by a side that wasn’t in the traditional Premier League top six – none more so than rock bottom Watford.
Nigel Pearson’s Watford gave a good show at home, restricting the visitors to brief cameos – and the Reds hardly helped themselves with a lack of invention and wastefulness in possession.
Watford had a goal quickly disallowed in the 19th minute after David De Gea dropped the ball after being fouled from a Watford corner and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s goal was immediately ruled out following the infringement.
Troy Deeney’s shot was blocked by Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard overcooked his elaborate lob over Ben Foster – watching it land on the roof of the net – as shots on target remained at a premium.
The Hornets roused themselves after the break though and De Gea’s error gifted them their first goal.
Will Hughes’ free kick into the area fell nicely for Sarr but his scuffed effort somehow slipped through De Gea’s fingers, off his face, and into the goal.
Since the start of last season it was the sixth error leading to a goal in the Premier League for the Spaniard – more than any other player.
United tried to respond and Scott McTominay headed directly at Foster but Watford doubled their lead after Aaron Wan-Bissaka brought down Sarr inside the box shortly afterwards.
Troy Deeney makes Man Utd pay the penalty for lack of creativity at Watford
Watford captain Troy Deeney stepped up and slammed the ball straight down the middle to beat the Spaniard who was desperate to atone for his earlier error.
Paul Pogba, who hadn’t played for United for 83 days due to injury, was brought on for Lingard and had efforts saved by Foster as the Reds briefly improved with him on the pitch.
But Watford were motivated and Deeney was chief cheerleader – driving his troops on as they ran their hearts out.
Deeney’s shot came off Nathaniel Chalobah as United had a lucky escape with Watford all over the Reds who had brought on Mason Greenwood and Juan Mata to try and get back into the game.
Mata’s cross was headed into Foster’s hands by Harry Maguire while Anthony Martial and Greenwood threatened without testing the home defence and Mata’s injury time free kick went over the wall and went wide as the home side sang their way to a first win at home this season.
MATCH STATS – Watford 2, Manchester United 0
Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Kasabele, Cathcart, Femenia, Capoue (Pereyra 77), Hughes, Sarr (Success 87), Doucoure (Chalobah 69), Deulofeu, Deeney
Watford Subs not used: Gomes, Dawson, Masina, Gray
Booked: Capoue, Doucoure, Cathcart
Goals: Sarr 50, Deeney 54 pen
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay (Mata 73), Fred, James (Greenwood 58), Lingard (Pogba 64), Rashford, Martial
Man Utd Subs not used: Romero, Pereira, Young, Matic
Referee: Lee Mason