Manchester United 3, Watford 0
Bruno Fernandes scored his first goal for Manchester United and set up goals for Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as the Reds beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford.Embed from Getty Images
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes from the side that drew with Club Brugge last Thursday, bringing in David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Fernandes, Daniel James, and Greenwood for Sergio Romero, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, and Juan Mata.
United adapted slowly to the blustery conditions at Old Trafford – Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire got into each other’s way allowing Troy Deeney a sniff of a shot – and were second best for large swathes of the first half.
Ben Foster parried out Daniel James’ dangerous cross only to for Wan-Bissaka to hit the side netting when he was best placed for a good shot on goal.
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot brought out a fine save from David De Gea after United looked to be getting no change from the Watford defence.
United broke the deadlock shortly before half time when Bruno Fernandes was brought down by Ben Foster as he broke clear onto a Daniel James through ball – a clear penalty.
Fernandes stepped up to take the spot kick himself – skipping in the run-up Jorginho style to send Foster the wrong way.
Troy Deeney’s equaliser in the 52nd minute was ruled out after Craig Dawson was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up which saw the ball come off the post and bundled into the back of the net by the Watford captain.
The Hornet’s sting was drawn after the disappointment of having the goal ruled out – and the Reds surged back to win the game in style.
United doubled their lead after a great piece of skill by Anthony Martial to chip Ben Foster after Bruno Fernandes put him through.
Foster blocked his first effort but the Frenchman trapped the rebound, pulled it back from Etienne Capoue, turned, and lifted it over Foster for his 15th goal of the season.
Mason Greenwood made sure of victory in the 75th minute when he exchanged passes with Bruno Fernandes on the right flank before coming inside and rifling the ball into the roof of the net from 16 yards out.
Gerard Deulofeu lifted the ball onto bar but without Tory Deeney, who was replaced by ex United player Danny Welbeck, Watford lacked the momentum they had in the first half.
Odion Ighalo made his Old Trafford debut as part of a triple substitution and hit the post from an acute angle after a poor defensive header by Adam Masina.
The Stretford End certainly wanted the ex-Watford striker to score but the game was already won.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester United 3, Watford 0
David De Gea: 7. Wasn’t done many favours by his defenders. Great save from Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7. Improved crosses but poor shooting.
Victor Lindelof: 7. Wayward pass in opening minute. Battled with Tory Deeney.
Harry Maguire: 7. Early mix-up with Nemanja Matic in blustery conditions. Couldn’t get solid contact on a ball from Bruno Fernandes to make it 3-0 before Mason Greenwood finished the job.
Luke Shaw: 8. Had a shot saved by Ben Foster. Defensively solid and look good up his flank.
Fred: 7. Carried the ball forward but his final ball and shooting were off.
Nemanja Matic: 7. Defensively solid after early wobble.
Mason Greenwood: 7. Had early sight of goal but shot into the arms of Ben Foster, inexperience meant he didn’t always spot the runs that he should have made from the right wing. Improved his shooting in the second half, testing Foster from the right.
Bruno Fernandes: 9. Superb.Tried a lot of forward balls but his team mates not on his wavelength but he kept United driving forward, being brought down for a penalty which he converted for his first United goal and also sending a shot wide when put clear by Anthony Martial. He returned the favour in the second half and Martial converted it in style.
Daniel James: 7. Dangerous crossing throughout and a decent goal threat too. Understanding building up with Bruno Fernandes.
Anthony Martial: 8. Got stuck into the Watford defenders enthusiastically, he unselfishly passed to Bruno Fernandes for a great chance just before half time and was rewarded in the second half with great ball from Fernandes which he converted in style.
Scott McTominay (on for Fred, 79): No time to mark.
Tahith Chong (on for Mason Greenwood, 79): No time to mark.
Odion Ighalo (on for Anthony Martial, 79): No time to mark.
GOALS – Manchester United 3, Watford 0
Man Utd 1, Watford 0: 41. Bruno Fernandes was brought down by Ben Foster as he broke clear onto a Daniel James through ball. He stepped up to take the spot kick himself – skipping in the run-up Jorginho style to send Foster the wrong way.
Man Utd 2, Watford 0: 58. Great piece of skill by Anthony Martial to chip Ben Foster after Bruno Fernandes put him through. Foster blocked his first effort but the Frenchman trapped the rebound, pulled it back from Etienne Capoue, turned, and lifted it over Foster
Man Utd 3, Watford 0: 75. Mason Greenwood exchanged passed with Bruno Fernandes on the right flank before coming inside and rifling the ball into the roof of the net from 16 yards out.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United 3, Watford 0
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred (McTominay 79), Matic, Greenwood (Chong 79), Fernandes, James, Martial (Ihgalo 79)
Man Utd Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Mata, Williams
Goals: Fernandes pen 42, Martial 58, Greenwood 75
Watford: Foster, Dawson, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina, Capoue, Hughes, Pereyra (Sarr 69), Doucoure, Deulofeu (Cleverley 80), Deeney (Welbeck 76)
Watford Subs not used: Gomes, Mariappa, Chalobah, Gray
Booked: Cathcart 67 (foul on Anthony Martial)
Referee: Martin Atkinson