Watford 4, Manchester United 1
Apologies for the away fans may not be enough to save Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this time as his Manchester United side went down 4-1 at Watford.Embed from Getty Images
There was no famous away day fightback for the Reds who capitulated after captain Harry Maguire was sent off in the second half and should have been even deeper in the mire earlier on after David De Gea saved early two Watford penalties.
Despite missing the penalties, an energised Watford took the lead through Josh King and Ismaila Sarr before Donny van de Beek pulled one back.
But despite having a Cristiano Ronaldo goal ruled out for a clear offside United never recovered from the loss of Maguire and chasing the equaliser cost them two injury time goals by Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis as the Manchester United crisis continued.
United have de Gea to thank for the scoreline not being worse than it was on the day and the Reds keeper bemoaned his defence not knowing what to do with the ball after the game in a post match interview.
The result meant United slipped down to 7th place in the Premier League table but they now have just one win in seven games in the league – a return of just 4 points from the last 21 available.
United had started with three changes from the side that were comprehensively outplayed by City before the international break.
Manchester United fail to cope with aggressive Watford pressing as they fall to defeat at Vicarage Road with Harry Maguire sent off
Eric Bailly, Fred, and Mason Greenwood were replaced by Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, and Marcus Rashford as Solskjaer reverted back to a flat back four with Nemanja Matic shielding the defence along with McTominay.
They may feel they got a lucky break after an early penalty award against them but nothing went right for the Reds after that as they faded badly against a very aggressive Watford side.
McTominay brought down Josh King and David de Gea saved from Sarr twice – the first time saw Kiko Femenia tap in the rebound from Ismaila Sarr’s spot kick but a VAR check resulted in a retake due to encroachment which the winger sent the same way only for De Gea to save it again.
De Gea might have saved United early on but the Reds had themselves to blame after they went 2-0 down before half time through goals by King, from a pass by Emmanuel Dennis, before Sarr atoned for his earlier penalty aberrations by doubling that lead.
United were stunned and changes had to be made.
Donny van de Beek was introduced at half time and immediately pulled one back with a 50th minute header from Ronaldo’s flick-on of Sancho’s cross.
But the task became much harder when Maguire was sent off after 69 minutes for a second bookable offence in the space of seven minutes after a needless foul on Tom Cleverley – he will now miss the game at Chelsea next weekend.
It was also embarrassing for the United captain who had cupped his ears after scoring the first of two goals in a response to his recent performances against City and Liverpool while on international duty with England last week.
Even down to ten men it looked like United might get an unlikely equaliser when van de Beek found Ronaldo but his finish was ruled out for offside with 13 minutes to go.
Instead, Joao Pedro hammered the ball past De Gea in injury time to end any hope the Reds had of a late comeback before Dennis quadrupled the misery with a 96th minute fourth goal for the Hornets right at the end of the game after a simple long ball up to the Watford man allowed him plenty of time to pick his spot.
MATCH STATS – Watford 4, Manchester United 1
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Nkoulou (Troost-Ekong 64), Masina, Sissoko, Sarr (Suarez 68), Louza (Pedro 77), Cleverley, Dennis, King
Watford subs not used: Bachmann, Ngakia, Rose, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan
Booked: Louza, Dennis
Goals: King 28; Sarr 44; Pedro 90+2; Dennis 90+6
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Dalot 85), McTominay (van de Beek 46), Matic, Sancho (Lingard 90+1), Fernandes, Rashford (Martial 46), Ronaldo
Man Utd subs not used: Heaton, Bailly, Mata, Fred, Telles
Booked: Maguire, McTominay
Sent off: Maguire 69 (second booking)
Referee: Jonathan Moss