United v Watford: Your guide to the game
Watford will provide the opposition for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first match as permanent Manchester United manager when Premier League action returns to Old Trafford on Saturday.
In our last game before the international break, the Reds lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Emirates FA Cup - a result which meant Ole experienced successive defeats for the first time since becoming caretaker boss in December, following the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the league the previous weekend.
The clash against the Hornets offers United a chance to get back to winning ways and continue the battle for a top-four spot.
Watford have been in good form themselves of late and head to Old Trafford two weeks after qualifying for the semi-finals of the FA Cup, thanks to a 2-1 win over rivals Crystal Palace. The visitors are eighth in the Premier League table, one point behind seventh-placed Wolves.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the encounter...
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE GAME?
The game kicks off at 15:00 GMT on Saturday. Subscribers to MUTV will be able to enjoy live build-up to the match from 13:30 GMT in the 'Match Day' programme, while you can also follow our coverage of the match on ManUtd.com and in the Official App, which you can download here.
WHAT IS THE TEAM NEWS?
Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial all withdrew from international duty through injury, while Romelu Lukaku was forced to do the same before Belgium’s Euro 2020 qualifiers. Jesse Lingard also missed the Three Lions' double success over the break, while Victor Lindelof didn't travel for Sweden duty. It still remains to be seen whether they will be back in time for the clash against Javi Gracia’s men.
One player who will definitely miss out is Alexis Sanchez, due to the knee problem he suffered during our 3-2 win over Southampton earlier this month. The Chilean will be joined on the sidelines by Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian who were all ruled out by Solskjaer ahead of the game.
Speaking on Friday, the boss said:
“We’ve had a very good training week. Some have been away and have come back okay.
“Alexis has just come back and there is only him who is out, along with Matteo and Antonio. Those three are out. We’ll have to check on one or two of the others.”
WHAT ABOUT WATFORD?
Hornets boss Gracia has an almost full-strength squad to pick from this weekend, as he confirmed in his press conference earlier this week.
“All the internationals came back in good condition and all are ready to play,” claimed the 48-year-old.
“[Jose] Holebas is available for the next game and Andre Gray had a small problem last week after the last game, but he’s been training all week and he’s ready.” The only man unavailable for Watford is former Reds midfielder Tom Cleverley.
“We only have Tom [injured] in this moment with a problem in his calf,” said Gracia.
“We will see his evolution next week, he has a problem. The rest of the players are available.”
HOW ARE WATFORD GETTING ON?
The Hornets are yet to take points off any of the Premier League’s top six away from home this season, but have won three out of their last five outings in all competitions. The two losses came at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City, but their victory over Crystal Palace last time out handed them a much-needed boost heading into the game at Old Trafford. Before their losses to City and Liverpool though, Watford beat Leicester City and 2-1 and Cardiff City 5-1.
WHAT'S OUR RECORD LIKE AGAINST WATFORD?
We have locked horns with the Hertfordshire outfit 31 times in the past, with Watford winning just five times. The Reds have emerged victorious in 21 of those games and have drawn five. The last meeting came back in September, when we held onto a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road despite Nemanja Matic’s sending-off late in the game. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling proved too much for Gracia’s men, and cancelled out Andre Gray's strike in the second half. United have lost only once to Watford since the inception of the Premier League, during the 2016/17 season.
WHO'S THE REFEREE?
Stuart Attwell will take charge of a United game for the fourth time this season. The last one he refereed was the 3-2 victory against Southampton in our previous home fixture earlier this month. Constantine Hatzidakis and Simon Long will be the assistants, while Anthony Taylor will be the fourth official.
The end of the international break means there is a full complement of Premier League fixtures over three days this weekend. Here's the full schedule...
SATURDAY 30 MARCH
Fulham v Manchester City (12:30 GMT)
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield
Leicester City v Bournemouth
Burnley v Wolves
Brighton v Southampton
West Ham v Everton (17:30 GMT)
SUNDAY 31 MARCH
Cardiff City v Chelsea (14:05 BST)
Liverpool v Tottenham (16:30 BST)
MONDAY 1 APRIL
Arsenal v Newcastle (20:00 BST)
All games will kick off at 15:00, unless stated otherwise. British clocks move forward one hour from GMT at 01:00 on Sunday, meaning that all kick-off times for the rest of the season from 31 March will be in British Summer Time (BST).
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