Watford v Manchester United

Watford's Etienne Capoue

Etienne Capoue has three goals in Watford’s four league games this season


Watford forward Stefano Okaka faces a month with a hamstring injury picked up on his club debut last weekend.

Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl both face late fitness tests after picking up knocks in the same game.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw are back in the squad after being rested for the Europa League defeat in midweek.

Eric Bailly will be assessed after getting a knock in that game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is nursing a thigh problem.


Steve Bower: “These two teams go into this one on the back of contrasting emotions.

“While Manchester United are digesting a derby defeat and a lacklustre Europa League loss, Watford finally created some positive headlines under Walter Mazzarri by beating West Ham.

“The new head coach is still searching for the right formula, having already used 22 players in the league this season, but the importance of his first win and the manner of it cannot be underestimated.

“He’ll know his opposite number will be demanding a reaction at Vicarage Road.

“Rightly or wrongly, Jose Mourinho left nobody in any doubt of his opinions. If his desire to win the league in his first season is to be achieved, this is a fixture United have to be winning.”

Twitter: @SteveBowercomm


Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: “It is a new event, it is another match. It starts minute zero at 0-0 so I think it has nothing to do with the previous two matches.

“But obviously when you lose matches, the mood, the feeling, is not the same. That’s normal. But I think we are experienced players and the players are very good guys and I know they want to win and work, so that’s what we have to do.”


Manchester United will want to bounce back straight away from last weekend’s derby defeat, and I don’t think Thursday’s Europa League game against Feyenoord will distract them.

Prediction: 1-2

Lawro’s full predictions v Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
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  • Watford’s last win against Manchester United came on 16 September 1986, when Iwan Roberts scored his first senior goal in a 1-0 victory at Vicarage Road.


  • The Hornets are vying to win successive league matches for the first time in 2016.
  • They could lose three consecutive top-flight home matches for the first time since 1988. Watford have only twice lost their opening three home matches of a league season: 1990-91 and 1991-92.
  • Five different players have already scored Premier League goals for Watford this season – in 2015-16, it took until 20 December to reach that mark.
  • Walter Mazzarri has already used 22 players in the Premier League this season, spanning 18 nationalities.

Manchester United

  • Manchester United have won all four of their previous Premier League games following a home defeat in the Manchester derby.
  • The Red Devils could win their opening three Premier League away matches of a season for the first time since 1993.
  • Jose Mourinho has won all three previous matches as a manager against Watford by an aggregate score of 8-0.
  • Wayne Rooney needs one goal to become the Premier League’s outright top scorer in away matches. He is currently level with Alan Shearer on 87 goals.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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