Manchester United leapfrogged Tottenham Hotspur into fifth place in the Premier League table after a 3-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring after he was brought down by Watford keeper Ben Foster in the box, before dusting himself down and nonchalantly slotting home a 42nd minute penalty. Anthony Martial then clipped home a glorious finish just before the hour mark to give his side breathing space. Mason Greenwood completed the scoring after 74 minutes with an excellent strike to move Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s side to within three points of the Champions League places.
Fernandes notched his first goal for United in what was a classy performance from the January signing, while today’s somewhat fortunate shutout was their fifth clean sheet in their last six games in all competitions.
The Old Trafford defence really was all over the place in the opening 10 minutes, and had VAR to thank early in the second half after Troy Deeney poked home following some terrible United defending, only for the goal to be ruled out for handball.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Solksjaer switched to a back four for this one after a stodgy performance with a five-man defence against Club Brugge in the Europa League on Thursday, and his side put in a much-improved display this time around.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David de Gea, 6 — The Spaniard’s only test in the first half came when he tipped the ball around the post following a stinging Abdoulaye Doucoure effort, and had just as little to do in the second half as United dominated proceedings.
DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 6 — Should have done much better when trying to slot home after Ben Foster fumbled a Daniel James effort early on, but the former Crystal Palace man was as reliable as ever defensively.
DF Victor Lindelof, 6 — Deeney targeted the Swede as the Watford man looked to physically impose himself on the United defence, but the centre-half dealt well with the threat and had a steady game.
DF Harry Maguire, 6 — Played his way into trouble a couple of times early on, but settled into the game, and almost added his name to the score sheet for the second time in a week but glanced a header wide after 67 minutes.
DF Luke Shaw, 7 — Excellent defending denied Deeney a near-certain goal in the opening three minutes, and the 24-year-old anticipated danger very well throughout, whilst also providing an option on the overlap.
MF Fred, 6 — The Brazilian was erratic in possession, and put his side in danger on more than one occasion when under pressure from the Watford press. Had a big chance to score what would have been just his second goal for the club, but blasted over from 18 yards with the entire goal to aim at. Replaced after 80 minutes by Scott McTominay.
MF Nemanja Matic, 6 — Played in his part in a defensive mix-up that nearly gifted Watford an early lead, but found his feet soon after and looked the more controlled of United’s double pivot at the base of midfield.
MF Bruno Fernandes, 8 — Has a touch of elegance about him when he glides across the pitch, and the Portuguese won his side a penalty when he beat Foster to a loose ball, before a Jorginho-esque penalty sent the Watford keeper the wrong way to put his side ahead. He wasn’t done there, and provided Greenwood with a perfectly weighted pass for the youngster to blast home United’s third.
FW Mason Greenwood, 7 — Drifted in and out of the game, but forced a couple of decent saves from the keeper, before firing home an unstoppable finish off the woodwork from just inside the penalty area to add some gloss to the score line in the 75th minute, before being replaced by Tahith Chong shortly after.
FW Daniel James, 6 — Had plenty of opportunities to cut in on his right foot and make something happen in the first half, but the Welshman was often wayward with his final product, but looked a real threat in the second half when picking up central pockets of space and driving at the visiting defence.
FW Anthony Martial, 7 — The Frenchman had a frustrating first half in which decision making and end product let him down, but he made amends in the 60th minute when he showed brilliant composure to work some space before delightfully clipping the ball over Foster to make the points safe. Replaced for the final ten minutes by Odion Ighalo.
Scott McTominay, N/A — Slotted into midfield and kept things ticking over in what was his first appearance since Boxing Day.
Tahith Chong, N/A — Cut inside and fired just wide in the 89th minute.
Odion Ighalo, N/A — Denied a dream goal when he rounded the keeper and hit the post from a tight angle.