MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 17:53:51

Result: Manchester United end Watford's winning start to the season

Result: Man Utd end Watford's winning start
© Reuters
A quickfire first-half double from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling earn Manchester United a 2-1 win over Watford which ends the Hornets' 100% start to the season.

Manchester United recorded successive victories for the first time in the Premier League this season and ended Watford's 100% start with a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road tonight.

A quickfire first-half double from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling put the Red Devils on their way to three points which see them move level with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Andre Gray pulled one back for the previously-unbeaten Hornets midway through the second period, and Nemanja Matic saw a red card in stoppage time but it was too late to provoke a dramatic twist from Watford.

The Red Devils had a chance within two minutes but Lukaku may have been caught cold, hesitating in getting a shot away and eventually being thwarted by Ben Foster as he tried to round the Watford goalkeeper.

Foster was alert again on 13 minutes when Paul Pogba let fly on his left foot from 25 yards out, getting his body behind the effort from the Frenchman who was allowed attacking freedom by Marouane Fellaini's holding presence.

David de Gea was soon called into action at the other end, diving low to his left to gather a Will Hughes shot which was lacking power, and then pushing a Troy Deeney strike over the crossbar after Watford had gone direct to their captain.

Alexis Sanchez's frustrations in a United shirt continued when he had a goal disallowed on 24 minutes. The Chilean chested down Pogba's cross and finished emphatically on the volley only to be flagged for offside.

Watford failed to react to that warning shot as the Red Devils moved through the gears with two goals in the space of three minutes.

Fellaini was in the thick of both the goals, making a nuisance of himself in the box for Lukaku's 35th-minute opener. Young recycled the ball and crossed for the Belgian to bundle the ball past Foster with his stomach.

Smalling's finish moments later was far more stylish as he controlled Fellaini's header on his chest before swivelling and volleying past Foster from eight yards out, the defender's fourth goal in his last 12 league games.

The visitors should have been out of sight before half time but Pogba cushioned his back-post volley straight at Foster.

Watford came out fighting in the second half in the hope of trumping their comeback against Tottenham Hotspur from a fortnight ago, but their offence was a little one-dimensional and Deeney's knockdowns were ultimately fruitless.

It took a slick passing move to break down United on 65 minutes as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra combined down the left flank to set up Gray for a thumping finish into the top corner from the penalty spot.

The visitors registered only one shot on goal in the second period and were content to sit back and try to hit Watford on the counter, but Javi Gracia did not have the options on the bench to break down Jose Mourinho's side.

Determined defending from Craig Cathcart and Christian Kabasele, who made last-ditch tackles to deny Sanchez and Anthony Martial respectively, kept Watford in the game right up until the death, and Matic's second booking for wiping out Hughes gave them a little bit more hope in the final minutes.

De Gea was needed to salvage United victory with a diving save from Kabasele's header as the Red Devils extended their run of winning games in which they score the first goal to 25 league matches.

Watford's own run is over but they remain in the top four despite a first home loss since April.

WATFORD (4-4-2): Foster; Janmaat (Femenia, 72'), Kabasele, Cathcart (Success, 88'), Holebas (Masina, 84'); Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pererya; Deeney, Gray

MAN UTD (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia (Bailly, 90'), Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Lingard (Martial, 71'), Sanchez (McTominay, 84'), Lukaku

Share this article now:
Watford striker Troy Deeney celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on September 2, 2018
Read Next:
How Watford could line up against Man Utd

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account