Bruno Fernandes stood out once again as Manchester United coasted to a 3-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
It was a slow start to the game for Manchester United, who struggled to break Watford down and were fortunate to not trail within the first quarter of the game. After slowly finding their feet, the deadlock was broken with three minutes left in the first half, as Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot after being brought down inside the Watford box by Ben Foster.
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Foster and the Watford defence were to blame, as Anthony Martial doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 58th minute. The win was rounded off when Mason Greenwood produced a thunderous strike with 15 minutes to go. The result took Manchester United up to fifth on the table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 7/10
There was not an awful lot that de Gea had to do on Sunday, but he was equal to whatever Watford threw at him on the rare occasion. One of his two saves was an important stop, denying Abdoulaye Doucoure a goal on his near post. This was also one of those days when his distribution was on point for the most part and he started the move that led to Anthony Martial’s goal. Efficient.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7/10
Wan-Bissaka, like a few of his teammates, was a little slow off the blocks and was to be blamed when Doucoure got a sight at goal. However, bar that early error, the Englishman was sound on the defensive front, negating the influence of Gerard Deulofeu completely. However, he should have done much better when taking aim at goal in the first half.
Victor Lindelof: 7/10
Lindelof, too, was a bit nervy to begin with, as Troy Deeney looked to target him. However, the Watford captain was unable to win the duel between him and the Swede, who was nearly faultless once he found his feet. One of those at fault when Deeney scored the goal that was disallowed, but no harm done in the end.
Harry Maguire: 8/10
A top class effort by Maguire, who was crucial in ensuring that Manchester United added the element of discipline when Watford looked to take the game to them. On an individual level as well, the Manchester United captain was on song, winning each of the tackles he attempted while also completing 5 interceptions and 6 recoveries. In fine touch.
Luke Shaw: 8/10
Shaw, like Maguire, continued his superb run of form, starting with a crucial block early on, which kept the game at 0-0. Carried a great deal of threat going forward while in the defensive phase, Shaw was clinical, making as many as 8 recoveries in addition to 5 clearances and 3 interceptions. Excellent in the build-up to Martial’s goal. Consistently performing at a high level of late.
A game of hits and misses for Fred, although the positives outweighed the negatives. The down point of his performance against Watford was his sloppiness on the ball in the first half. However, Fred completed more passes (57), made more ball recoveries (12) and won more tackles (6) than any other player on the pitch managed in the 80 minutes he played. Solid, once again.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
A solid effort by Matic, who glided on the pitch at times, keeping things simple and linking up well with Bruno Fernandes. A few early hiccups threatened to bring Watford into the game, but Matic soon assumed control and ensured that Manchester United were hardly troubled as the game went on.
Mason Greenwood: 8/10
Back into the side after recovering from illness, Greenwood was slow off the blocks. However, once he settled in, he showed exactly why he is so revered. Also put in a shift defensively, winning each of the three tackles he attempted.
Capped off a strong performance by rounding off the win with a thunderbolt of a finish, having started the move for the goal as well, before collecting the ball back from Bruno Fernandes. Now up to 5 Premier League goals this season.
Bruno Fernandes: 9/10
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Watford:
100% take-ons completed
100% tackles won
71% pass accuracy
5 open play crosses
4 chances created
3 take-ons completed
3 fouls won
1 penalty won
He’s arrived. 💥 pic.twitter.com/ubk85TbcjR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 23, 2020
For a third Premier League game running, Fernandes was a class apart for Manchester United. In a league of his own, the Portuguese midfielder constantly looked to find pockets of spaces and was always in search of forward passing options.
Fernandes put in 5 crosses, created a game-high 4 chances, including the ones that led to Martial and Greenwood’s goals. The cherry on top, though, was his goal from the spot after winning the penalty – the first time Fernandes has found the back of the net for Manchester United. Such a game changer.
Daniel James: 7/10
Unlikely to be pointed out a lot, but James worked extremely hard all through the game to ensure Manchester United posed a constant threat in the final third. His driving runs always had the Watford defenders back-pedaling and stitched some fine passes. Slowly getting back into the groove and the presence of Fernandes is surely helping.
Anthony Martial: 7/10
Martial continued his fine scoring run on Sunday. Although he was not always at his best, the Frenchman delivered when it mattered, showing tremendous awareness to chip the ball over former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster to score, after he had turned Etienne Capoue inside out.
A finish of the highest quality by Martial, who is now up to 10 Premier League goals for the season and is showing superb synergy with Fernandes. On course for his most productive campaign in Manchester United colours.
Scott McTominay: N/A
On for Fred, McTominay made his long-awaited return to the team and eased his way back to top sharpness. Looked in decent touch. Should soon be starting games again.
Tahith Chong: N/A
Looked like a man who wanted to prove a point after replacing Greenwood and came within inches of scoring his first Premier League goal.
Odion Ighalo: N/A
Like Chong, Ighalo came close to finding the back of the net. But, after rounding Foster, the former Watford striker could not apply the finishing touches from a tight angle.