Watford v Manchester United, Saturday 15th September, 17:30
It’s been an excellent start to the season by Watford who along with Liverpool and Chelsea have maintained a 100% record. Manchester United got back on track with a 2-0 success at Burnley but with confidence surging amongst the Hornets camp, the hosts will fancy claiming another prize scalp, as they did in beating Spurs prior to the international break.
That result means Watford are W7-D2-L1 at Vicarage Road under Javi Gracia, which started with a 4-1 victory over Chelsea. Burnley have had a torrid start to the season, so we won’t read too much into United’s result there and instead their visit to Brighton previously is more comparable to the task at hand here.
The Seagulls are strong side at home and United’s defence was bullied by 34-year-old Glenn Murray that day, so an even more physical and hungry-again Troy Deeney could prove to be a handful. The Englishman has been hugely effective in tandem with Andre Gray this season and they’ll no doubt fancy their chances against this Red Devils rearguard. Mourinho’s men have won just four of their last nine away games so the hosts look excellent value on the handicap.
The best bet of this game though is Over 2.5 Goals.* With Watford playing two up front and Roberto Pereyra starting the season on fire, they’re a handful going forward. Only Man City and Chelsea have scored more goals than them, but three of their four wins have come despite conceding. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez should get some joy going the other way and indeed, 11 of the Hornets 13 home matches hosting the Big Six since 2016/17 have yielded at least three goals, with both teams scoring in 10.
A clean sheet against a struggling Burnley doesn’t pave over the cracks of Mourinho’s defence. Their last three fixtures have all had different centre-back pairings and arguably their best player this term – Luke Shaw – got injured on international duty.
They’ve kept just five clean sheets in their last 17 on the road and they’ve conceded the first goal in six of the last nine of these. Deeney enjoys proving a point against the big guns, netting four goals in his last five matches against the Big Six at Vicarage Road, so looks a massive price to strike first.
*all odds are subject to change