Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho had enjoyed a very solid start to his career as Red Devils boss. However, the first real bump in the road of the Portuguese boss’ reign came last weekend at Old Trafford, where United went down 2-1 against arch-rivals Manchester City.
However, the first real bump in the road of the Portuguese boss’ reign came last weekend at Old Trafford, where United went down 2-1 against arch-rivals Manchester City.
The defeat brought to an end Mourinho’s unbeaten run as United boss and gave City first blood in what many people perceive to be a straight fight between United and City for the Premier league title.
The City defeat was followed by a low-key 1-0 defeat at Dutch side Feyenoord in the Europa League on Thursday night after Mourinho rotated his squad.
On Sunday, Mourinho’s side face what seems like a tricky trip to Watford’s Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon.
A trip to Watford a testing one
The last two results have not sent Manchester United into crisis, do not get me wrong, but the next couple of games could be a test for Jose Mourinho and his team.
A trip to Watford would not have sounded that bad a week ago, as United had a hundred per cent record in the Premier League and the Hornets had yet to win in the top-flight this season.
However, things change very quickly in football. Last weekend’s defeat in the early Premier League kick-off was followed by a superb comeback by Watford at West Ham. Seemingly dead and buried at 2-0 down against the Hammers, the Hornets managed to not only rescue a draw but win 4-2.
The Hornets had not enjoyed the best of starts to the campaign and also finished last season with their form falling off the edge of a cliff. That poor run of form had coincided with strikers Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney going through a bit of a goal drought.
Both strikers got on the scoresheet last weekend and as Ighalo proved last season once he gets one goal they seem to come along in bunches. Now he has scored he will be a far more difficult player to play against, as his confidence is up.
French midfielder Etienne Capoue has been like a different player this season, grabbing three goals in the Premier League this season. He seems to have had a new lease of life under Walter Mazzarri and will be looking to continue his goalscoring form in this clash.
Critics questioning Pogba performances
It was never going to be easy for Paul Pogba to impress at United after his world-record move from Juventus. Unless he was pulling up trees every week then critics would say that he was not worth the massive fee and that United had wasted their money.
It seems the massive fee may be weighing the Frenchman down at the moment, as United boss Mourinho has told him to forget about the fee and just play for the Red Devils.
Pogba has looked the shadow of the player who performed so well in Italy. As many have stated he played in a three-man central midfield at Juventus, so that gave him license to maraud forward and cause damage in the opposition penalty area.
Playing in a two-man central midfield role he does not seem to be as effective, as was proven during Euro 2016 when he played in a similar role for much of the tournament. He may be classified as a central midfielder, but he is a very attack-minded player.
He is almost an attacking midfielder, although that position slightly negates the influence he can have from deep with driving runs and arriving late in the box. The Pogba conundrum is one that Mourinho needs to solve and quickly if Frenchman is to be successful at United, as Pogba can give a team so much if deployed in the right manner.
Visitors still favourites to win
The two teams fortunes may have switched in the last week or so, but Manchester United are still favourites to win this game at odds of 13/20.
The Hornets will be hoping that morale is low in the United camp, but Jose Mourinho will have his team up for this clash, as it could be an obstacle to his team getting back to winning ways.
The Manchester United dressing room is now full of big characters and it seems unlikely that the wheels will fall off the Red Devils season so early in the campaign.
They are likely to emerge with a positive result from this game and then maybe the expensively assembled squad can kick-on from there.
Will Manchester United beat Watford on Sunday?