A dogged Watford performance saw a wasteful Manchester United held at Old Trafford as they failed to take their chances. Three shots on target at home, up against a team in the relegation zone is not acceptable to the board and fans and leaves the club in a position where the top four could start slipping from their grasp.
Wasteful Manchester United Held at Home by Watford
Lack of Cutting Edge
Anthony Elanga was rewarded for his goal in Madrid with a starting place and was bright throughout the game. He was direct and linked up well with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes although he missed a huge chance towards the end of the game. Alex Telles came into the side and his assist was chalked off as Ronaldo put the ball back in the net from an offside position. Bruno Fernandes had an array of chances but failed to put any of them away. Ronaldo was left frustrated as he showed a lack of cutting edge in front of goal. It is a certainty that United will go into the transfer market this summer for an out-and-out number 9 and this is an absolute necessity based on the current season.
Rangnick Not to Blame
Ralf Rangnick selected a team which should have got over the line as the football was generally good. Rangnick can not take the blame for the result as he had set up the team to attack which they did but a combination of profligacy and watefulness meant they couldn’t take all three points.
Tame But Defiant Watford
Watford failed to show any attacking endeavour in the game and were extremely reserved which considering their position in the table was not surprising. Roy Hodgson will know that he got away lightly but will be happy to have gained another point as he seeks to steer Watford away from the relegation zone. Despite luck being on Watford’s side they did show a resilience that has often been lacking and for that they do deserve at least some credit.
The difference between United and the other teams battling for top four is that they are failing to grind out results when thighs don’t go their way. Arsenal currently look to be the main contenders who will challenge United for the fourth spot and with three games in hand and just two points behind the Old Trafford club they have fourth place in their own hands leaving United needing maximum points from these types of games if they are to stay in the race. They face the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and will travel to the Emirates before the season ends. The top four is not over for United by any means but they must prove to be more clinical in the final third.
It is safe to say the battle for top four will go down to the wire and United cannot afford to slip up again. They must ensure they take some points from the City and Liverpool fixtures and hope Arsenal fail to win their three games in hand. This could potentially set up a interesting clash at the Emirates where the winner of that fixture will have a huge advantage in the top four race.
Main Image Credit Embed from Getty Images