Man Utd down Watford to go fifth

Juan Mata celebrates with Anthony Martial after giving Manchester United the lead against Watford
Pics: Man Utd

Manchester United moved one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City as Anthony Martial marked his return with a goal and an assist in a victory over Watford.

The Red Devils have now won 2000 Premier League points more than any other club in the history of the top division.

United, now unbeaten in their past 16 Premier League games, took the lead when Martial set up Juan Mata to finish from close range.

Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes then made fine saves to deny Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But Martial made sure United signed off with a victory in their final league game for three weeks when he fired home after a driving run.

-United sign off in style-

This was a hugely satisfactory day for United, who secured a routine win to maintain their push for a top-four finish.

And Jose Mourinho could have his first major silverware as Red Devils manager by the time they play their next league game, against Bournemouth on 4 March.

After home and away matches against Saint-Etienne in the Europa League, which sandwich an FA Cup visit to Blackburn, United face Southampton in the EFL Cup final on 26 February.

And picking his team for Wembley could prove a difficult job for Mourinho.

Martial did everything asked of him on his return in place of Marcus Rashford, while Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick were unused substitutes.

-Watford undone by slick hosts-

The Hornets arrived at Old Trafford having won back-to-back league games, which included a victory at title hopefuls Arsenal

And Walter Mazzarri’s side started brightly, pushing forward with pace and creating chances.

Yet United would have been out of sight but for Gomes – the Watford keeper at his best to deny Pogba and Ibrahimovic before the interval.

Pogba’s first-time shot was parried by Gomes’ strong hand, while Ibrahimovic was left scratching his head after the Brazilian kept out his close-range header moments before Mata broke the deadlock.

It was by no means a quiet day for United counterpart David de Gea. At 1-0, the Spaniard produced a spectacular stop to keep out Mauro Zarate’s free-kick.

And it could have been a different story had Jose Holebas’ thunderous effort hit the target instead of falling narrowly wide when the game was goalless.

BBC Sport

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