Watford won't be intimidated by Sunday's trip to Old Trafford having already beaten Manchester United once this season. The Hornets won 2-0 at Vicarage Road back in December, but Nigel Pearson's team is still not free from the threat of relegation from the Premier League.
Just one point separates Watford from safety, while United are three short in the race for the top four and a guaranteed place in next season's UEFA Champions League.
The Red Devils boosted their qualification hopes with a 2-0 win away to Chelsea last time out and could welcome midfield terrier Scott McTominay back into the squad following injury.
United can at least count on the pace and power of Anthony Martial up front. The Frenchman has scored in his last two games in all competitions, while former Watford frontman Odion Ighalo could be in line for a home debut after joining the Reds on loan in January.
Date: Sunday, February 23
Time: 2 p.m. GMT/9 a.m. ET
TV Info: NBCSN
Live Stream: NBC Sports Gold
- United: -165 (bet $165 to win $100)
- Watford: +500 (bet $100 to win $500)
- Draw: +285
Odds per Caesars Palace
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has outlined his intention to rotate following Thursday's 1-1 draw away to Club Brugge in the UEFA Europa League:
One player likely to start is Bruno Fernandes, who enjoyed an impressive 15-minute cameo in Belgium. United's £47 million January signing showed an appetite for taking shots on, as well as the vision and technique to unlock a defence with a wide range of through passes.
Those qualities have been missing while Paul Pogba has remained on the shelf. Andreas Pereira has struggled to fill the creative void, while Juan Mata has been in and out of the lineup too often, only completing 90 minutes in the league twice since the turn of the year.
More than a lack of guile, United's playmakers have suffered from not having a secure platform behind them. Breaking up play and shielding the defence is a job McTominay does well, but the 23-year-old has missed two months with a knee problem.
Even so, Solskjaer sounds confident the Scotland international can at least make Sunday's squad:
United will need some brawn in the middle of the park to help deal with Watford powerhouse Abdoulaye Doucoure. He's been revitalised since Pearson moved him into a more advanced role, scoring three times and providing an assist so far in 2020.
Doucoure's runs from deep support the strength of target man Troy Deeney and the pace and artistry of Gerard Deulofeu. Deeney was on the scoresheet during the home win over United, and Watford have the talent in the final third to spring another upset.
United have been inconsistent on home soil, having drawn 0-0 with Wolverhampton Wanderers and lost 2-0 to Burnley in their previous two league encounters at Old Trafford.
There are reasons for Pearson to be confident, but Martial, Fernandes and Ighalo give the Red Devils enough quality to edge a close-fought contest.