Manchester United rode the crest of the wave from Wednesday night’s late goal in Madrid, and their early pressure ought to have produced a goal, but the woodwork denied Cristiano Ronaldo with Ben Foster beaten all ends up. It was simply a procession for United in the opening stages, and when Ronaldo and Anthony Elanga combined to release Bruno Fernandes, Foster this time was to have a hand himself, sensationally denying Fernandes. The chances kept coming for United – Fernandes spurning two more glorious chances, while Ronaldo had the ball in the net only for the linesman to cut-short his celebrations and the scores remained level heading into the break.
Elanga was United’s bright spark and at the heart of everything good around their attacking play. The Swede burst through from deep to latch onto Paul Pogba’s flick, but diverted his effort just the wrong side of the post. Watford were offering precious little in an attacking sense, and it seemed inevitable the opener would fall United’s way. Ronaldo thought he had done so as the ball inadvertently hit him and rolled towards the corner, but Foster flew across the goal to smother the ball on the line. Ralf Rangnick played his cards early and threw on all his attacking options and removed both defensive midfielders in search of the opener, but Watford were still proving a tough nut to crack.
Luke Shaw’s freekick bent wide of the far post as United probed for a late winner which never arrived. The Old Trafford crowd was riled late on, as their side again faltered against lowly opposition and they made their discontent clear with a chorus of boos. Take nothing away from Watford though, who fought tooth and nail for their point which could prove to be a big one in their battle to beat the drop.
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