Man Utd 2-0 Watford: Juan Mata and Anthony Martial goals help hosts to comfortable win
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 12/02/17 7:31am
Goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Watford and extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 16 games.
The hosts peppered Watford's goal in the first half but only had a 1-0 lead to show for it at the break, coming through Mata's sweeping finish from close range via Martial's cross.
Martial doubled United's lead on the hour mark, firing into the bottom left corner from 10 yards after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's touch set him free into the area.
The result means United are a point off the top four with 13 games remaining, while Watford are 12th, 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
Martial was reintroduced to the starting XI at the expense of Marcus Rashford and Daley Blind came in for Marcos Rojo, while Miguel Britos came in for Valon Behrami for Watford.
In the week, Martial rubbished stories suggesting he is looking to quit the club in the summer, having spent a lot of time on the United bench this season, while manager Jose Mourinho has previously urged the 21-year-old to improve his form if he wants more playing time.
United dominated the first half, but went into the break with a paltry return for their superiority.
Ibrahimovic fluffed two half-chances inside the area early on, before Martial's deflected effort went just wide of Heurelho Gomes' right-hand post.
Jose Holebas went close with a fizzing long-range effort on 20 minutes, while at the other end, Gomes beat away Paul Pogba's effort from 20 yards as United stepped up the gears.
Gomes superbly tipped away Pogba's first-time effort from 15 yards from an Antonio Valencia cross, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have done better from 20 yards as the ball fell kindly to him from Mata's ball.
Gomes then saved an Ibrahimovic header from point-blank range, moments before United finally took the lead through the outstanding Mata.
After a fine team move, Mata swept home Martial's cross from the left byline for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Mauro Zarate forced a fine save out of David de Gea with a free-kick after the break, but United continued with wave after wave of sweeping attacks, and got their second on the hour mark.
After Ibrahimovic's flick in-behind the defence found Martial just onside, the Frenchman edged into the area and slotted into the bottom left corner.
Watford finally pushed forward in the last 20 minutes, with substitute Daryl Janmaat missing at the far post from M'Baye Niang's fine ball, while Mkhitaryan forced Gomes into a fine save down low as Ibrahimovic fed him in the box.
United had to settle for the two goals, but it could have been much more for the hosts, who nevertheless thoroughly entertained the home fans.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Valencia (6), Bailly (7), Smalling (6), Blind (6), Herrera (6), Pogba (6), Mata (8), Mkhitaryan (7), Martial (7), Ibrahimovic (6)
Subs used: Fellaini (6), Lingard (NA), Rashford (NA)
Watford: Gomes (7); Cathcart (5), Kaboul (5), Prodl (5), Britos (5); Cleverley (5), Capoue (5); Niang (6), Zarate (5), Holebas (5); Deeney (6)
Subs used: Janmaat (6), Success (NA), Okaka (NA)
Man of the match: Juan Mata