Watford 2-4 Man Utd: Ashley Young scores two superb goals in away win
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 29/11/17 8:03am
Ashley Young scored two superb goals before Manchester United held off a second-half Watford fightback to win 4-2 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League.
Young gave United the lead against the run of play with a fine half volley from 20 yards (19), before the former Watford midfielder struck again, this time a superb 25-yard free-kick into the top left corner (25).
It was 3-0 minutes later through Anthony Martial's stroked finish, but United stepped off the gas in the second half, allowing Troy Deeney to pull one back from the penalty spot (77).
Watford: Gomes (7), Kiko Femenia (6), Prodl (5), Mariappa (5), Kabasele (5), Zeegelaar (6), Cleverley (5), Doucoure (6), Hughes (5), Gray (5), Richarlison (6)
Subs: Pereyra (6), Carrillo (6), Deeney (6)
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Valencia (6), Lindelof (7), Rojo (6), Smalling (6), Young (8), Pogba (6), Matic (5), Lingard (7), Lukaku (5), Martial (6)
Subs: Herrera (5), Rashford (5), Ibrahimovic (NA)
Man of the match: Ashley Young
Abdoulaye Doucoure poked home (84) to seemingly make for a nervy ending, but Jesse Lingard's solo strike (86), a contender for goal of the season so far, made sure of the three points.
The result means United have closed the gap to leaders Man City to five points before their clash with Southampton on Wednesday. Watford stay eighth, two points off the top six.
Young opened the scoring with a fierce snapshot on the half volley from the edge of the box from Lingard's pass, the ball flying into the bottom corner past Heurelho Gomes.
Jose Mourinho made two changes from the side that beat Brighton on Saturday; Lingard came in for Rashford, and United opted for an extra defender as Rojo replaced Mata. There was just the one change for the hosts as Prodl replaced Britos in defence.
Young, who played at Vicarage Road between 2003 and 2007, then struck an outstanding 25-yard free-kick into the top left corner to give United what earlier seemed an unlikely two-goal lead.
Martial made it 3-0, latching onto Romelu Lukaku's through ball and stroking low past Gomes from inside the box, and it should have been four before the break but for Gomes' world class double save, first from Lukaku's long-range effort, and then more impressively from Lingard's close-range follow up.
Richarlison's header hit the bar on the stroke of half-time, while Lukaku fluffed a clear chance in the second half from point-blank range, and then struck just wide from an acute angle.
Watford were given a route back into the game as Marcos Rojo upended Roberto Pereyra near the byline, allowing sub Deeney to score from the spot, and it looked as though we were in for a nervy finish as Doucoure directed a first-time effort past David de Gea from 15 yards with six minutes remaining.
But Lingard sealed the win two minutes later, picking the ball up inside his own half and brilliantly skipping past three Watford challenges before slotting low past Gomes.
- Manchester United have won eight of their nine Premier League games against Watford (L1), scoring at least two goals on seven occasions.
- United have scored 32 goals and conceded just eight in the Premier League this term - their goal difference of +24 is their best at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 2000/01 when they won the title (+26).
- Ashley Young scored his first Premier League double at Vicarage Road since October 2006, while playing for Watford as a 21-year-old (v Fulham).
- Anthony Martial has scored eight goals in all competitions for Manchester United this term (20th appearance); already equalling his tally from the whole of last season (eight in 42).
Marco Silva: "We scored the first goal from a penalty and for me in that moment it was a second yellow card for Marcos Rojo, with 11 against 10 it would be really difficult for them.
"We made it difficult for them because we scored the second goal. Imagine if it was 11 v 10 at that moment. We started to create more problems for them, but then one counter attack from them and we should do different in that moment."
Jose Mourinho: "I prefer to forget the five minutes where we conceded the goals and lost concentration, I prefer to focus on all the good things we did. We were in control and really dangerous in attacking situations. To play away from home and score four goals is really good.
"It's a good lesson [for the players], and it's good to have lessons without losing points. Maybe next time we are winning 2-0 or 3-0 the players will remember."
Man of the match - Ashley Young
The Hertfordshire-born Young has enjoyed something of a second coming under Jose Mourinho, but his role at left wing-back is not just restricted to repeatedly running the line.
His first goal came out of nowhere, a snapshot from 20 yards which caught Gomes off guard, and his second was a pinpoint free-kick from range.
He did his defensive work too, something Mourinho has repeatedly praised the 32-year-old for, and Young has proven in recent weeks that he has plenty to give as United chase the title.
The pundit - Kevin Nolan on Soccer Special
"In the first 20 to 25 minutes Watford looked the more likely side, but there were three moments of magic from Manchester United. At 3-0 down, Marco Silva was sitting on the bench stunned. In the second half, United never found the quality and Romelu Lukaku seems to be lacking confidence around the goal area."
Manchester United now travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Saturday at 5.30pm, before hosting CSKA Moscow in their final Champions League group clash on Tuesday. Watford host Tottenham on Saturday at 3pm.
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