Premier League relegation: Who will go down in 2019/20?

With the Premier League back that means all things can now be tied up including the title itself, European places and of course relegation. There was some brief talk of declaring the season null and void, which would have avoided all of this and something that the relegation threatened teams may have welcomed. However with football here to stay the excitement and nervousness will draw in. Let’s take a look at the teams who are and could be heading for relegation:

Norwich are of course bottom of the league and have 21 points. They are 6 points from safety but it only takes one of those teams to push on to put the Canaries in grave danger. They do have 24 points to play for but they would probably have to win 18 of those points to have any chance of staying up. Losing 3-0 at home to Southampton in their last game has not helped their cause.

The club will play Everton tonight which will be a tough game and that will be followed by an away match at Arsenal. There are also games against Chelsea and Manchester City in the mix and we would conclude that Norwich will be going down this season.

Norwich predicted total points: 26

Aston Villa have just come up this season but Dean Smith’s side have struggled at times and could be going straight back down. That isn’t to say that the club haven’t shown some quality but they certainly have looked out of their depth sometimes and simply have not been able to find enough consistency.

Villa have lost 18 games this season including 4 of their last 5 matches and have yet to win since the restart, drawing against Sheffield United and losing against Chelsea.

However the club do have 26 points and are just one point from safety, a run of 2-3 wins could make all the difference. But where are they going to get those points? Villa’s next 3 fixtures are against Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester United. They also have to play tough games against Arsenal and Everton and in the last day of the season they will play West Ham it what could well end up being a finale clash to see who goes down between them. But there is no doubting that Villa have a very hard run in.

Aston Villa predicted total points: 31

Bournemouth are currently in 18th place and holding that final position to go down. But the good news for the club is that safety is just goal difference away as they have 27 points the same as West Ham.

The bad news is some of the games still left for them which includes playing both Manchester teams, Everton, Tottenham and Leicester, with teams going for European spots that looks like being a very tough run in.

Bournemouth total predicted points: 33

Maybe it’s because West Ham moved into their new stadium- the Olympic stadium, maybe it’s because they made the bizarre decision to reappoint David Moyes as manager. But anyhow many eyes are on the London club, who really should be in a better position than they are and fighting for mid table not relegation. But the club look badly run, and if they do go down it feels like quite a lot of football followers would find that hilarious.

The Hammers currently would be safe as they are in 17th place. The problem is that is only on goal difference. There is also only one club above them that they could catch as gaps are starting to appear. They have lost their first two games since the restart against Wolves and Tottenham.

The club do seem to have an easier run in than the other relegation threatened teams but will still have to face Chelsea and Manchester United who are competing for European places so those games won’t be easy.

West Ham total predicted points: 38

Watford are in 16th but are right there in the mix and perhaps the last of the teams who could be threatened with relegation. Since the restart they have played just one game which they drew against Leicester, that match ending 1-1.

Currently they have 28 points so could easily get sucked into a battle. They have some tough fixtures having to play Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. Though a couple of those games are towards the end of the season where if matters have been settled those clubs may not play their strongest sides.

Watford total predicted points: 34

Let’s take a glance at the predicted final table at the bottom of the league based on our predictions above.

16th: West Ham 38

17th: Watford     34

18th: Bournemouth 33

19th: Aston Villa  31

20th: Norwich      26

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Liverpool finally lose in what has been a tough week for the European champions

It took 44 league games but Liverpool have finally been beaten in the Premier League. Not many people would have predicted that it would be Watford who were in 19th place that would inflict Liverpool’s first defeat since January 2019.

It has been a miserable few days for Liverpool who not only lost in the league but were then knocked out of the FA Cup last night against Chelsea going down 2-0. So they have let in 5 goals in two matches and manager Jurgen Klopp will be concerned. Next up they will play Bournemouth at home and if they were to drop points in that game Klopp will need to be afraid. After that they have a mammoth task of trying to overcome Atletico Madrid in the 2nd leg of their Champions League game. The Spanish side hold a 1-0 lead, though that 2nd leg is at Anfield and every follower of football knows that Anfield is quite a daunting place for any side on a European night.

Liverpool of course have been fantastic this season, and have been actually for the past two years now. But no one can deny the fact that this has been a bad period for the club. One such person who did seem to be in denial was Klopp, coming out with words like ”not really” in suggestion that the clubs form had slipped. Was he hurting inside really? Only time and a biography will answer that one. But the whole of the team must have been devastated at finally losing a game. The objective of winning the league is more or less done, being 22 points in the lead. At best the gap could be cut with a loss of form, but Liverpool could still easily win the league and do it by 10 points clear in the end anyway.

The objective was too remain undefeated for the season. No one was publicly saying it but of course it was. Liverpool would have become only the 3rd team in the history of the top tier in England to have done it, and they were so close too. In defeat to Watford they also lost out on beating the all time English record for most wins in a row. With 18 they needed one more, but alas that went too.

If Liverpool do go out of the Champions League- as champions it would be a blow, but let’s be honest this season was all about winning the league title for the first time since 1990, and that objective is streets ahead and well on target. But what one senses with the club now is what has happened to super giants like PSG and Bayern in the last few seasons who have gone unbeaten for six months, only to lose 1 game and have the season unravel to a damp squib by the end of it.

The fact that it has been so long since Liverpool won the league title will be their saving grace this year though, it really is all that matters to the club, city and fans.

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Man Utd 3-0 Watford: The Reds Devils move up to fifth place as Bruno Fernandes shines once again

After seeing the likes of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur drop crucial points on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United went on to beat Nigel Pearson’s Watford in what was quite the comfortable and straightforward victory at Old Trafford on a Sunday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, the main thoughts on a United point of view was if they can taken the advantage for once from the results of the other teams above them, as they have failed to do so on many occasions throughout the season and it is why they are currently not in the top four positions. Meanwhile, for Watford, who still remain in the relegation zone and just a point away from safety, the questions were if they could pull off an upset against a big side or would their poor run continue.

Looking at it as a whole, the hosts had unsurprisingly dominated possession from start to end, along with creating a couple of clear-cut chances and completing just under 10 shots on target. Although it took the side some time to get into the game, with the visitors pressing high up the pitch and causing a number of problems, they were able to play on the front foot after the half hour period.

With the crucial goals coming from the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, the side were able to work on their inconsistent home form and show to the neutral supporters that the race for a top four finish is not over anytime soon. And the side should have had a fourth goal here and there, but Daniel James was sadly not convincing enough in front of goal.

On the other hand, the Hornets posed a decent threat through a few set pieces and on the counter-attack, with a goal from Troy Deeney being harshly ruled out due to an apparent handball from Craig Dawson. Watford will want to work on their performances and decision making in the final third of the pitch, as they did not create a single chance and ended the game with just four shots completed.

In the end, United made the advantage count and picked up the much needed win, allowing them to move above Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United into fifth place. And for Nigel Pearson’s Watford, there will be a huge amount of concerns and fears on what is in store for them for the rest of the season, as they still need to face the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

Here are the three things we learnt in United’s latest league fixture…

Bruno Fernandes completes another perfect performance

Completing one goal and one assist in his third league game for Manchester United, it just feels like Bruno Fernandes has been playing in the Premier League and at Old Trafford for a number of years. Once again, he has shown the capability that he can play in many areas and is able to be seen as the heartbeat of the side’s attack, as he continues to show his intelligence and class on and off the ball.

As long as the movement and pace are up there in the final third of the pitch, he is able to create the clear-cut chances that the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are always looking for. With Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba still remaining on the sidelines and are not expected to return from injury anytime soon, Solskjaer along with the squad are blessed with an individual that they can depend and rely on, who is able to create something out of nothing and is also quite a vocal leader.

The Red Devils produce the ideal result and performance after a long time

It’s been a long time since United have been able to match the three points along with a convincing performance and a number of goals. The last time they completed that, was against Norwich in the second week of January, which still feels like a long time ago for a side that wants to reach Champions League football and start challenging for the league title once again. Despite the lack of quality and squad depth, the team are making small steps of progress, whether it can be seen or not.

Having won back-to-back league games for the third time this campaign, the side’s consistency and effectiveness on both sides of the pitch is starting to show its rewards, as they once looked close to finishing in the middle of the league but are now a couple of points behind fourth-place Chelsea. With the side yet to reach their peak and are still missing a few key individuals within the line-up, who knows what the squad are capable of achieving if they all have the same winning mindset.

Can Solskjaer do the unthinkable and guide the team to a top four finish?

For sure, the side’s chances of finishing in the top four does look slim, especially when you consider the difficult run of games United still have and how they are also busy with the Europa League fixtures. However, if the results in the remaining league matches go in their favour and they are able to pick up maximum points from now till the end, anything can really happen in the Premier League.

The victory against Watford makes it their 11th league win of the season, with only the four teams above United that have won more games than them so far this campaign. And given the situation that the noisy neighbours Manchester City have found themselves in with the UEFA, with them receiving a two-year ban from Champions League football, it could potentially mean that if Solskjaer’s Manchester United were to finish in fifth-place, they could actually qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Premier League: Best 11 Players from the Weekend

The winter break has meant that games are now being staggered across the Premier League which means every team will end up, at one stage, getting at least 2 weeks off. This weekend then there was just 4 games to be played. However bad weather conditions meant that the most anticipated match between Manchester City and West Ham had to be called off.

So only 3 Premier League games took place this weekend and there were nice wins for Everton and Sheffield United who have put the heat on Chelsea to try and stake what many would believe is a shock claim for a top 4 spot. Can both clubs find a nice run of consistency? It might be all it takes.

Below then we take a look at the best players from this weekend, having to select from just the 3 games that were eventually played. Did any of your players play this weekend? And how many points did they get? Let’s take a look.

Formation: 4-4-2:

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster- Watford 0pts

Because of the lack of games and the fact that every goalkeeper conceded this weekend we have ended up with a bizarre situation where the best goalkeeper in the league ends up with zero points. That’s because some dipped into the minus points. Foster conceded as Watford drew with Brighton 1-1, away from home which was a decent result for them and Foster made some very good saves to help earn a point.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 0pts

Yerry Mina played the whole game and conceded a goal which jumped him back down to zero points. Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and Mina now has a total of 19 points.

Defender: Michael Keane- Everton 0pts

Michael Keane hasn’t started many games for Everton but he put in a decent shift in the game even if he couldn’t earn any points this weekend, conceding just 1 goal but his team won anyway.

Defender: Shane Duffy- Brighton 0pts

Shane Duffy played a good game as Brighton drew 1-1 with Watford. He is a bargain at just 1.5m and has earned 12 points the majority of those in the last few weeks,

Defender: Craig Cathcart- Watford 0pts

Watford got a decent result at Brighton with the game ending 1-1 and that was a valued point earned away from home. Cathcart has 21 points and is ranked as Watford’s 2nd best defender so far this season.

Midfielder: John Lundstram- Sheffield United 4pts

Points earned! John Lundstram scored for Sheffield United as they won a vital game 2-1 over Bournemouth who were threatening to take a point from them and the win has sent the Blades into 5th place.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure-Watford 4pts

Doucoure scored against Brighton and was able to earn a vital point for his relegation threatened team. He earned 4 points and now has a total of 28, he has been in fine form too and could be worth picking up for the remainder of the season.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 2pts

Wilfried Zaha was on the losing side, 3-1 against Everton but the highly thought of player showed a lot of creativity and he assisted in Palace’s goal, which at the time was an important one as the club had just equalised.

Midfielder: Theo Walcott- Everton 2pts

Theo Walcott has upped his game in recent weeks and started to score points. Walcott had an unlucky game as he had to go off injured after just 25 minutes but he still managed to assist in Everton’s opening goal which led the way to their victory at the weekend over Crystal Palace.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton 4pts

Richarlison scored his 9th goal for Everton this season as they swept by Crystal Palace winning 3-1. He now has 38 points for the season and is worth adding to your team as he has really grown in confidence over the last few weeks.

Striker: Billy Sharp- Sheffield United 4pts

Billy Sharp has suffered with some set backs with injury lately so it was impressive of him to bounce back and get a vital goal which helped the Blades to secure 3 huge points and gives them a chance of European football next season.

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Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Watford 2-3 Everton

To tell you the truth there has always been a bit of animosity between Watford and Everton. You could go all the way back to the 1984 FA Cup final when Everton beat Watford 2-0. As the final whistle went the Everton fans started singing ”I guess that’s why they call us the Blues”. This was in reference to Elton John who was part of the board of Watford- he is a long time fan, and his hit song- talk about a sucker punch.

Most recently the teams have clashed off the pitch twice. Firstly when Everton did everything in their power to secure the services of Marco Silva, the then Watford manager (look at how that turned out). Then once Silva had jumped ship he put in a bid for Watford striker Richarlison, and for £40m that was accepted, to say the fans were livid of Everton by now would be an understatement.

Led by club captain Troy Deeney there has been a determination and maybe a little menace behind the clubs action to go and beat Everton, and they have been successful in the last few seasons at doing that. This past weekend looked to be no different, as they cruised into a 2-0 lead, but there would be a sting in the tail for the Hornets.

Not only could this match be considered the game of the weekend in the Premier League, it was also the comeback of the weekend, although Brighton did very well at West Ham coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.

Of all players nobody was expecting Watford defender Adam Masina to open the scoring, but then again this match would turn into a game of defenders. It was Masina’s first goal for the club in his 2 seasons at Vicarage Road. At 1-0 Watford were in control and then there was a crazy 5 minutes where the game swung from huge Watford advantage to no advantage at all.

When Robert Pereyra struck for the home side with three minutes to go of the first half to make it 2-0 the game looked finished. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was most upset. Pereyra had just scored his 3rd goal of the season and maybe his most important thus far.

But as Jimmy Greaves once said football is a funny old game and that sentence came to haunt Watford in the name of Yerry Mina, Everton’s defender who had only scored 1 goal for the club previously. Mina struck from a corner in the injury time of the first half, and literally seconds after scoring, he repeated his goal again! All of a sudden the teams went in at half time and the score was 2-2. Everton were jubilant and back in the game, Watford’s players walked off the pitch as if they were losing 3-0.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2nd half whilst the clubs had shared possession the home side had no further shots on goal. When Everton’s Fabian Delph was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go, it felt like the match was going to end in a draw. Certainly playing against ten men did not encourage the Hornets.

But there would be one final cruel twist for Watford, when in the 90th minute Theo Walcott struck the ball home and past the goalkeeper to give Everton all three points. The players were ecstatic as Watford’s ones fell to the ground.

Watford have been very good in the past two months yanking themselves out of bottom place. But they have slumped a little in their last three games and manager Nigel Pearson will have to make it crystal clear to the team that they can’t feel sorry for themselves, they are still very much in the relegation battle.

As for Everton the win moved them past Arsenal and into 9th. What a turnaround it has been for the club since Carlo Ancelotti arrived, from flirting with relegation to possibly finishing in the top half of the table, and what a game of football that was, well, unless you were a Watford fan.

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Everton have a clear future under Carlo Ancelotti

Of course Everton have denied reports that Barcelona came after Richarlison last week as the transfer window closed. The Spanish champions had reportedly bid 100m euros on the Brazilian which Everton had rejected immediately.

If it was true then the club would have spoken to club manager Carlo Ancelotti, and he was having none of it. He was asked in a press conference and it was very clear that Richarlison is not for sale. This will be refreshing news for a club like Everton who are so used to losing their best players. Ancelotti even stated that the current team can be built around the talents of the Brazilian and that he is here to stay. And so he should  be, by all accounts he only signed an extended contract in December which would see him at the club until 2024.

These are encouraging times for Everton. When Ancelotti arrived they were flirting with relegation, now they are above a team like Arsenal and in 9th place, form is good and Everton are getting the results.

This past weekend also showed great mental strength as the club came back from 2-0 down against Watford who are fighting relegation themselves to win 3-2 after a 90th minute Theo Walcott goal.

The atmosphere has really shifted at the club and there is a feel good momentum not seen since Roberto Martinez’s first season here and not as big since David Moyes first arrived on the scene almost 20 years ago. The fact that Everton have a name like Ancelotti in the dug out is still pinch yourself stuff from an Everton fans perspective. They might be seen in the same light as a team like West Ham, yet it is the Hammers living in the past having appointed Moyes who is now clearly past his best. Everton have moved on and they boast a better manager than a lot of clubs in the Premier League now, they decided to take that huge leap and whatever they are paying Ancelotti he is clearly worth it.

After disappointly going out of the FA Cup Everton’s season in effect ended, but it also feels like there is a new dawn for the club. What will be the clubs objective for the remainder of the season? Glancing at the league table they are just one win from 6th place and they could be aiming for a points total of 60. That could well ensure 6th and a possible Europa League place which would be a step in the right direction.

Also there was heartwarming news for the club who have confirmed that Andre Gomes will return after his horrific injury. He should be available for the clubs game away to Arsenal in three weeks time. There is a long road to go for both Gomes and Everton but at the moment things are certainly looking up.

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Can Nigel Pearson save Watford from Premier League relegation?

Can it be 3rd time lucky for Watford that is the question being asked as the troubled Premier League team look to survive in the top flight this season.

Nigel Pearson has stepped into the club and he is charged with saving the Hornets skin. He is Watford’s 3rd manager this season following the sackings of Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores. It was thought that bringing back Sanchez Flores in September would save the club but they got worse, flirted with the bottom three and then exchanged who would be bottom of the Premier League with Norwich for most of the season.

When Pearson was appointed the club were bottom of the league and had earned just 9 points and were 6 points from safety. It is safe to say that even though that gap remains at 6 points under Pearson Watford look like a different club, even showing shades of how good they can be from last season, finishing in the top half of the table and reaching the FA Cup final.

For a club who have lost 10 games this season, 55% of their games so far they have only been defeated once in their last four encounters. Witness the change and it couldn’t have got better than beating Manchester United 2-0 just before Christmas. It was a magnificent result and was highlighted by the fact that United had turned a corner, were playing great football, had climbed up the table and were one of the best in form sides in the league. And yet here was Watford not just sneaking a very lucky win but being worth their victory too. What a managerial change can do?

Pearson has history saving clubs from relegation. One of his most famous was saving Leicester who would go on to win the Premier League title in 2016 under Claudio Ranieri. No one is suggesting the same of Watford if he were to save them, but look at how history would have changed for the Foxes had Pearson not done his job in the first place.

The Hornets went on to draw against another in form side in Sheffield United and as a result of decent form they have exchanged once more with Norwich for the bottom of the league trophy and are now 19th.

This weekend Watford are at home to Aston Villa where one would expect them to pick up all three points and that would be a major boost for the club in survival given that Villa re directly above them and have a 5 point gap over the club. Watford then host Wolves on New Years Day and will face Villa again by the end of January.

Indeed January looks on paper to be a month where Watford could genuinely plan the great escape, only a game against Tottenham looks like being the hardest match to win.

There is confidence pumping throughout the squad now and it would take a brave man to predict that Watford under Pearson will go down this season, clearly the fight to stay up begins now and continues into the next decade.

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A resurgent Paul Pogba can fire Manchester United into the top 4, if he wants too

How will Paul Pogba be remembered at Manchester United and on the bigger picture how will he be remembered in world football, if for example, he was to stop playing this second?

Obviously Pogba is a world class player, you don’t win the World Cup and play for Juventus and Manchester United. But at the same time it does feel as if Pogba at times has not given everything to the cause. Was he ever 100% committed when he played for Juventus? His time at Manchester United in reality will be remembered for magical moments, bursts of inspiration and some great goals, but it will also be remembered for confrontations with managers especially Jose Mourinho and niggling injuries.

Pogba can still change that attitude and end the season on a high and it was telling how good Pogba looked when he made his return against Watford a week ago. True United in United fashion this decade lost the game, and against the bottom side but Pogba came on from the bench and in the 30 minutes he had changed the way United were playing. He was fearless in his attacks from midfield and his pace and vision were also superb. We were seeing the very best of Pogba, the same version of Pogba we saw at the 2018 World Cup where his performances especially in the knock out rounds were superb. There is no doubt that when Pogba wants it, Pogba is a wonderful player to witness.

It should have come to no surprise then that in United’s next game against Newcastle they would win 4-1 with an outstanding performance and another confident game for the Frenchman. So now one wonders if United has a chance to finish in the top 4?

At this moment Chelsea are making it rather easier for them than it should be. The gap to 4th should be and could have been 15 points at least instead it is just 4 points and United do have a genuine chance to make a top 4 challenge. Of course other teams have bunched up in the league because of Chelsea’s bad form and United are in 8th place.

Wolves, Tottenham and Sheffield United stand between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team and 4th. But United do have fire in their belly and before the Watford loss there is no doubt that the club had found their form again and we were seeing a United side who looked the business when Solskjaer first took over from a sacked Jose Mourinho a year ago.

United though need Pogba to be on his game if they are going to challenge for a top 4 spot. Sure form came to the club when Pogba was ironically injured and on the sidelines for a few weeks. But now he is fit he will play and if he doesn’t find consistency then that will be an extra ‘ghost’ player on the field for the club which will help no one.

Does Pogba want to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the United greats? He could be and still has the time to be. Now much like he did with France in that glorious World Cup win he needs to drag his team across that line, or he may just forever be known as a player that could have instead of something that did.

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Watford 2-0 Man Utd: Nigel Pearson picks up his first victory as Watford’s manager whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now looks to be on borrowed time

With Manchester City taking on Leicester City and Chelsea travelling away to Tottenham Hotspur in gameweek 18, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had the opportunity to take the advantage by potentially beating struggling Watford whilst witnessing at least two of the four teams above them to drop points. However, a lot of unfortunate things had happened that was not expected.

Ahead of the Sunday afternoon fixture, Solskjaer would have been aiming for the much needed three points and a dominant showing, with the side unable to confidently do both on a regular basis. Meanwhile, for Nigel Pearson, he would be looking forward to finding his first league victory with Watford before Christmas as his men have started to show more hunger and determination.

Now focusing on the match as a whole, the visitors had expectedly controlled the possession and were the side that had managed to create more chances and completed more shots on goal. On the other hand, it was the hosts that were more direct and with the intentions of being dangerous in the final third of the pitch for the first hour of the game, as they were able to get through United’s defence with ease and were causing problems through Ismaila Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu.

There wasn’t much happening in the first half if we are being brutally honest, with both teams failing to complete a shot on target whilst they were incapable of stringing a couple of passes from one side of the pitch to another. Given the lack of tempo and urgency that was provided by either sides, it had looked like they were awaiting to pounce on each other’s mistakes and break on the counter.

Following the half-time break, Watford started on the front foot and won a set-piece from a dangerous area in United’s half. Will Hughes took the free-kick, which was nodded on by Christian Kabasele, as Sarr’s unconvincing shot somehow went through the hands of David De Gea and into the back of net. The Spaniard had now been at huge fault for a goal in back-to-back league games.

It didn’t take Watford long to double their lead, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka committed a foul in the penalty box by bringing down Sarr whilst intending to intercept the ball. The captain Troy Deeney stepped forward to take penalty and smashed the ball into the net as De Gea dived to the opposite goal post, with the game looking more or less done and with the chances of a comeback being slim.

Once Paul Pogba made his return and entered the match after the hour mark, United began to dominate the ball, were occupying in the right areas of Watford’s half and were managing to move it around at a good level. Despite a few good chances being saved by Ben Foster, the result remained the same, as the Hornets picked up a huge victory whilst the Red Devils went back to square one.

Here are the three valuable factors we learnt from United’s latest league fixture…

The lack of consistency from the backline is starting to be costly

United had looked like they were building a great defensive core, with the arrivals Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, however, the last couple of weeks the side’s backline have gone back to their old selves of making constant mistakes and being out of position and high up the pitch. Because of this, Watford were able to attack through the flanks with ease and with just a matter of a few passes.

From De Gea’s blunder for the first goal to Wan-Bissaka giving away the penalty a few moments later, the two huge defensive errors allowed Watford to gain the victory whilst United lost the three points. On top of that, Lindelof was being targeted by the opposition’s physical presence whilst Maguire and Shaw were doing just enough but have not been showing these qualities regularly.

United have to learn to be on the front foot, especially against the lower teams

For sure, the side’s results in the big games have been absolutely immaculate, but the team have to play 15 other teams in the league, where they have to show their quality, composure and dominance on both sides of the pitch. It’s one of the reasons to why Chelsea and Leicester are in the top four, two teams who don’t have a better squad than United but are more complete as a team.

Given the unconvincing style of play remaining the same, the current line-up not being consistent enough and Solskjaer having no plan B at all, the side’s hopes of being dominant against the lower teams will not be happening anytime soon. Also, the amount of times the ball is cheaply given away and the lack of high press on the opposition does not help the team’s cause of fixing this issue.

Paul Pogba’s return brings a few positives, being sorely missed by the manager and the team

When Paul Pogba stepped on the pitch, nearly every United fan was excited and in content, as they saw the side’s best player make his return from injury and play for the team once again, despite the ongoing rumours of him leaving the club. And making an appearance for just 25 minutes, he was able to create a key chance, attempt a good shot on goal and complete 27 successful passes.

With United’s midfield looking unbalanced and missing the much needed quality, Pogba’s return will massively help the team and most important Solskjaer himself, who will need his key individuals to help them get out of this poor form. When the Frenchman is in the team, he makes the side tick and helps the ball move from midfield to attack with ease, whilst also helping the likes of Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford constantly get into the game with his incredible range of passing.

Treble would be Pep Guardiola’s crowning achievement in England

When Pep Guardiola arrived in England, becoming Manchester City’s new manager in the summer of 2016, they said he would find a very different environment to the one he’d made his own so emphatically in Germany and Spain. Across the board, it was claimed that the Catalan coach would receive the test of his career in the Premier League.

How those suggestions look foolish now. Guardiola has done to the English game exactly what he did to both the  Bundesliga and La Liga, winning back-to-back Premier League titles, collecting an astonishing 198 points over those two seasons. And City’s dominance could be underlined further still this weekend.

Manchester City v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group C

Indeed, Guardiola can complete a treble of domestic trophies by leading Man City to victory over Watford in the FA Cup final. It might not be The Treble, which traditionally comprises the Champions League trophy, but a clean sweep of domestic honours would provide a stark illustration of where City are as a team and a club right now.

Not even Sir Alex Ferguson’s Treble-winning team of 1999 were as dominant of the English game as Man City are now. Guardiola and his players stand on the brink of an historic achievement, but not even the sight of three domestic trophies in the cabinet at the end of this season will effectively reflect the quality of this team.

They might get even better next season. Guardiola is relentless in his quest for excellence and so it has been speculated that City will sign a long term replacement for the ageing Fernandinho this summer and possibly even a new right back. Ben Chilwell, a left back, has also been spoken about for quite some time.

The English game is entering a new phase in its history. City are kings and it will take an almighty effort to dethrone them. Liverpool, of course, finished just one point behind the Etihad Stadium side in the Premier League table and yet the gulf felt somewhat bigger than that. Liverpool gave everything the had to stretch to 97 points. City, on the other hand, strolled to 98.

Guardiola always viewed England as the true litmus test of his managerial ability. Whether that was warranted or not, he has succeeded in glorious fashion. Victory on Saturday would provide Guardiola with his crowning achievement in English football.

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