Football News

Watford 2-0 Man Utd: Full player ratings as De Gea mistake costs Red Devils

By Oliver Young-Myles

Published: 15:57, 22 December 2019

Watford boosted their Premier League survival chances by beating Manchester United 2-0 at Vicarage Road to hand Nigel Pearson his first win in charge.

The Hornets took the lead shortly after half-time when Ismaila Sarr’s shot somehow evaded David De Gea’s grasp and a few minutes later they doubled their lead through a Troy Deeney penalty after Sarr had been upended by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

It was a dismal performance from Manchester United who have now followed up those impressive back-to-back victories against Spurs and Manchester City by collecting one point from fixtures with Everton and Watford.

Here’s how the players rated at Vicarage Road:


Ben Foster – 7 – Had absolutely nothing to do in the first half and not much more in the second. Had to be alert to punch away a venomous Marcus Rashford free-kick from an acute angle but otherwise was hardly tested. Saved well from Rashford again soon after.

Adrian Mariappa – 6 – Dealt with the pace and direct running of Rashford well but would have expected a far more difficult afternoon than he was given.

Craig Cathcart – 7 – If Watford can keep both him and Christian Kabasele fit until the end of the season they might stand a fighting chance of staying in the division. Marshalled Anthony Martial well.

Christian Kabasele – 8 – What a difference the Belgian makes to the Watford defence. The Hornets have conceded only eight goals in his 10 Premier League games this season, compared to 24 in eight when he hasn’t featured. A colossus.

Kiko Femenia – 6 – Deployed out-of-position on the left ahead of a natural left-back in Adam Masina, Kiko Femenia defended his flank stoutly and completely nullified the threat of Daniel James who was the first player on either side to be substituted.

Etienne Capoue – 7 – Although his passing wasn’t quite up to his usual high standards, Etienne Capoue – along with his able sidekick Will Hughes – dominated the midfield battle against Fred and Scott McTominay.

Will Hughes – 8 – Always wanted the ball and looked to progress Watford up the pitch at every opportunity with his passing. It is hardly a secret that Hughes is a gifted technician on the ball but off it he was absolutely everywhere, winning a team-high six tackles.

Abdoulaye Doucouré – 6 – Pushed into an advanced midfield role under Pearson, the Frenchman looked to get on the end of things and had Watford’s best chance of a low-key first 45 minutes.

Ismaïla Sarr – 8 – What an afternoon for Watford’s club-record signing. Netted his second Premier League goal from the right-hand side of the penalty area before winning a penalty moments later on the left. A livewire who United simply could not keep a lid on.

Gerard Deulofeu – 7 – A lively display from the Spaniard and although he wasn’t at his most menacing best in an attacking sense, he delivered a hard-working display that one might not usually associate with him.

Troy Deeney – 6 – Still doesn’t look at his sharpest but the mere presence of Watford’s talisman in the side has a galvanising effect on his teammates. Smashed his penalty straight down the middle.


Nathaniel Chalobah – 6 – Brought on to help shore things up and helped Watford see the game out.

Roberto Pereyra – N/A – Introduced late on.

Isaac Success – N/A – Introduced late on.

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Manchester United

David De Gea – 3 – Oh dear, oh dear. There looked little danger when Sarr’s speculative effort bobbled up off the turf but what should have been a routine catch for the Manchester United shot-stopper ended up in the back of his net. His reaction said it all.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 4 – Renowned for his defensive solidity, Wan-Bissaka’s rash challenge on Sarr inside the box handed Watford a golden chance to score a second goal in four minutes. Deeney duly obliged from the spot. Lost possession of the ball 25 times.

Victor Lindelöf – 5 – Dealt fairly well with Deeney’s physicality and couldn’t be blamed for either of Watford’s goals.

Harry Maguire – 4 – When are people going to start questioning Harry Maguire’s form? The £80m defender seems to have been given a free pass from criticism in the opening months of his Manchester United career but after this display that may soon change.

Luke Shaw – 5 – Struggled to contain Sarr and was booked for tugging at his shirt in the first half. Did OK going forward.

Scott McTominay – 5 – Not McTominay’s best performance of the season. The Scot stung the palms of Foster in the second half before ballooning the rebound high into the stands. Sacrificed for Juan Mata as Manchester United chased the game.

Fred – 7 – The best of a bad bunch. Continued his recent good form with another solid display here. Ranked top in  Manchester United‘s side for touches, passes, possession gained and duels.

Daniel James – 3 – Couldn’t get into the game at all and was the fall-guy as Solskjaer threw Mason Greenwood on before the hour mark in an attempt to wrestle the game back into Manchester United‘s favour. Completed just 61.5% of his passes.

Jesse Lingard – 4 – The England international’s wait for a Premier League goal or assist will move to a full calendar year on Boxing Day and he missed a glorious chance to avoid such ignominy in the first-half when he looped a lob over the bar.

Marcus Rashford – 5 – Typically pacey and direct from his left flank but lacked much end product on the day. Almost scored a goal of his own making late on after being shifted into a central position but was thwarted by Foster’s feet.

Paul Pogba

Anthony Martial – 5 – A typical Martial display in many ways: quiet for the most part of it but always a threat. Threaded a great ball through for Lingard in the first-half and tested Foster in second-half injury-time after a mazy run.


Mason Greenwood – 6 – Missed a good opportunity to reduce the deficit but could only lob the ball over the bar.

Paul Pogba – 6 – Certainly made a difference after coming on and the tempo of United’s play noticeably improved after his introduction. His return was the one positive on a gloomy afternoon for United and their manager.

Juan Mata – N/A – Introduced late on.