Watford vs Manchester UnitedEnglish Premier League, KO: 14:00 Dec 22, 2019, Vicarage Road
NIGEL PEARSON could hardly have been handed a more difficult start as Watford boss, with the visit of Manchester United coming hard on the heels of a trip to Anfield.
His Hornets side emerged with plenty of plaudits from that clash with Liverpool but left without any points thanks to two moments of magic from Mo Salah.
They remain bottom of the table, six points adrift of safety after winning just one league game all season, but the improved performance under Pearson offers hope of a great escape.
They need to start getting some wins on the board, though, and will find it difficult against a United side whose only defeat in the last 10 games came when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a youth team away to Astana in the Europa League.
How the bookies view it
Watford are as big as 18/5 with BetVictor and that price might attract a few punters, given their display at Anfield last weekend and the fact United might be a bit leggy after a midweek League Cup clash.
The draw is 3/1 with Unibet while a win for the Red Devils is 4/5 with most firms. I can see both teams scoring in this one, which is a decent 4/5 with SportNation. If you double that with a United victory the odds increase to 13/5 with 888Sport.
You could argue we're due a stalemate as the last draw between these sides came back in 1986.
Recent head to head
United have bossed this fixture, winning 16 of the last 17 meetings between the sides. The only win for the Hornets in that run, which stretches back to 1986, was a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road in 2016 (below).
Both matches last term ended in 2-1 victories to the Old Trafford side. A repeat of that scoreline pays 8/1 with Bet365 and that might be worth a speculative punt.
Players to watch
United forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have good records against the Hornets, with three goals apiece against them.
They were both on target in midweek as Solskjaer's side beat Colchester 3-0 to ease into the semi-finals of the League Cup.
Martial let me down when I backed him for a goal at home to Everton last weekend so I'll go for Rashford (below), who came up trumps for me against Sheffield United and Tottenham.
Ismaila Sarr's raw pace and power has been a potent weapon for Watford in recent games, although he has lacked a bit of composure in front of goal. Sarr is 9/2 with Paddy Power for a goal here and that is a decent option.
Anything else catch the eye?
There have been over 2.5 goals in the last eight games between these sides at Vicarage Road. A repeat here pays 43/50 with Marathonbet.
If Luke Shaw starts at left-back for United he will be up against the dangerous Sarr and that makes him a good candidate for a booking. He's 5/2 with Betway for a card and that looks decent.
Watford's Etienne Capoue is 11/5 with Unibet in the same market and that is also worth considering.
This English Premier League match between Watford and Manchester United will be played on Dec 22, 2019 and kick off at 14:00