Watford 2-0 Man Utd analysis: Ismaila Sarr lives up to price tag as David De Gea form thrown into spotlight

If Manchester United did not know about the festive traffic around Watford at this time of year before Sunday, they do now.

The Red Devils arrived late for this clash, turning up just a few minutes after 1pm GMT when their team news was announced.

They subsequently did not come out to warm up until 30 minutes before kick-off and their late arrival was followed by a slow start.

In fact both sides started at a below-par pace and it carried on for the whole first half as they went in goalless at the break.

You wondered if the half-time interval would inject some impetus into either side – and in the end it was Watford who came out charged up.

The Hornets struck twice in the second half to claim a huge win and United were left empty-handed on an afternoon where they started late and really never got going.

Sarr finally begins to live up to his hefty price tag

When he was signed in the summer for a club-record fee of £35million, big things were expected of Ismaila Sarr.

The 21-year-old arrived from France with a growing reputation after proving himself to be one of the most dangerous wingers in Ligue 1.

Understandably the Senegal international has taken time to settle in a new country and French midfielder Etienne Capoue has been helping him to adjust.

Supporters have been waiting for Sarr to explode and finally, against Manchester United on Sunday, he came to the party.

There was no doubt a hint of fortune about his goal as David de Gea somehow let a tame volley slip through his fingers, but the winger’s pace and drive to win the penalty for Troy Deeney to score the Hornets’ second showed what he is all about. 

Watford will hope there is more to come.

Pearson’s Watford ‘begin construction’ on fortress Vicarage Road 

If Watford are to somehow get out of this relegation battle then their home form is going to be absolutely crucial.

Simply put, it has not been good enough this season and before Sunday they had not led in a Premier League game at Vicarage Road since April.

The Hornets had also failed to win a home League game this season, but this victory over Manchester United brought an end to that run.

In the build-up, new head coach Nigel Pearson had said how he wanted to make Vicarage Road “a fortress”, and this victory is the first step towards doing that.

Cheered on by the home crowd, Watford battled and fought for everything and were deserved winners in the end.

This win is just the start of a long journey, but it could well be a turning point in Watford’s season. 

De Gea’s form thrown into spotlight after pantomime howler

This was an afternoon that De Gea will want to forget quickly and certainly not befitting of one of the best-paid goalkeepers in the world.

It was back in the summer that the Spaniard signed a new deal on lucrative terms that put him on wages rarely matched by other goalkeepers.

De Gea, however, was at fault for Watford’s opening goal as he allowed Sarr’s tame effort to squeeze past him.

It means that since the start of last season, no player in the Premier League has made more errors leading to goals than De Gea.

That is a statistic that does not make pleasant reading for the 29-year-old and leads you to question his form over the past 18 months.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will no doubt stick by his goalkeeper, but it is now up to De Gea to repay his faith.

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