Welcome back to LazyBets soccer picks and parlays. The Premier League returns this weekend with a must win match for Manchester United. The Red Devils will be looking to see off Watford at Old Trafford. They're eager to show that recent poor results have been nothing but a blip in form as they continue their pursuit of a place in the Champions League next season. Opposing Watford will be looking to finish this season on a high and achieve their highest ever Premier League finishing position. They currently sit in 8th with just one point separating them from 7th placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Let's dive right in with some selection and analysis. This match has a lot of promise and should be quite competitive.
The Red Devils are coming off of their first loss in a Premier League match since Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December of last year. They have dropped down to 5th place in the league table. They recorded a 2-0 away loss against Arsenal. The match looked like an even bout despite the final scoreline. All in all it was a missed opportunity for Manchester United in their quest for European play.
Just 8 games remain in the league for United. Included in their slate is a potential title deciding match against league favorites Manchester City and a bout against Chelsea who still have a shot at sneaking into 4th. The two challenging contests come within just 4 days of each other. Because of the difficulty going forward, it is imperative that Manchester United claim the full 3 points on Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed full time manager of Manchester United just this week in a move that wasn't anticipated at the time of his hiring. Signing a contract that slates him as United's head man for the next three years, Solskjaer has recorded a staggering 11 wins in his first 13 Premier League outings. It's an impressive feat. United even paid Solskjaer's former club Molde some £500,000 pounds in a showing of good faith. The club were never expected to hire him full time. To say he has blown away expectations would be an understatement. In Solskjaer's period of tenure, no other premier league club has achieved more points.
The only blemishes on Ole Gunnar's resume are the loss against Arsenal and a home draw against Liverpool. With 34 out of a possible 39 points attained since the Norwegian’s arrival, the Manchester club have been elated with his performance. The comeback win that knocked Neymar’s Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League earlier this month leaves little doubt. It would appear that the only way is up for the Premier League’s most successful team.
The problem with little doubt is that there is still some. The loss against Arsenal and an FA Cup loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Quarter Finals have created a small bear market for United. The results indicate that the pressure is still very much on if the Devils are to seriously challenge Arsenal and Chelsea for 4th place.
Perhaps the ‘Ole effect’ has begun to dull. United fans will hope that a demonstration of faith in Solskjaer will boost morale and spur the Red Devils on to better performances. The new permanence of the manager leaves United with quite a bit of continuity going forward.
Manchester United have seen a combined goal total of three or lower in 7 of their last ten matches. It's a trend worth noting in this one.
8th placed Watford have been one of the surprise stories of this year’s Premier League season. They've been fun to watch all season and remain a formidable opponent for any squad. The Hornets are very much on their way to achieving the highest ever Premier League finish in club history. Credit is deserved and should be given to the management of Javi Gracia.
The Spanish head man took over for his Portuguese predecessor, Marco Silva, following a string of poor results towards at the end of the 2018 calendar year. Gerard Deulofeu, Andre Gray, Troy Deeney, and Étienne Capoue have been of particular note lately. They've found their scoring form and it has seen them defeat Everton, Cardiff City, and Leicester City in the league. Results have even taken them into an FA Cup Semi Final after a win against Crystal Palace.
With all of the highs come some inevitable lows. Watford have a poor track record against the top 6 teams this season. In 9 Premier League appearances against the top 6 teams they have only managed to obtain 3 out of a possible 27 points. Their lone result of the season against Manchester United was a 2-1 home defeat in September. The squad epitomizes the expression ‘the best of the rest.’ Their remaining fixtures suggest that the squad has a chance at overtaking Wolves before the end of the season.
Showing a great deal of consistency, Watford have very rarely been beaten convincingly. They have only lost by a deficit of more than 1 goal on two occasions since early December. Unless Manchester United come out of the gates all guns blazing, it is going to be a tough challenge to overturn Watford.
With March seeing the beginning of the 2020 UEFA EURO Qualifiers, international fatigue may be an influential factor. Manchester United features international stars such as Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and David De Gea. They will need to shake off a bit of rustiness. It often goes hand in hand with the additional minutes and travel time players must cope with during an international break.
In addition to international fatigue, Manchester United have the added pressure of a Champions League Quarter Final against the Spanish giants, FC Barcelona, looming on the horizon. They will also have to maintain enough energy in the tank as they hope to see off Wolverhampton Wanderers just three days after their match against Watford. Making matters worse, Manchester United will also be without their Belgian powerhouse, Romelu Lukaku, who is thought to have suffered a foot injury during the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain. The Belgian international is the club’s top scorer this campaign with a contribution of 12 Premier League goals.
Watford will have had the opportunity to rest key players, recharge their batteries, and spend more time preparing for Saturday’s contest. A culmination of these factors, coupled with the pressure of Arsenal having usurped 4th place, could lead the Manchester side to adopting a more conservative approach as they look to secure a win.
Manchester United have only lost one game at home this season. Since the return of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, they have very rarely looked like getting beaten. Even with this, Manchester United’s defense is often scrutinized. The Manchester club has failed to record a clean sheet in their last five games in all competitions. They have conceded 40 goals in 30 Premier League games in total this season. This, teamed with the fact that Watford has failed to score in just one of their last 7 games in all competitions, would suggest that it would be very surprising if Watford were not to score this weekend.
A 3-1 scoreline looks likely. We like Over 3 here as a line and highly suggest taking the small juice bonus of +110 with MyBookie!
Over 3 (+110)
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