These are difficult times for Jose Mourinho. His Manchester United side are already six points off the pace, and he’s the favourite to become the first Premier League manager to leave his post.
He appears at odds with his own team and the media, and even took an unfortunate tumble while attending England’s game with Spain at Wembley.
But the Portuguese boss could be in for more strife when he takes his United side to Watford on Saturday night.
But the Hertfordshire outfit have won four from four this season, and we’ve found a few reasons why that can put a sting in Jose’s tail…
Hornets love to sting top teams
Of the Premier League’s established top-six sides, five of them have been beaten at Vicarage Road since 2015.
Only Manchester City have avoided defeat, while Chelsea have been downed twice in that time. Tottenham Hotspur were the most recent victim, losing 2-1 only last month.
Watford love to play the underdog, and they gave Mourinho a thumping in his early weeks as United manager with a 3-1 win in September 2016.
Tricky duo can cause problems
Watford are a rarity these days, in that coach Javi Gracia is persevering with what’s essentially a 4-4-2.
But when Troy Deeney and Andre Gray are your strikers and they revel in the physical side of the game, then it becomes a smart move.
The duo are a formidable partnership who don’t give defenders a moment’s rest.
It’s a rare asset in the modern game, but one which Watford are maximising to full effect.
Deeney’s stats say it all
So far this term, Deeney has won the fourth highest number of aerial battles and he’s chipping in 1.5 tackles per match.
He’s accurate too, sitting fifth in the Premier League stats when it comes to shots on target this season.
Deeney’s hustle allows Gray to use his pace, pin back defenders, develop attacks or more into goalscoring positions.
A number of United’s defenders are susceptible to crumbling under pressure (Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof, anybody?), so they could be in for a very trying afternoon.
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