If there ever was a game to provide a microcosm of what Manchester United’s season has been, this one was it. Largely a snoozefest, Manchester United scored off a speculative long-ball and then bunkered in for the remainder of the match as they finish the season with all three points at Old Trafford.
Manchester United saw most of the early half-chances, but nothing of true value. Marcus Rashford fired an early shot over, while Alexis Sanchez looked for an ambitious volley but fired it well wide. Watford was forced into an early change as
The home side, keeping disciplined on the defensive side, earned the opener out of nothing on 34 minutes. A speculative long-ball by Michael Carrick unlocked the messy Watford back line and fell straight in to the path of Juan Mata, who was through on goal alongside Marcus Rashford, and the Spaniard laid off to his teammate to get past goalkeeper Huerelho Gomes, and the English international had a tap-in to open the scoring.
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The goal was fitting for the cagey first half, something out of nothing as Mourinho’s strategy held the visitors at bay. Watford nearly had the equalizer two ticks before halftime as Richarlison picked out a header at point-blank range, but he struck it directly at deputy goalkeeper Sergio Romero who held his ground and kept out the effort.
The second half had hardly a chance in it until the 80th minute, when Watford looked to equalize off a corner, but the header was speculative and Romero could collect. Manchester United was happy to sit back and soak up the pressure,
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Michael Carrick got a standing ovation as his Manchester United career came to an end with an 85th minute substitution, and the Red Devils had one more big opportunity as Alexis Sanchez ran the break, but his ball to the middle of the penalty area fell unclaimed.
The final whistle came to mercifully end the season finale at Old Trafford, giving Manchester United a final tally of 81 points, 12 more than last season’s haul. They end the year four points clear of third-placed Tottenham, and 19 points back of champions Manchester City. For Watford, the goalscoring continues to be a clear issue, and they end the campaign in 14th with 41 points.