Three questions for Manchester United ahead of facing Watford

Manchester United are back in Premier League action on Sunday against Watford at Old Trafford.

The Hornets are in the relegation zone but stunned United 2-0 when the sides met at Vicarage Road in December.

With the race for the top four intensifying, the match throws up some questions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to answer.

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Can United take big chance?

Fourth-placed Chelsea and fifth-placed Tottenham will face off at Stamford Bridge the day before United’s match.

United are just three points behind the Blues and will go into the match having seen at least one of their biggest rivals for the top four drop points.

A home match against a side in the relegation zone, on paper, offers United the perfect chance to take advantage.

But Watford showed in December they can be awkward opponents, United have struggled to break down deep defences this season and they must show they can handle the pressure of a big weekend on the back of a busy week.

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What does Solskjaer do defensively?

Solskjaer has lined up with a five-man backline in the last two matches, but has tended to go with a back four against so-called lesser sides.

Going in with a back five in a must-win game at home to a relegation battling side doesn’t look likely to be the way to do.

That means that one of Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams would likely miss out as Solskjaer brings in another attacking player.

On paper, Williams’ superior attacking intent would be better for a game like this, but it was Shaw who had the better game in the 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in midweek.

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Unleash Ighalo on his old club?

Anthony Martial has scored in his past two matches but Sunday’s game sees Odion Ighalo come face to face with his former employers.

Perhaps the Nigerian won’t start – although if Solskjaer goes with 3-5-2, Martial will need a partner and neither Jesse Lingard or Daniel James have impressed in that role in the last two matches.

Ighalo could have scored within minutes of his introduction at Stamford Bridge and looked sharp again when he came on in Belgium.

The Nigerian is seemingly intent on making the most of his opportunity with his boyhood club and facing his old club would give him an extra bit of motivation this weekend as well.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.