Man Utd crash back down to earth with shock loss at bottom club Watford

Manchester United suffered a first defeat in seven games as basement club Watford earned an unlikely victory at Vicarage Road.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side appeared to have turned a corner recently, with wins over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur being standout moments in December, but they came crashing back down to earth by suffering defeat against 20th-placed Watford.

The Hornets have been undergoing a revival of their own under new manager Nigel Pearson, having pushed runaway leaders Liverpool close in the former Leicester boss’ first game in charge.

This time, they finished the job to claim a major scalp, after taking a shock lead early in the second half when David De Gea flapped at a bouncing shot from Ismaila Sarr.

After becoming the club’s record signing in the summer, the 21-year-old had only scored twice in all competitions, but ensured it was a day to remember when striking his volley into the ground and seeing it make its way past De Gea.

David De Gea Man Utd TEAMtalk - Man Utd crash back down to earth with shock loss at bottom club Watford

Watford hadn’t even been ahead in any home league game this season, with Sarr’s goal finally making them able to correct that.

If that wasn’t extraordinary enough, Watford soon had the chance to double their lead, when just minutes later, Aaron Wan Bissaka brought Sarr down in the box to give the hosts a penalty.

Seeking a first goal of the season, club captain Troy Deeney stepped up and powered the ball past De Gea to give his side some breathing space.

United had not been without their own chances in the game, with Jesse Lingard missing one glorious opportunity towards the end of the first half, lifting the ball over Ben Foster’s net when running through one-on-one with the ex-United keeper.

They had to turn to substitute Paul Pogba in the second half, despite Solskjaer being wary of the workload he was setting the Frenchman upon his long-awaited return from injury.

However, they could not find a way to capitalise on any of their chances, as Watford showed resilience again to earn a first league home win of the season.

The unlikely win moves Watford level on points with 19th-placed Norwich, but they stay bottom on goal difference. Meanwhile, United stay in eighth, missing a huge chance to rise into the European spots.

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