Watford claimed a deserved 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Vicarage Road on Sunday – the third time in a row Jose Mourinho’s men have suffered a defeat.
Going into the game on the back of a derby defeat at home to Manchester City and a Europa League loss at Feyenoord, United were largely disappointing as Mourinho slipped to three successive defeats as a manager for the first time in over a decade.
The in-form Etienne Capoue struck his fourth goal in six games to put the hosts ahead at Vicarage Road and although Marcus Rashford levelled on 62 minutes with United’s first shot on target, Camilo Zuniga came off the bench and scored almost immediately before a late Troy Deeney penalty secured a memorable 3-1 win for the Hornets – their first victory over United since 1986.
No Manchester United player has scored more goals than Rashford since he burst onto the scene in February and his more esteemed team-mates were largely poor, with skipper Wayne Rooney and the world’s most expensive player, Paul Pogba, off-colour in the midfield and Zlatan Ibrahimovic well-marshalled by the Watford defence.
Watford passed up a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring as miscommunication between David de Gea and Chris Smalling saw the ball fall to the feet of Odion Ighalo but, with the goal gaping, he slid his effort wide.
Only a stunning De Gea save kept out Deeney’s header in the 16th minute as the Hornets continued to swarm around the United defence.
The visitors should have made Watford pay for their profligacy as Ibrahimovic started a lightning counter-attack which he failed to finish off as Rashford’s deflected low cross was thrashed into the side-netting by the Swedish forward.
After a delay in proceedings following head injuries for Daryl Janmaat and Anthony Martial, Pogba came within inches of scoring his first United goal as he arrowed a shot from 25 yards which cannoned back off the crossbar.
But it was Capoue, so sharp in front of goal so far this season, who struck from Janmaat’s cross after Miguel Britos had robbed Martial of possession on the edge of the United box, a challenge which irked Mourinho, who wanted a free-kick awarded.
Martial, seemingly unable to recover from a mixture of both the knock to his head and the challenge from Britos which led to the goal, was replaced by former Watford favourite Ashley Young.
United still had not been at the races but they were level just after the hour mark as Ibrahimovic’s cross was blocked into the feet of Rashford, who reacted quickly to flash home.
The visitors took control from that point and only a tremendous stop from Heurelho Gomes prevented Ibrahimovic heading home Marouane Fellaini’s cross with 12 minutes remaining.
But it would be Watford celebrating as Walter Mazzarri brought on Zuniga for goalscorer Capoue, and the Napoli loanee needed just seconds to slam home, with Deeney adding the third from the spot in the fifth minute of stoppage time after Zuniga was upended by Fellaini.
Jose Mourinho has lost three competitive games in a row as a manager for the first time since August 2006 while in charge of Chelsea.
It’s the first time that Mourinho has lost three competitive games consecutively in a single season since he was at Porto in the 2001/02 campaign.
Troy Deeney has scored a penalty in each of his last two home PL games versus Manchester United. Deeney netted a 90th minute winner today while also scoring a 90th minute own goal sealing the win for United in 2015/16.
Marcus Rashford (10) has scored more goals (all comps) for Manchester United than any other player since his debut in February 2016
Etienne Capoue has scored four goals from just five shots on target in the Premier League this season.
Juan Zuñiga scored after just 53 seconds since coming on as a substitute. Indeed, it’s the fastest goal by a substitute since Divock Origi (37 seconds) vs Aston Villa in February 2016.
Since his debut in August 2014, Daryl Janmaat has provided more assists in the Premier League than any other defender (11).
Manchester United scored their 800th Premier League away goal; 96 more than any other team.
Roberto Pereyra has been directly involved in three goals in his first three PL appearances (one goal, two assists).