5 talking points from Manchester United’s victory over Watford

Manchester United jumped into fifth place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes scored his first goal for the club from the penalty spot after being brought down by Hornets keeper Ben Foster.

Anthony Martial notched his third in as many games after the break, showing incredible persistence to cheekily lift the ball over Foster and into the goal.

Mason Greenwood rounded off the scoring, latching on to Fernandes' pass to emphatically finish off the underside of the crossbar.

Here are five talking points from Old Trafford…

1. Solskjaer shows ruthless side

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed his is not afraid to make big decisions before the game, omitting both Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard from his 18-man squad.

Both players have struggled for form and copped plenty of flak throughout the course of the season, and neither was selected despite being fully fit.

“We picked a squad of 18 that we felt was the right 18 here," said the Norwegian. "We have got cover on the bench with wide men, forwards, midfielders and defenders so that was the decision I made."

One or both could be moved on in the summer, you'd think.

2. Fernandes off the mark

It may have come from the penalty spot – but Bruno Fernandes will undoubtedly feel a sense of relief at notching his first goal in Manchester United colours.

And he was central to winning the spot kick, too – racing on to Daniel James' through ball before being brought down by Ben Foster in the Watford goal.

He struck the penalty home with consummate swagger, taking a skip before calmly sending Foster the wrong way.

And he capped off an impressive display by supplying Mason Greenwood with the chance to make it 3-0 – one which the youngster emphatically gobbled up – striking home off the underside of the crossbar.

Before arriving at Old Trafford, Fernandes scored 48 goals since the start of last season – and the Red Devils will hope this one opens the floodgates.

3. VAR saves James' blushes

Daniel James will have been more relieved than most as VAR ruled out a potential leveller for Watford.

The Welshman hesitated on the edge of the box, opting not to clear, and the Hornets forced a corner from which they thought they had equalised through Troy Deeney.

But replays showed the ball cannoned off Craig Dawson's arm on to the post before being put in by Deeney and – by the letter of the law – VAR had no option but to rule it out.

A let-off for United and their winger.

4. Martial's lesson in persistence

If at first you don't succeed etc, etc…

Anthony Martial must have thought the chance was gone when his initial attempt to double United's lead was thwarted by Ben Foster.

The save took the ball wide and the Frenchman was faced with an impossible angle, plus a couple of defenders for company.

But he showed tremendous skill to chop back inside and lift the ball past Foster and into the goal to make the points safe for the Red Devils.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed Martial to step up in Marcus Rashford's absence and he has responded with three goals in his last three appearances against Chelsea, Club Brugge and now Watford.

5. United threaten return to Europe's top table

News of Manchester City's European ban will have gone down a dream at Old Trafford – but United may not even need their rivals to be disallowed from the Champions League to restore their place at Europe's top table.

This result takes them into fifth spot – currently a position which will see them in the continent's premier club competition next season – and just three points adrift of Chelsea in fourth.

United beat Chelsea last week and, despite their win over Spurs, the Blues have shown they are more than susceptible to the odd dodgy result.

Despite a clutch of indifferent performances – and results – over the course of the campaign, United should be confident of returning to the Champions League, and that must surely be seen as a success.

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