There isn’t much straightforward about this Manchester United team, but their 3-0 victory over Watford on Sunday was as routine as it gets.
It would be a stretch to say it was a vintage display that rolled back the years, but just days after a frustrating European adventure, United were efficient and took care of business against a Watford side who, it has to be said, didn’t put up too much of a fight.
Bruno Fernandes netted his first United goal from the spot followed up by Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood in the second half, and you can relive all the action right here if that’s your thing. Here, though, we’re taking a deep dive into the stats (courtesy, as ever, of Opta) to see what we learned from a promising afternoon for United, and another dismal one for the Hornets.
Handling the Pressure
So much was made of Bruno Fernandes after his £50m transfer that it would have been easy for the expectation to have crippled him. But while he hasn’t quite exploded onto the scene, he has quickly gained a steady footing, and bedded himself in further with his first United goal.
He dispatched his spot-kick past Ben Foster, and in doing so became the first Manchester United player
It’s something we can expect to see more of too. It was his first in his new colours, but he is relentless from 12 yards, having now scored each of the last 13 penalties he has taken in top-flight football since missing for Udinese in April 2016.
Paying the Penalty
Sticking with penalties, Fernandes’ successful effort marked the 10th time United have been awarded a spot-kick this season. That might not seem remarkable in itself, but it’s the second straight season they have been awarded 10 or more – something which doesn’t happen often.
It really doesn’t happen often, in fact. It’s only happened once in the history of the Premier League, Crystal Palace (2017/18 & 2018/19) the other side.
Unhappy Hunting Ground
Old Trafford isn’t quite the fortress it once was, with the likes of Burnley and Crystal Palace able to record victories at one of English football’s most famous stadiums this season. It still holds its weight, however, and no-one knows that as much as Watford.
Remarkably, they have never won an away league match at Old Trafford in 13 attempts (D2 L11), losing each of the last nine in a row since avoiding defeat in November 1985 in a 1-1 draw.
United have won all seven of their Premier League games against Watford at Old Trafford, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two.
The Grass is Always Greener
Not too bad, really.
For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!