Odion Ighalo will look to add to his goals tally for Watford against Manchester United
Manchester United last played Watford in the spring of 2007 in a FA Cup semi final. United went on to lose in the final against Chelsea, but were victorious in the league, whilst the fallen semi-finalists waved goodbye to Premier League football. Today, United travel to Vicarage Road without a recognised striker, with both Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial missing through injury. James Wilson, United’s young striker, is also missing – which could mean a start for Marouane Fellaini up top.
Louis van Gaal has publicly spoken for the first time about the need for Memphis Depay to step up, as his fellow countryman expects more. Depay hasn’t played since the 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal, and with injuries to attacking players – this could well be a great chance for the young winger to make an impact.
1) How does it feel to be back in the top flight after an eight year absence?
It’s perfect timing. We are a very different club since last we meet, and we’ve had out current owners for 3 seasons now. They’ve got the club in a place that is ready for the Premier League both interms of squad and the backroom set up.
2) How has Quique Flores done at the club so far? Happy with progress and the style of football?
As many do, he started at the back and has slowly moved forward. The squad are playing well, and our recent game against West Ham is probably the best we’ve ever seen. I know it’s West Ham, but we were brilliant. Comparing that to our two previous trips to the Premier League, it was a fantastic to watch.
He’s playing the right players, rotating the right amount and developing a competitive squad.
3) Odion Ighalo has scored a hatful of goals so far this season – how many can he go on to get this term?
Who knows. His form since he broke into the team in early 2015, he has been on fire. He’d come from our sister club in Granada where he is simply known as ‘Legend’. He and Deeney are a partnership and together they are stronger. I guess how well Odion will do depends on how much he and Deeney play.
4) Have you any exciting youngster coming through the ranks?
At the moment… no. We needed a boast of experience this season.
5) What have you made of Manchester United so far this season? Can Louis van Gaal’s team win the league?
You are way below where you should be. You’ve lost a lot of what people used to admire. I don’t think you can win the league, something isn’t right and City and Arsenal have put in performances this year which shows that (at least at the moment) they are better than you. I don’t think it’s about signings, it’s how you work and how certain players are produced.
6) What is your most memorable United vs. Watford match throughout the years?
I suppose it’s got to be one when we won – let’s go with 4-1 at your place in November 1983. At that point we were the ones in Europe and heading to Cup finals.
7) Just how good a manager was Graham Taylor and was he unlucky with England?
Graham’s place in Watford history will never be topped. He took a lower league team and took them to European Football within 5 years. He didn’t do it by spending a fortune like many have to do now and he defined a football club at the same time. The clubs core values, which we still have today, were developed by Graham. We were the original family club and community led. That’s not changed.
8) Who is the greatest Watford player you’ve ever seen?
At my age, I was lucky to see many of the players from the team from the 1980s. By far the most exciting player I’ve ever seen was John Barnes. He cost a set of football kit! He went on to win cups with Liverpool, but I feel he never gets the recognition that he deserves.
9) Do you expect to stay up this season and where do you need to strengthen in January? Will there be funds?
On current form, I do expect to stay up. We still have a nightmare of a fixture list over Christmas, but by then we hope to be a very well developed team, and the game against you will tell us a bit more about what we can expect to happen.
10) What is your all time Watford Xi with manager?
Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo, Luther Blissett, Tommy Mooney, Craig Ramage, John Barnes, John Eustace, Marco Cassetti Lloyd Doyley, John McClleland and Tony Coton.
They are my favourites. It’s a very attacking team, but it’s got grit, flare and swagger in the midfield, plenty of goals up front and a legendary defence and the hardest and unbeatable goalie EVER!