Heurelho Gomes 7
Couple of early nervy clearances but got better and more assured as the game wore on. Made a crucial, brilliant one-handed save to prevent a header from Zlatan Ibrahimovic from finding the back of the net when the score was delicately poised at 1-1. Came off his line, to the delight of his defenders, to take an Ashley Young cross off the head of Marouane Fellaini. The fact his first save came on 78 minutes showed you how well those in front of him defended.
Craig Cathcart 6
Looked slightly rusty and off the pace. Almost gifted United a route back into things with an undercooked first-half back pass but Sebastian Prodl bailed him out. It looks like Younes Kaboul will be vying with Cathcart for the one spot available spot in Watford’s back three.
Sebastian Prodl 9
His best performance in a Watford shirt as he won the battle of the top knots with Ibrahimovic hands down. And yet he might not have even started had Younes Kaboul been fit. He ended the first half with a magnificent recovery tackle on Ibrahimovic and started the second by exerting his dominance over the Swede twice more, winning a towering header and then a midfield tussle. Nodded one header across the face of goal in the first half that Deeney, in Gascoigne-esque fashion from Euro 96, came within a whisker of sliding in at the far post. Eric Bailly cost United £30m yet Prodl was head and shoulders the best defender on the field.
Miguel Britos 6
Clattered Ibrahimovic inside two minutes to lay a marker down but his most telling contribution came at the other end when he dispossessed Anthony Martial from a corner, allowing Janmaat the time and space to get to the byline and tee up Etienne Capoue for the opener.
Daryl Janmaat 7
Such a threat down the right. Slung over a left-footed cross that Troy Deeney almost found the far corner with and then showed awareness to cut the ball back along the floor for Capoue to sidefoot the opener past De Gea. Departed through injury not long after he had picked out Odion Ighalo with a raking cross-field pass. Since his Premier League debut in August 2014, no other defender has provided more assists.
Valon Behrami 7
The amount of unseen dirty work he did in front of the back four will have been hugely appreciated by his teammates. He was alive to cut out a threaded pass from Luke Shaw in the first half, pinched the ball off Marcus Rashford and took one in the face off Ashley Young. Recycled possession well when deployed as the last man from the corner.
Etienne Capoue 7
The best languid and leggy French midfielder on show, which is saying something when the other cost £89m. Capoue’s goal return – four from five shots on target – must surely be attracting the attention of Didier Deschamps and be close to earning him an international recall. From looking like he was never going to score, he’s gone to looking like he’s never going to miss.
Roberto Pereyra 7
Slightly subdued but was brilliant in the closing stages, pulling the ball back for Juan Zuniga to stroke home and then drawing foul after foul in the corner as Watford took the sting out of the game. One piece of play really caught our eye, which was the way he cut out a first-half pass that would have sent Marcus Rashford streaking clear. Players of his ability usually shirk their defensive responsibilities. Not Pereyra.
Jose Holebas 8
Defended excellently, particularly in the first half when he made a perfectly-timed challenge on Anthony Martial and then blocked a cross from Antonio Valencia. The nonchalant backheel to Britos was a sign of the confidence he’s now playing with after a sustained run in the side.
Troy Deeney 6
Did more enforcing that anything else, particularly in a second-half spat with Pogba. Not the same force he was in the air and still not as mobile as he should be but the penalty he rammed in would have been sweet, as it was his own goal that decided this fixture last season.
Odion Ighalo 5
It’s something of a running joke how the Nigerian is glued to his phone but he will not be using his device to watch a replay of one of the all-time Premier League misses. It seemed easier to score than miss. Did little thereafter and Isaac Success could have replaced him much sooner.
Nordin Amrabat 7
Mazzarri is spoilt for choice at right wing-back. Watford lost nothing when Janmaat went off, in fact you could argue Amrabat strengthened the team down the right. He enjoys the physical side of the game and he was at his best when he dispossessed Wayne Rooney in the centre of the park and then fended him off. His pass around the corner for Pereyra, in the build-up to the crucial second goal, was top class.
Juan Zuniga 8
Carlsberg don’t do late substitute appearances but if they did, they might look like the cameo the Colombian enjoyed off the bench here. He charged on, stroked a free kick out wide and then, three passes later, was on the end of a neat interchange to beat De Gea with a shot into the far corner. He wasn’t done there, keeping up with Success to provide support, pip Fellaini to the ball and draw the foul.
Only on for a few minutes but continues to show what a handful he is off the bench for tiring defences. He tied Bailly in knots in the build-up to the penalty.