Predicted Man United XI v Watford: Key duo back from injury, Depay dropped despite improvement

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Things are looking up for Manchester United as they prepare to host Watford in the Premier League.

Three big victories in three different competitions – over Shrewsbury Town, FC Midtjylland and Arsenal – have eased the pressure on Louis van Gaal, and a new hero has been born in Marcus Rashford.

The 18-year-old striker has phenomenally burst onto the scene with four goals in two games, but will his place come under threat now that several more senior players are returning to fitness?

Here, CaughtOffside predicts how the Red Devils will line up at Old Trafford this evening…

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GK: David de Gea

Made his welcome return from a minor injury in Sunday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Arsenal.

RB: Guillermo Varela

As the Daily Mail reports, Matteo Darmian could be back in the frame for the visit of the Hornets, but Varela has been excellent over the last couple of games and deserves to keep his place.

CB: Chris Smalling

The England international is the second of three players who could make their returns against Watford, according to the Daily Mail. He has missed the last four matches with a shoulder problem.

Chris Smalling Man United

CB: Daley Blind

No player has started more league games for United this season than the versatile Dutchman. He has had at least five centre-back partners, but has remained pretty solid throughout the chaos.

LB: Marcus Rojo

The Argentine limped off after 55 minutes of the Arsenal victory after taking a knock on his ankle, but Van Gaal has explained to The Express that it is not a serious injury, and he could start.

CM: Morgan Schneiderlin

The defensive returns would allow Michael Carrick to move back into his natural position, but three games in six days could be too much for the veteran, and so Schneiderlin should keep his place.

CM: Ander Herrera

Scored his first Premier League goal since October against Arsenal, albeit with the aid of a big deflection. Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger are not yet fit to push the Spaniard for his spot.

AMR: Jesse Lingard

Memphis Depay has put in a couple of really encouraging performances this last week, but Lingard is trusted by Van Gaal and might get the nod because he provides more consistency and defensive industry.

Louis van Gaal Memphis Depay

AMC: Juan Mata

The Spaniard is enjoying a decent run in his favoured central position due to Wayne Rooney’s absence.

AML: Anthony Martial

Has missed United’s last two games with a hamstring injury, but the Daily Mail reports that he is ready to return. Equally comfortable on the left, so Van Gaal can accommodate both him and Rashford.

ST: Marcus Rashford

There have been some suggestions that Van Gaal could protect the teenage prodigy now that Martial is back to strengthen his forward options. But, four goals in two games – it is impossible to drop him!

Man United lineup v Watford

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