Manchester United visit Watford in the Premier League on Sunday aiming to continue their recent upturn in form.
United’s 3-0 victory over Colchester United in midweek extended their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions and they will be eager to enhance that record at Vicarage Road.
The Red Devils head into the weekend sixth in the Premier League standings, four points adrift of the top four but with a favourable run of fixtures to come during the festive period.
All of the leading sports gambling sites make United odds-on favourites to win at Watford and it is difficult to argue with their assessment.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side have beaten both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in recent weeks, and can count themselves unfortunate to have been held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend.
Solskjaer still has a few injury concerns to contend with, but the situation could ease significantly over the coming weeks.
Diogo Dalot has returned to training and may figure in the squad at Watford, while fellow defender Eric Bailly is close to a return to first team action after eight months on the sidelines.
Marcos Rojo is expected to return in time to face Burnley on December 28, while Paul Pogba and Timothy Fosu-Mensah should be back in January.
United will face a Watford team who have enjoyed a miserable time of things during the current campaign.
They have picked up just nine points and look nailed on to be relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.
Nigel Pearson’s appointment as manager appeared an odd decision given his recent track record and United will rightly fancy their chances of collecting three points this weekend.
They have reeled off five wins in a row against Watford, a run which includes a pair of 2-1 victories in their league meetings last season.
The recent victories over Spurs and City lifted the mood around the club and fans are now looking forward to what appears to be a much brighter future.
Solskjaer has handed opportunities to some of United’s young players, with the likes of Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams all looking bright prospects.
With the January transfer window fast approaching and funds available to spend, United will head towards 2020 in an optimistic mood.
They follow up the Watford game with fixtures against Newcastle United (H), Burnley (A) and Arsenal (A) – all of which look winnable games.
A minimum 10-point return over Christmas and New Year shouldn’t be beyond United and that would set them up nicely to mount a top four challenge during the second half of the season.
Whether Solskjaer decides to spend big in January or wait until summer is up for debate, but the current crop of players have certainly given the club’s fans renewed hope.
Success in one of the cup competitions would be a great return for Solskjaer’s first full season in charge, although a return to the Champions League is undoubtedly the main aim.
United can be backed at odds of around 4/1 to finish fourth or higher this term and that looks a good value wager given their current form.