GiveMeSport Live from Vicarage Road.
The absent Manchester United stars hogged the pre-match headlines: the Red Devils started this afternoon's Premier League clash against Watford without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Michael Carrick.
Talented Dutch youngster Memphis Depay had been out in the wilderness recently, but Louis van Gaal handed the 21-year-old the opportunity to spearhead his attack.
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Depay - a summer signing from PSV - has played on both wings and behind the striker throughout his early days in Manchester, but today truly represented an opportunity for him to prove his credentials.
Incredibly, it took him just 11 minutes to stamp his mark on the game: Depay volleyed home after a sublime cross from Spaniard Ander Herrera. The finish was top class as the left-footed strike emphatically found the roof of the net.
Depay joyfully made his way over to the away section, having doubled his Premier League tally for the season.
Buoyed by his goal, United's No.7 looked sharp throughout the entire opening period, winning free-kicks, constantly proving an irritant to the Watford backline.
Memphis is by no means your conventional lone striker, however; drifting out wide, always looking for space, the youngster was never going to be battling with the towering Watford defenders in the air, but he used his main attributes to his advantage.
Five minutes before half-time, the exciting talent almost doubled the Red Devils' lead. On this occasion, once again offering United an outlet, Depay cut in from the left wing and hit a fine strike, only for Heurelho Gomes to tap it out for a corner.
The Dutchman's attitude has been questioned at times this season, but today he played for the team and had that extra bit of class and magic to really express himself on the Premier League stage.
After a fine first-half showing, Depay was in no mood to relax at the start of the second period. United's dynamic forward played a classy ball through to Jesse Lingard, but the England international failed to take his big chance in front of goal.
From running off the last man to combining with Lingard and Juan Mata, Depay's class shone through. A role up top may well just suit him in his pursuit of success in Manchester.
As a striker - and as a player - Depay is by no means the finished article, of course, but he may well start proving his early season critics wrong over the coming weeks and months.
Direct, classy and confident, it was Depay's best Premier League display for United by some distance.
Manchester United fans: what did you think of Depay's performance? Have your say below!
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