Manchester United facing first 3-game run of away league losses since 1996
Manchester United will try to avoid losing three consecutive Premier League away games for the first time in more than 20 years when they head to Vicarage Road on Tuesday to face Watford.
United, who lost at Huddersfield Town on Oct. 21 and at Chelsea on Nov. 5, last took a third successive Premier League away defeat on Jan. 1, 1996, when they fell 4-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. They recovered from that dip, which also included losses at Liverpool and Leeds United, and lost only once more in their final 16 league games -- at Southampton -- as they claimed their third title in the competition's first four years.
The only other time United have lost three consecutive Premier League games away from home was during the 1994-95 season, when they fell at Leeds, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday in the first two months. They were pipped to the title that season by Blackburn Rovers, with United's 1-1 draw at West Ham United on the final day leaving them one point behind the winners.
Should United lose at Watford, they will immediately be in danger of losing four consecutive Premier League games for the first time as they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Following a 2-0 victory over West Ham on Nov. 19 and a 3-0 win at Newcastle United on Saturday, Watford enter Tuesday's game seeking to win a third consecutive league game for the first time since December 2015.
Their 21 points from 13 games mark their best start in the Premier League, which they are competing in for the fifth time. The last time they claimed as many points at that stage of the season was in 1982-83, when they finished second in the old First Division -- which became the Premier League in 1992.
At the same time, Watford have lost 12 of their last 13 games against United in all competitions, with their lone victory earned last season -- a 3-1 win at home on Sept. 18. The last time they kept a clean sheet against United was on Sept. 16, 1986, with Tony Coton, who later spent a decade as United's goalkeeping coach before retiring from that role in 2007, in goal for Watford that day.
United, meanwhile, kept a clean sheet against Watford in the teams' meeting at Old Trafford on Feb. 11, with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial scoring in the 2-0 win. In fact, the loss at Vicarage Road last season marked the only time a team managed by Jose Mourinho has failed to keep a clean sheet in a Premier League game against Watford, with the other two victories occurring while he was the boss at Chelsea.
Mourinho's counterpart on Tuesday, Marco Silva, was appointed as Watford's manager during the summer. Hired by Hull City on Jan. 5, then leaving in the summer after they failed to avoid relegation, Silva has won 12 games in the Premier League -- only four fewer than Mourinho has during that period.
One player who could help Silva add to that total is Richarlison, the Brazilian midfielder who moved from Fluminense just before the start of the Premier League season. The 20-year-old has contributed to seven goals -- scoring four and assisting on three -- in his last eight Premier League appearances.
Meanwhile, United's Romelu Lukaku appears set to make his 200th appearance in the Premier League after avoiding a charge of violent conduct following a 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Lukaku, who has scored 93 goals in the Premier League, scored seven goals in his first seven games for United in the competition but has scored just one goal in his six Premier League games since.
Only 10 players have scored more goals than Lukaku in their first 200 appearances in the competition, with Alan Shearer, who scored 145 goals during that span, leading the way.
Follow ESPN Stats & Information on Twitter @ESPNStatsInfo