Watford v Man United: Ronaldo set to sting Hornets after Portugal frustration
Spectacular has quickly become the norm for Cristiano Ronaldo back at Manchester United.
Despite being criticised in some quarters, the 36-year-old has taken to rescuing United with late heroics like a duck to water.
The superstar has nine goals already this season but his Old Trafford comeback has come with plenty of frustration and a mixed bag of results.
After a heartbreaking stoppage-time defeat to Serbia saw Portugal miss out on automatic World Cup qualification, we look at Ronaldo's campaign so far and judge whether Watford should fear a backlash on Saturday.
It has not all been plain sailing for CR7 since returning to Manchester.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United have looked a side short of rhythm or an idea of how they want to play and certain critics have blamed Ronaldo's signing.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: "I wouldn’t say it was a mistake but certainly some emotional impact was in there because he has been a fantastic player.
"I believe Ronaldo can still score you the goals you need. Can he repeat it every three games, very high-intensity games?
"When you buy a player like that, the secret is the balance of the team.
"To play Ronaldo, he can win you games, but you need to create the balance around him."
Ron does the talking
Despite United's struggles, Ronaldo has come to Solskjaer’s aid on more than occasion.
He has produced a series of barely believable moments to keep them riding high in the Champions League.
A stoppage-time winner against Villarreal and a fantastic header to secure a 3-2 win over Atalanta have been among the highlights.
But it was the perfectly executed volley in the last minute at Atalanta to secure a 2-2 draw that encapsulated his impact.
When the chips are down and everything appears lost, Ronaldo is still able to conjure up magic out of nothing.
It is little surprise he was a key figure in the 3-0 win at Tottenham last month, when he scored his first league goal since the comeback win over West Ham in September.
The Portuguese veteran has also hit back at criticism of his displays.
Speaking recently, he said: "I know when the team needs my help defensively.
"But my role in the club is to win, help the team to win and to score goals — [the defensive side] is part of my job.
"The people who don't want to see that is because they don't like me but to be honest I'm 36, I win everything so am I going to be worried about the people who say bad things about me? I sleep good at night.
"I go to my bed with my conscience very good. Keep going with that because I will still close mouths and win things."
There is no doubt it will be a frustrated Ronaldo taking to the pitch at Watford on Saturday.
That victory over Spurs was sandwiched by home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City prior to the international break.
And his trip away with Portugal was far from successful.
After a draw against the Republic of Ireland and the defeat to Serbia, Ronaldo and his countrymen must now reach next November's World Cup in Qatar via the play-offs.
Playing one of the Premier League’s worst defences could prove just the tonic the former Real Madrid and Juventus icon needs.
Watford have shipped 19 goals in 11 top-flight games, with Liverpool putting five past them at Vicarage Road.
Claudio Ranieri’s troops will be on red alert come 3pm on Saturday.
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