Sometimes the old cliche of "we go again" actually rings true - and after Watford's defeat at Old Trafford yesterday, it certainly does.

The Hornets competed well against Jose Mourinho's well-oiled Manchester United in patches, but were comfortably beaten, eventually, by the in-form Champions League chasers.

For 25 minutes, it was difficult to tell which side had a 15-game unbeaten league run to maintain; but when Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata clicked into gear, there was little the Hornets could do to stem the tide.

Goals either side of half time from two of the above, doubled with the hosts' building momentum, could have put the game out of sight from a Watford perspective.

But the Hornets have their fight back in recent weeks, and had Etienne Capoue connected with M'Baye Niang's cross, or Daryl Janmaat not ballooned another over David De Gea's bar, it could have been a different game.

All in all, it was a performance to be largely content with at the Theatre of Dreams,  if not the result to match against a United side brimming with talent.

Here's how we rated the Hornets at Old Trafford:

Heurelho Gomes - 7
Called into action a number of times in both halves and dealt with everything thrown at him, including fine saves from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan. One dodgy goal kick did nearly put Watford in trouble.

Craig Cathcart - 5
Looked like a rabbit in the headlights up against Martial's pace but with Watford's high line it was always going to be that way and needed more help. Got outpaced for the second goal before recovering, but then turned too easily for the finish.

Watford Observer:

Younes Kaboul - 6.5
Lost Ibrahimovic too easily in the first half but let off by a wild finish from the Swede. Later made a superb sliding tackle on Martial inside the box and largely solid.

Sebastian Prodl - 6.5
Generally his usual solid self but as United ramped up the pressure before half-time, wasn't quite as alert from the barrage of crosses which came Watford's way as he is normally.

Miguel Britos - 5.5
Hooked at half-time in a tactical switch with Mkhitaryan and Antonio Valencia enjoying far too much space and time down the United right. With the hosts exploiting the flanks well, looked a lot like a centre back being played at full-back, funnily enough.

Etienne Capoue - 6.5
Still looking more energetic than he did for much of the early part of the season, and broke up much of United's early play when Watford were matching them.

Tom Cleverley - 7
Moves the ball - well, cleverly - and has that bite in midfield that Watford have needed. Put in a shift, as always, and in some ways it's a shame he can't play 10 every week and influence Watford's attacking play even more.

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

M'Baye Niang - 7
Didn't see a huge amount of the ball but when he did, he used it well. Looks strong, direct and intelligent and beat Daley Blind with ease down the right in the second half.

Mauro Zarate - 6.5
Looked dangerous when Watford saw a lot of the ball in the United half early on before fading, understandably. A cracking free-kick after half time forced a good save from De Gea.

Jose Holebas - 6
One storming run and shot before the break was the highlight of his first-half attacking role, but wasn't hugely effective at left-back when moved there at the break.

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

Troy Deeney - 6.5
Had the beating of Eric Bailly in the air at times and put in a typically workmanlike performance at the head of the Hornets attack. Kept generally quiet as Watford did not exploit his aerial presence more.

Substitutes
Daryl Janmaat (for Britos, 46) - 6
Should have got Watford back in the game from Niang's cross. Was industrious, but didn't provide the added defensive strength his inclusion was intended for.

Stefano Okaka (for Zarate, 74) - 5.5
A couple of bustling runs, as is his way, but didn't see enough of the ball to affect the game.

Isaac Success (for Cathcart, 83) - N/A