Manchester United were held to a goalless draw at home to lowly Watford at Old Trafford on Saturday, denting their hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League.
The result leaves United on 47 points in fourth place, two points ahead of Arsenal but the Gunners have three games in hand and the dropped two points could prove crucial in United’s attempt to get into next season’s Champions League.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were booed off the field at the end of the draw against relegation-threatened Watford having failed to test visiting keeper Ben Foster enough.
Cristiano Ronaldo struck the post in the fifth minute with a shot on the turn and then had an effort ruled out for offside.
The former Real Madrid forward turned in a low cross from Alex Telles but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.
Former United keeper Foster was out quick to foil Bruno Fernandes as he threatened and the Portuguese midfielder was then unable to find the target with a volley from a central position and a back post header.
Watford were limited to occasional counter attacks but, from the best of those breaks, Emmanuel Dennis’ shot hit Raphael Varane and bounced harmlessly to David de Gea.
United winger Anthony Elanga wasted a good opportunity after the break, firing wide after being put in by a flick from Paul Pogba but Roy Hodgson’s Watford defended with tenacity.
Interim United manager Rangnick was left to rue his team’s finishing.
“We did everything apart from score. It’s hard to take that result. In the end, if you miss that many chances it is difficult to win the game. We were in full control for almost the whole game, we didn’t allow them hardly any counter attacks,” said the German.
“We need to be sharper in front of goal, you can hardly create more chances than we did today. In the end it is a very frustrating afternoon,” he added.
Hodsgson, who took over from the sacked Claudio Ranieri last month was pleased with the spirit his team had shown.
“We grafted so well and played well enough to deserve the point as well,” said the former England boss.
“You always know that Manchester United are going to have a lot of the ball. On the one or two occasions they managed to get a strike on goal we have a top-class goalkeeper who made two or three good saves,” he added.
Before the game both teams had gathered behind a banner featuring the word ‘peace’ in several languages, held by Rangnick and some United fans waved Ukrainian flags.
Watford remain next to bottom on 19 points, three points behind 17th placed Everton.