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Match Preview: Southampton vs Manchester United

Southampton vs Manchester United

Top of the table following the first round of fixtures in the 2021/22 Premier League season, Manchester United impressed in their 5-1 drubbing of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United last weekend.

They now travel to Southampton on Sunday afternoon; their first away match in front of a full stadium since they faced Derby County in the FA Cup in March 2020.

The Reds maintained an unbeaten away record for the entirety of their league campaign last season, so it will be fascinating to see if they can keep up that form when fans are back in grounds.

In this fixture last season, United came from two goals behind to win 3-2 in the 92nd minute, thanks to a brace from Edinson Cavani.

How do Manchester United look?

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The two names on every United fan’s lips ahead of the trip to the South coast are summer signings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

The duo were both presented to the Old Trafford crowd last weekend against Leeds, with Sancho coming off the bench to make his debut, whilst Varane watched from the stands, following his transfer announcement before kick-off.

Sancho is the more likely of the pair to start at St Mary’s, as he already has some United minutes under his belt, whereas the Frenchman Varane may have to settle with a spot on the bench.

Speaking about the pair, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said “You’ll see on Sunday. They’ve worked well. They’ve had minutes. We’ve had a very good week ourselves”.

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Edinson Cavani, who was gifted an extended holiday over the summer, did not feature against Bielsa’s side, but is expected to be part of the matchday squad on Sunday, although may have a hard time displacing the impressive Mason Greenwood, who shone last weekend.

One debate that rumbled on for the entirety of last season was the question of who Manchester United’s number one goalkeeper should be- David de Gea or Dean Henderson.

The latter has been struggling to recover from the effects of COVID-19 recently, but is now back in training, so the uncertainty is likely to continue once he is fully fit again, but for the time being, De Gea will remain the first-choice goalkeeper.

Opposition: Southampton

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The Saints had a somewhat busy summer transfer window, with the biggest news being that start striker Danny Ings departed for Aston Villa in a move that earned Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side a rather modest £25 million.

They have replaced the forward with 24-year-old Adam Armstrong from Blackburn Rovers.

The Englishman scored the opening goal in his side’s eventual 3-1 defeat away at Everton in the opening fixture of the season and will undoubtedly lead the line on Sunday.

Key Stats

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Against Leeds United, Paul Pogba became the first-ever Manchester United player to register four assists in one single Premier League match.

This is more than he achieved in the entirety of last season (three). The Frenchman’s future is still up in the air, but if he continues his current form, United will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Score Prediction

Southampton 1-4 Manchester United.

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