Down The Wings

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5 Things: Manchester United vs Southampton Analysis

On Monday night, Manchester United failed to capitalize on Chelsea and Leicester’s shock defeats, but Michael Obafemi’s late equalizer means United stay 5th. Southampton took the lead after Pogba gave the ball way and Redmond squared it to Adam Armstrong who scored. United equalized through Rashford and just 2 minutes and 31 seconds later, Martial put the Red Devils ahead. In the second half, United looked tired and a Southampton equalizer looked inevitable and it came from a De Gea error, leaving Obafemi with a tap-in. Here’s the analysis:

1. Magic Martial!

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Anthony Martial has arguably been Manchester United’s best player this season and the Frenchman was in scintillating form again, scoring his 21st the season. Martial had an early chance one-on-one but was denied excellently by McCarthy. Martial assisted Rashford for the equaliser, showing great strength before having the composure to find Rashford, who scored. 3 minutes later, Martial put United ahead, cutting inside with ease and smashing the ball into the top corner. This season has been Martial’s most productive season in front of goal and his goal against the Saints was his 50th Premier league strike.

2. De Gea Dilemma!

David De Gea, since joining in 2011, has quickly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.  However, the Spaniard has started making mistakes and has been off form for the past couple of seasons. This has led to some fans and pundits saying he should be sold to make room for Dean Henderson, who is currently on loan at Sheffield United and has 13 clean sheets this season.

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Against Southampton, De Gea reached a milestone – his 400th premier league game, De Gea couldn’t do much about Armstrong’s goal 12 minutes in, and with 86 minutes on the clock, he made a stunning save to deny Redmond. But in the 6th minute of added time, De Gea was hesitant and showed indecision when dealing with a Southampton corner, In the end, he didn’t come out and deal with the cross, leaving Obafemi a simple tap-in.

3. Frightening Front Three!

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Manchester United’s attacking trio, Rashford, Martial and Greenwood have scored 58 goals this season, more than the impressive trio of Ronaldo, Dybala and Higuain (57) and Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino (54). United have been resurgent of late and their turn around in form has been courtesy of important goals from their attackers. When Solskjaer let Lukaku and Sanchez leave in the summer, many wondered where the goals would come from, however, Rashford and Martial have both scored 21 goals this season and 18-year-old, Greenwood has scored 16 in all competitions. Martial’s assist for Marcus Rashford’s equaliser was the 6th time the two have combined in the premier league this season – no duo has ever combined for more goals for Man United in a single premier league season.

4. Missed Opportunity!

United could’ve leapfrogged Leicester and Chelsea to go third with a win but Obafemi’s late equaliser means that the Red Devils stay in 5th. United knew that only a conventional top-four finish would guarantee Champions League football after City’s two-year European ban was overturned. However, despite dropping points, United’s fate is in their own hands, as they face Leicester on the last day of the season. Manchester United looked tired as the game went on but even if they do miss out on a top-four finish, United are still competing in the FA Cup and Europa League.

5. Romeu Red Card?

Southampton’s Romeu put a nasty, potentially leg-breaking challenge in on Mason Greenwood, however, the referee did not have a good view of the tackle and played advantage. VAR reviewed the challenge but did not consult the on-pitch referee, Chris Kavanagh. Lee Mason was in the VAR room and he was the one that deemed the stamp on Greenwood was not a red card offence. This is the latest in a long line of VAR mistakes this season.

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