Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

5 Things: Southampton vs Manchester United

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Manchester United travelled to in-form Southampton, looking to close on the top four with a win. United had made a good start but went behind through some poor defending, with Ward-Prowse delivering an excellent corner, that was headed in by Bednarek amongst a cluster of players. James Ward-Prowse was involved in Southampton’s second too, planting a perfect free-kick past De Gea. United showed glimmers of quality but trailed 2-0 at the break. Solskjaer brought on Cavani at the break and it proved to be a masterstroke. Cavani scored the first goal – an excellent header. Before he assisted the ever-consistent Bruno Fernandes to equalise. If that was not impressive enough, in added on time, United snatched the late win, as Cavani headed home to make it 3-2. A hard-fought victory won by an incredible second half performance.

1. Cavani to the rescue

After a poor first half, United needed an excellent second half performance if they were to recover the three points and it was one of Solskjaer’s substitutes that came to the rescue – Edison Cavani. The Uruguayan was yet to really show the United fans what he could add to the side but against Southampton it was obvious. With Martial misfiring in front of goal, Cavani might just prove to be a regular in Solskjaer’s side from now on. Cavani scored two excellent headers and assisted Fernandes’s goal – it was an incredible performance off the bench by the strike. Cavani is the centre-forward that United have been lacking and if he can perform like he did on Sunday, then United may have found themselves the biggest bargain of the summer.

2. Questionable Defending

Whilst Manchester United enjoyed a brilliant second half and came back to win the game, it could have quite easily gone the other way because of Manchester United’s poor defending in the first half. It has become quite a feature of United this season, most evidently the incident leading to Demba Ba’s goal for Istanbul Basakseir. On Sunday, it was United’s defending for Southampton’s first goal, allowing Bednarek to easily score from Ward-Prowse’s corner. Against Southampton, it did not come back to haunt them, but if United do not either strengthen or improve defensively, then they will struggle to challenge both domestically and in Europe.

3. Impressive Away Run Continues

Manchester United extended their away form to 8 wins in a row. Whilst this statistic does not really give the full picture, it is a fantastic record, nevertheless. United have badly struggled at home with their first win at Old Trafford in the league coming against West Brom. But the Red Devils have combatted this with a winning formula away from home. Another excellent away victory that extends the run, hopefully United can continue this kind of form at Old Trafford if they want to continue to make up for their woeful start to the season.

4. A Game Of Two Halves

The classic clique was very much the case against Southampton – it was a game of two halves. In the first half United were poor, although they showed glimmers of quality, it looked as though they were going to rue missed chances early in the game. Ward-Prowse’s stunning set-pieces were the difference between the two sides up until the break, when United introduced Cavani. United came out inti the second half with much more purpose and desire and as the game progressed, they always looked the more likely to win the game. United were poor in the first half but excellent in the second half. However, against, with all respect to Southampton, a higher-quality of opponent, they might have been punished for their first half performance.

5. What Next?

Manchester United will be searching for that one remaining point that will get them qualified in the Champions League against PSG. Before they welcome fans back to Old Trafford for their match versus West Ham on the 5th December.

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