This Saturday Manchester United travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton. The Saints have failed to beat Manchester United at St Mary’s since 2003. However, the form that the red devils are currently in, any sort of result is possible in this game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are facing their first major injury dilemma, with former Saint Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial both set to miss the tie. With Brandon Williams playing with the under 23s on Friday night Ashley Young seems the most likely candidate to step in at left back. The forward positions seem a bit more unclear with which direction Ole would like to go. I expect Marcus Rashford to start down the middlem in centre forward role – this is the type of game that you need Marcus to perform against if we are expecting goals from him. Martial’s injury means the onus is on Rashford as he remains our most senior attacker … crazy right ?
After a standout performance last weekend, I don’t think James should be being dropped, so I’d like to see him start on the left of the front three – where he scored his goal from against Palace. Greenwood was anonymous at the weekend due to the lack of creativity so I think a start on the right is the most obvious option.
The two in midfield ahead of the defence pick themselves, Scott and Paul have not put a foot wrong this seeason. In the system they are in I thik they are working well. The change I would make in this game has to be in the creative position and with Angel Gomes in the U23s, Andreas Pereira has to start. Jesse Lingard is woefully out of form and is really proving to be a liability in midfield especially against teams that like to absorb pressure. As Southampton play with a quick counter after absorbing pressure, we need somebody in that psition that can unlock defences, making Pereira vital.
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Both games against Southampton were thrillers last season. The same fixture last season ended 2-2. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford were enough to save Mourinho from the embarrasment of going 2-0 down early in the game. Mourinho however remained frustrated that United did not win the game claiming a lack of “Mad dogs” in theUnited dressing room. The second game saw us beat Ralph Rasenhüttl’s Saints 3-2 in a game that seemed to only allow goal of the season contenders. An absolute stunner from Pereira won us that game at old Trafford.
Southampton have picked up 3 points from their opening 3 and one of their more eye opening results was a loss away to Burnley on the opening weekend. Usually their key man would be Nathan Redmond but he has been ruled out after an injury midweek in the Carabao Cup. Instead, Southamptons set piece specialist James Ward-Prowse is always a danger in dead ball situations. It is imperitive that both lateral and direct freekicks are faced with caution. Danny Ings is also a threat with his goal scoring potential, but hopefully Maguire and Lindelof can keep him quiet.
At the end of the day, despite all our problems Southampton are not a good side and will probably be fighting relegation this season. I did say that about palace but I’d lie to think that this United side has the minerals not to embarrass me like that agaid so I’m going to say 3-1 to Manchester United.