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Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford and Lukaku lead the line against Southampton; Dalot on the bench, Pogba starts

Manchester United travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It is an opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s side to build some confidence ahead of a busy December, which will see United face both Arsenal and Liverpool, by which time, this side will need to have players firing them to glory. United had been struggling to find goals since the international break, drawing 0-0 with Crystal Palace last weekend and only managing to score against Young Boys in added time.

Currently, United sit in seventh place in the Premier League but that could change with five matches kicking off before United’s with the Saints. On Sunday, teams above United go head-to-head with Tottenham Hotspur facing Arsenal and Liverpool facing Everton. At least two of these teams will drop points. Like last weekend with Spurs beating Chelsea, United had the opportunity to shorten the distance between them and Chelsea but failed.

If United beat Southampton, which they should be capable of doing, they would go two points clear of Everton, who play on Sunday. If Liverpool beat them, United could be inside the top six, which gets them heading in the right direction. Arsenal, currently in fifth place – six points clear of United, could lose to Spurs and if United beat the Saints, that gap could be down to just three points and with Arsenal next up for United, could see a good game in the offing. That could see United on the rise but it will not be easy.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Jones, McTominay, Shaw;

Herrera, Matic, Fellaini;

Pogba;

Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Fred; Martial

United are a team with players capable of scoring goals. However, this season, that has been alien to this squad. In their last two matches, United have scored just once in 180 minutes of football. Granted, the teams have created a lot and individual players have had frustrating matches but it should be so much better for United. Without scoring goals, victories, which will be needed this season, will be much harder to grasp. It is time United stood up, held themselves accountable and got stuck in to scoring goals.

Romelu Lukaku has played a total of 949 minutes of football for United since his last goal. If the Belgian starts on Saturday, which with injuries will probably happen, he could find himself heading over the 1,000-minute mark, which would be a new low for the club, the manager and the player. United will need to find a way out of the rut they have got themselves in. It is not looking good for the manager right now, which means it will not look good for any of these players, especially if a new manager was forthcoming.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, United have now had three permanent managers in David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho. The fact that similar problems have encountered each manager would suggest that the main underlying problem is something that he outstayed the two former manager’s. Whether that be the players that have played under all the managers, the board, the executive vice-chairman of the club’s owners, that remains to be seen. It would be unfair to lump everything on the manager.

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