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MOTM: Phil Jones had a Man of the Match performance; Lukaku and Matic not far off that feat

Manchester United beat Southampton 1-0 at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon in what was a hard-fought match. Romelu Lukaku scored in the 21st minute after Fraser Forster blocked his first shot, the Belgian banging the rebound into the back of the net. It was a match which saw manager Jose Mourinho sent to the stands in the latter minutes of the match with four United players; Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera. Mourinho had made defensive changes with United showing the maturity needed to win the Premier League, winning the matches they dropped points in last season – this one being a 0-0 draw in the penultimate match in May last season. There were three challengers for the Man of the Match in this match, these being:

Phil Jones

Phil Jones started the season in great form for Manchester United, being the preferred Premier League partner to Eric Bailly and showing himself as one of the stand-out defenders so far this season. Jones has not started in the UEFA Champions League or the Carabao Cup with Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof preferred, giving Jones and Bailly a rest to find the form they need to in the league, which is where Mourinho is trusting the pair. Against Southampton at St Mary’s. Jones has a 90% passing accuracy, putting in three tackles – winning them all, having eleven clearances, which helped United under pressure having an all-round good performance in the centre of United defence. Jones, who has had a few injury-plagued seasons, seems to be getting over that, is trusted by the manager and that seems to have turned him into the player he is becoming.

Nemanja Matic

Since Nemanja Matic signed for United, he has been a player who has been worth the transfer fee, no matter how many supporters moaned about him not being the player they wanted. Now they may realise that FIFA 18 is where YOU CHOOSE your team, Jose Mourinho chooses the real team, that is something you have to get used to. Matic has been part of every Premier League victory and the draw to Stoke, also a player who helped United win in the Champions League almost a fortnight ago. Matic is a massive loss for Chelsea but a much bigger gain for United. As the season goes on, Matic will show just why Mourinho has brought him into his team and he could be one of the players responsible for number 21! Against Southampton, Matic has two blocks, two interceptions, three tackles, five clearances and made 42 passes. Before the match, a stat confirmed that he ran an average of more than 11 kilometres in each Premier League match, showing the guys class.

Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian striker scored his eighth goal in eight matches, showing just why Mourinho spent upwards of £75 million on him. Many will moan and have done, about the player not doing enough, but if it were not for his goals, United would not be in the position they are today. Romelu Lukaku has scored some crucial goals and will score more as the season develops. United are not reliant on the striker, seeing more goals coming from different positions on the pitch based on all matches players so far this season, so like last season, with United relying on Zlatan Ibrahimovic too much, that is not the case. Talking about the Swedish striker, when he is back, United will have bags of goals on the pitch or the bench, meaning United will prove themselves this season, something which they have needed to do for the last four, nearly five years. Against Southampton on Saturday afternoon, Lukaku scored the only goal of the game, had two key passes, three dribbles, winning 50% of his aerial duels and having a 33% shot conversion, which may not be great, but with three points in the bag, was good enough.

Conclusion

Manchester United won another match in the league meaning their unbeaten streak has lasted the first six matches of the season, which is much different from last season. United are in much better shape but you will still find so-called supporters moaning as things should be better. In an ideal world, yes, they should be better, but we do not live in an ideal world. United have matched a record of 16 points in the league from the first six matches of the season, which shows this team is capable of achieving the things they crave, the Premier League title for a twenty-first time being one of those things. United will continue to perform this season. There are two away matches in the next week, away from Old Trafford seems to be where United do not entertain with goals galore, but that should not be expected. It doesn’t matter much how you win matches, just that you win matches.

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