Report: Clean sheet for Romero after boring draw at St Mary’s

Manchester United draw 0-0 with Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. It was like the team just did not want to win, not that anything could have been gained from winning anyway, other than getting rid of the mentality they have graced during the last three Premier League matches, including this one. One more match to play in the Premier League, then the UEFA Europa League final for United. They need to be ending their season in glorious fashion, rather than setting up to defend.

Jose Mourinho made four changes from the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday with Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all returning to the starting XI. United did not start the match all that well with Eric Bailly giving away a penalty which Manolo Gabbiadini took and Sergio Romero saved. Bailly then helped United get forward, trying to find a goal for United, seemingly trying to right his wrong from moments before. In the tenth minute of the match, Oriol Romeu was booked for a challenge with United winning the free-kick around the halfway line. United had a few chances on goal, just not getting anything early doors in the match.

In the 20th minute of the match, Mkhitaryan had a shot, which was put out for a corner, nothing coming of it, which was a shame. Southampton then had a spell on the ball, gaining ground and keeping possession in the middle third of the pitch looking to create some space to go for goal. Cedric Soares had a chance to get something for the home side, but his attempt was wide of the target with United getting a goal kick. Cedric again got through, but United thwarted that chance through Fellaini, dispossessing him and clearing the threat. United and Southampton seemed to be nullifying each other with not much to make of the game so far. United had a good chance which was created by Wayne Rooney with Anthony Martial on the advance, but he could not get a good first touch on it.

Towards the end of the half, the momentum of the game slowed down with nothing happening for either side. In the last minute of the half though, United got an attack going with Juan Mata on the advance, but his shot deflected back to midfield with the referee blowing the whistle for the end of the half. It was all square at St Mary’s with all to play for in the second half. United need to win, turning the tide from their last two defeats hoping to change the mentality with an important UEFA Europa League final coming up in just a weeks time. There were no changes made at the start of the second half for either team, both looking to get all three points in the bag ahead of the final Premier League matches which will all be played from 14:00 BST on Sunday.

The play in the second half so far was similar to the end of the first half, neither side taking control of the match. In the 51st minute of the match, Phil Jones gave a free kick away to Southampton for fouling his man after Martial did not do enough to keep the ball at the edge of the box. Jones seemingly taking one of the team to prevent it from costing United. The free kick came to nothing for the home side. Southampton had another chance through Romeu, but Romero made the save to keep his side in the match. The Argentinian seems to have control of his area, playing well and being on par with most things which threaten his goal. Eleven minutes into the second half and 40% of the action has been in United’s final third with the home side threatening.

Just before the hour, Southampton had another chance to break the deadlock through Jack Stephens, but United, albeit luckily, did what they needed to do to clear the ball. Moments later, the home side forced another good save from Romero, who dived at full stretch to clear the threat, giving away a corner, which was cleared by Fellaini. Maya Yoshida had a chance to take the lead for the home side, but Jones stopped his man from scoring. Another corner for the home side, again cleared by Fellaini, but Southampton had the ball at the edge of United’s area. In the 64th minute of the match, Michael Carrick replaced Axel Tuanzebe as United’s first substitution of the evening, not long after Gabbiadini was replaced by Jay Rodriguez for the home side.

United made their second change of the evening in the 69th minute with Marcus Rashford replacing Mata, who went straight down the tunnel, without a physio alleviating fears he might be injured. Moments later, the home side made their second change with Jeremy Pied replacing Cedric. United had a great chance in the 72nd minute with Anthony Martial hitting the post and Mkhitaryan hitting the rebound off target and into the stands. United made their third and final change of the match with Ander Herrera replacing Fellaini in the 75th minute of the match. In the 77th minute of the match, Southampton made their third and final change with Sofiane Boufal coming on for James Ward-Prowse.

Southampton had another chance to break the deadlock through Rodriguez from an offside position but missed the target. Neither the referee or the linesman gave the offside, though. With just under ten minutes remaining, it was still 0-0 with credible chances for both teams but nothing getting through for either team. Boufal had another chance in the 83rd minute, going for the top corner but his shot not being on target. United seemed to be inviting Southampton into their area, not looking to advance and try and score for themselves. Four minutes were added on at the end of the second half

Manchester United: Romero; Bailly, Jones, Smalling, Darmian; Tuanzebe (Carrick 64′), Fellaini; Mata (Rashford 69′), Rooney, Mkhitaryan; Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Mitchell; Lingard, McTominay

Bookings: Phil Jones 51′

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