Manchester United welcome Southampton to the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League this afternoon. United hit back from their 7-0 humiliation to Liverpool last weekend with a 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg on Thursday evening. Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst all scored the goals in that match which gives United a three goal cushion in the second leg in Spain next week.
United sit in third place in the Premier League ahead of this weekends fixtures; four points ahead of fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur and seven points ahead of fifth placed Liverpool – both team play on Saturday with Liverpool facing Bournemouth and Spurs facing Nottingham Forest but neither can dislodge United from their position and United have a game in hand over Spurs, so they will be able to extend their lead at some point in the not too distant future.
Southampton sit in 19th place in the Premier League ahead of this match and will need wins to get out of the bottom three. That said, the bottom nine teams in the league are all at risk this season with six points from bottom to 12th so time will tell who can escape from the relegation zone this season. The Saints are heavily at risk because of their -21 goal difference. Bottom club Bournemouth have a -27 and Forest have a -24 – but they are five point better off.
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;
Antony, Weghorst, Sancho;
Heaton; Maguire, Malacia, Dalot; Fred, McTominay, Mainoo; Pellistri, Garnacho
Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Perraud;
Walcott, Alcaraz, Sulemana;
McCarthy; Caleta-Car, Salisu; S. Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Diallo; A. Armstrong, Onuachu, Mara
United and Southampton have met 47 times in the Premier League with United winning 29 matches, drawing 11 matches and Southampton winning seven. United have scored 99 goals, winning four penalties, scoring two. Southampton have scored 52 goals, winning one penalty, missing it. United will be seeking to get three points in the bag in the league at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday to keep their position in the top four secure this season, which is important.
United have kept 13 clean sheets with Southampton keeping six. Discipline has been an issue in this fixture with United players shown 67 yellow cards and one red card and Southampton players shown 74 yellow cards and three red cards. Southampton are 19th in the Premier League table prior to matches being played this weekend and they will be favourites for relegation. That said, there is a gap of six points between the bottom two and 12th position in the league.
Luke Shaw, Danny Wallace, Danny Higginbotham, Joe Jordan, Mark Hughes, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andrei Kanchelskis have all played for both United and Southampton over the years. Shaw is the only current player for United to have played at St Mary’s. Shaw made 67 appearances for Southampton before signing for United in 2014. He did not score any goals but got two assists at the club. Shaw has made 245 appearances for United, scoring four goals and 26 assists.
Written by John Walker