Manchester United will be seeking a return to winning ways as they head to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had their first defeat of the season, which gave a negative reaction from the clubs fanbase, turning on the manager and his record at the club. This fanbase is becoming reactionary in toxic fashion.
This will be the final match before the first international break of the season and Solskjaer needs to get his team to leave the South Coast with all three points. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl has turned negativity into positivity at the club by winning the last two matches, beating Fulham 1-0 in the Carabao Cup and Brighton and Hove Albion in the league. It could be a tough match for United. Anything less than a win is not good enough.
United has played Southampton 125 times with United winning 65 matches, drawing 32 and losing 28 times. Southampton last defeated United on the 23 January 2016 in the Premier League, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford. In the last seven meetings, United are undefeated, winning four times, drawing three times. A win is important for United.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish goalkeeper made a mistake against Crystal Palace which resulted in the away side sealing their 2-1 victory at Old Trafford last weekend. I don’t think it would be fair to drop the 28-year-old yet but if off the field problems regarding the supposed renewal of his contract are causing problems and he continues to frustrate with mistakes that he really should have overcome by now, then it might be time for Sergio Romero to be granted a chance to bid for the number one spot in the team. However, I think De Gea will find his feet and raise his game. He will need to if he is to be considered Spain’s number one goalkeeper.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams
Three matches played this season, one clean sheet and three conceded goals will mean that United need to solve defensive problems before they face the tougher teams such as Liverpool and Manchester City. With Luke Shaw on the sidelines through injury, Ashley Young will most likely start but it did not work last season. In which case, 18-year-old Brandon Williams should be called into the first team as he has been doing well at U23 level. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has been called into the England squad for the first time, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will all keep their places in the team for the visit to Southampton.
Midfield Three: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Angel Gomes
The 4-2-3-1 formation has not worked out for United this season, taking into account that the draw against Wolves and the defeat to Crystal Palace and United not looking the best team on the pitch, despite their domination of the ball. Playing three midfielders is best for now, in a 4-3-3 formation. Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba should keep their places with the addition of Angel Gomes, who really should have started ahead of Jesse Lingard last weekend. Hard work and creativity will be the key in this formation, of which all three players are capable of.
Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James
Solskjaer needs to change the formation of his team if he wants to get them firing in the goals. Reverting back to the 4-3-3 formation is best for now. Mason Greenwood should start on the right-wing for United with Daniel James playing in his favoured left-wing with Marcus Rashford playing as the striker with Anthony Martial on the sidelines through injury. There is a lot of pace here and goals will be coming if the creativity from the midfield is good enough.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred; Tahith Chong
United will need to get the bench right. With Anthony Martial out of action and not other attacking players in the squad, utilising youth will be necessary to fortify the bench. Tahith Chong will be the attacking player to be included. The likes of Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Fred should complete the bench for the match against Southampton. Solskjaer will need to have his players ready for the challenge that Southampton will hand to them, otherwise, two weeks of negativity could follow another defeat.