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Preview: Cavani and Greenwood tasked to find the goals against Southampton; Diallo to be involved from the bench?

Manchester United -v- Southampton

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 2 February 2021, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Ian Hussin, Darren Cann

Fourth Official: Lee Mason

VAR: Graham Scott Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

Manchester United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. United have been in poor form for the past two matches, losing to Sheffield United and drawing against Arsenal. United have been a different team away from home that at the Theatre of Dreams and this will be a big test for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season. United have been at the top of the league but currently sit in second place after Leeds United beat Leicester City in one of Sunday’s matches, leaving United safe, for now. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s sides form has dropped since the start of the season and he will be looking to bring it back.

Now that Liverpool are back to scoring, winning their last two matches in a row, United will be under much more pressure to keep their apparent title charge alive, even though the majority are against them winning the league this season, not that it is a possibility right now with just under half the season left to play. You cannot blame factions of the fan base from being positive though, as United have come a long way under Solskjaer than they ever did under Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes. Some will suggest that is rubbish as Van Gaal and Mourinho brought three major honours to the club during their time.

Manchester United: DLWWDW

Arsenal 0-0 D, Sheffield United 1-2 L, Liverpool 3-2 W, Fulham 2-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Burnley 1-0 W

Southampton: LLWWLW

Aston Villa 1-0 L, Arsenal 3-1 L, Arsenal 1-0 W, Shrewsbury Town 2-0 W, Leicester City 2-0 L, Liverpool 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes (16) and Marcus Rashford (15) lead the scorers for United, despite neither scoring in their last few matches. Danny Ings has seven goals for Southampton this season.

Manchester United Goals: 16 – Bruno Fernandes, 15 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, 2 – Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United need to go back to the basics in their game plans to find a way to win again. The club has achieved a lot over the past few months from rising up the league table to topping it and seemingly starting a title charge. The last two matches have been a disappointment, losing to Sheffield United and drawing against Arsenal which has left Manchester City in a good position to go clear at the top of the league. Liverpool have seemingly caught up too. Solskjaer will need to ensure he picks the right team and the right formation as things could do with being better right now. Some players are worryingly out of form too.

Southampton Goals: 7 – Danny Ings, 5 – James Ward-Prowse, 4 – Che Adams, 3 – Stuart Armstrong, Jannik Vestergaard, 2 – Theo Walcott, 1 – Jan Bednarek, Moussa Djenepo, Daniel N’Lundulu, Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu

Southampton started the current season well and rose up the Premier League table but over the past few months, they have slipped down to 11th place, which might be a worry for them. In the league, they last beat Liverpool, only beating Shrewsbury Town and Arsenal in the FA Cup, but losing their last two matches aghast Arsenal and Aston Villa. The Saints may worry about visiting Old Trafford, but with United’s form at their home stadium this season, they must have a small but of confidence that a result can be obtained from the clash. United will need to be at the top of their game and should be winning these matches.

Team News: Amad Diallo should be in contention to feature for United against Southampton after his two goals against Liverpool U23’s on Saturday; one players on the sidelines for United, two players have left on loan and one more expected to leave the club before the transfer window closes.

Phil Jones (knee) is the only player currently on the sidelines at United although Scott McTominay (stomach cramps) came off in the first half inn the draw with Arsenal, which might rule him out of the clash with Southampton. Facundo Pellistri and Jesse Lingard have both left the club on loan for the remainder of the season with Marcos Rojo also expected to leave the club before the closure of the January transfer window on Monday. United, aside of the above, will be ready and raring to go against Southampton. Hopefully, Amad Diallo scoring twice against Liverpool at U23 level could shoe him in for this match in some stage?

Kyle Walker-Peters (thigh), William Smallbone (knee), Michael Obafemi (surgery), Nathan Tella (thigh) and Mohamed Salisu (other) have all been ruled out of the clash with United. Jannik Vestergaard (knee) has a 50% chance of being involved against United but the match may come too soon for the player. The Saints will be seeking a good result at the Theatre of Dreams, which may or may not happen for them. United remains unbeaten in the last ten matches between the two clubs, winning five and drawing five. The last time Southampton beat United was on the 23 January 2016; a 1-0 victory at the Theatre of Dreams.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to lead the line against the Saints? Amad Diallo to come off the bench making his first team debut?

Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood should lead the line against Southampton on Tuesday evening. Anthony Martial is out of form and Marcus Rashford has not been the same player for much of January. I feel that both players will need to do more to be selected as they have both helped cause United’s poor form at this stage of the season. I would like to see Amad Diallo involved in some respect, probably not as a starter though but coming off the bench, late in the match could give him a bit of a breakthrough. His two goals against Liverpool at U23 level would have given him the confidence to succeed at United, also giving him the hunger.

Match Prediction: 43 matches in the Premier League between United at Southampton; United have won 27 times, drawn nine times and lost seven times.

United and the Saints have met 43 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 27 times, drawing nine times and losing seven times. United have scored a total of 87 goals, conceding 50 with United winning three penalties and scoring one with the Saints winning one and failing to score. United have kept 11 clean sheets with the Saints keeping six. United have received 55 yellow cards and one red card. The Saints have received 69 yellow cards and one red card. The past two matches have been frustrating for United, losing once and drawing once and not really threatening in front of goal much in those two matches.

Earlier in the season, with Southampton in much better form, United visited St Mary’s winning the match 3-2. Southampton led 2-0 with goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse at half time with Bruno Fernandes getting United back in the game in the 60th minute and Edinson Cavani scoring a late brace to give United all three points. At Old Trafford last season, it was a 2-2 draw between these two sides with Stuart Armstrong opening the scoring, Marcus Rashford equalising, Anthony Martial putting United in the lead for the first time in the match which led to Michael Obafemi levelling the score in added time.

Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

Written by John Walker

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