Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give youth their chance against Southampton?

Southampton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St Mary’s, Southampton

Saturday 31 August 2019, KO 12:30 BST

Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Darren Cann; Daniel Robathan Fourth Official: Simon Hooper 

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

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.

Form: United in better form considering last six matches; Southampton with two defeats, United with just one.

Manchester United: LDWWWW (* denotes friendly)

Crystal Palace 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Chelsea 4-0 W, AC Milan 2-2 (5-4 on penalties) W*, Kristiansund 1-0 W*, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W*

Southampton: WWLLWW (* denotes friendly)

Fulham 1-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Liverpool 2-1 L, Burnley 3-0 L, FC Köln 2-0 W*, Feyenoord 3-1 W*

Top Scorers: United scored six competitive goals so far this season with Southampton scoring nine times, playing one more competitive match than United.

Manchester United: United were unbeaten in pre-season, winning five of their six matches in normal time, the final one on penalties. Solskjaer’s side started the season well with one win, one draw and one defeat. Solskjaer will need to get his team firing again.

Goals: 2 – Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford

Assists: 2 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

United started the 2019/20 season magnificently by beating Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford. In their second match, a visit to the Molineux, it was a 1-1 draw against Wolves, better than a 2-1 defeat, as were the last two visits in 2019. Last weekend, a 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace ended United’s unbeaten run with the squad needing to do more.

Southampton: The Saints had a pretty good pre-season but started in the Premier League poorly, losing twice, winning once, also winning their opening Carabao Cup fixture. Beating United this weekend will be something the squad will be setting out to do.

Goals: 2 – Danny Ings, 1 – Che Adams, Maya Yoshida, Michael Obafemi, Moussa Djenepo, Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Sofiane Boufal

Assists: 1 – Danny Ings, Michael Obafemi, Nathan Redmond, Sofiane Boufal, Stuart Armstrong

Southampton played five times in pre-season, winning four matches, drawing the fifth. However, their start to the Premier League season was left to be desired with a 3-0 defeat away to Burnley and a 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool. A 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend was followed by a 1-0 Carabao Cup victory over Fulham.

Team News: Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw out of the visit to Southampton on Saturday. Solskjaer has three other players on the sidelines due to injury. Could youth be his saviour?

Solskjaer will be without both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial after they both became injured in the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend. Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are all on the sidelines at this moment in time also. Ashley Young might play at left-back or Solskjaer could call upon youth to fill the void.

Brandon Williams has been playing well at left-back for the U23s and if he is left out of the match against West Ham United on Friday, he could well be in the squad for the visit to Southampton. Also, the likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner could add some depth to Solskjaer’s new look United squad.

Alexis Sanchez is close to completing his loan spell to Inter Milan this summer with Chris Smalling also on his way to Roma for the season. It is clear that Solskjaer has made changes to this squad, just like he said he would. The likes of Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian could also leave before the European transfer window closes on Monday.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes and Brandon Williams to be called into the squad to face Southampton with injuries to Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw, alongside the lack of creativity Jesse Lingard provides.

Solskjaer probably was not thinking about making too many changes for the fourth match of the season but with the fact that both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial are both on the sidelines, added to Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, and Tim Fosu-Mensah, changes will be necessary. Ashley Young will most likely play but calling up Brandon Williams will be much better. The likes of Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood should start.

Match Prediction: Solskjaer will need to ensure victory away to Southampton ahead of the first international break of the season. Tensions will be mounting ahead of South Coast trip though.

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.

Southampton 1-3 Manchester United

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.