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Preview: Southampton v Manchester United – Premier League

Southampton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St Mary’s, Southampton

Sunday 29 November 2020, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Graham Scott

VAR: Martin Atkinson Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they face Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be fresh from their 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir, which saw a brace from Bruno Fernandes and a goal each from Marcus Rashford (from the penalty spot) and Daniel James, who scored his first goal of the season and his first in the UEFA Champions League during his career, which will have been a big occasion for him. Southampton will have had more rest being that they played a day before United, despite United also playing on Saturday evening.

United will be seeking to end November on a high, especially with nine matches to play in December – five of those to be played in a 12-day period between the 17th and 29th December. Solskjaer will be looking to keep United on the right track, which they seem to be on right now after their defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir just over three weeks ago, winning their last three matches in a row. With December looking like an important month, Solskjaer will be seeking to put United towards the top of the table, which is a possibility. United are not a terrible team but they have been playing terribly, perhaps because of a lack of pre-season this summer.

Manchester United: WWWLLW

Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 L, Arsenal 1-0 L, RB Leipzig 5-0 W

Southampton: DWWWDW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Aston Villa 4-3 W, Everton 2-0 W, Chelsea 3-3 D, West Bromwich Albion 2-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has scored nine goal so far this season with Marcus Rashford scoring eight. Danny Ings has five goals for the Saints, but he is out of action through injury for this match and the next few that follow it.

Manchester United Goals: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United seem to have recovered form a season which has been mixed for them. In all competitions, they have won their last three matches; Everton 3-1, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 and Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 – scoring eight goals and conceding twice, also keeping one clean sheet. United sit in eleventh place in the Premier League after Newcastle United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Friday, which may chance again after Saturday’s matches are played. Solskjaer’s side should be seeking to increase their goal difference, which currently sits at -1 with all but one team above them in the positive numbers.

Southampton Goals: 5 – Danny Ings, 3 – Che Adams, James Ward-Prowse, 2 – Jannik Vestergaard, 1 – Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Djenepo, Oriol Romeu, Theo Walcott

Southampton have had a largely positive season and it will probably be one to remember for the clubs supporters. Nine matches played in the Premier League, winning five, drawing two and losing two, which saw them at the summit of the table in the past few weeks. They have a four-point cushion over United, so a defeat will not see United leapfrog them, which will be a positive. However, a defeat will derail their good form at this stage of the season, undefeated in their last six matches, winning four and drawing twice. The Saints will remain tricky opposition for United and both teams will be looking to not share the points, like last season.

Team News: Solskjaer could see up to nine players miss the match against the Saints at St Mary’s with the South Coast club likely to be without up to four players due to injury.

United currently have Phil Jones (knee) and Luke Shaw (thigh). Jesse Lingard (coronavirus), Paul Pogba (ankle), Scott McTominay (other) and Eric Bailly (muscular) all have 25% chances of being available for the trip to St Mary’s on Sunday. Victor Lindelof (lower back), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (ankle/foot) and Marcus Rashford (other) have 75% chances of being involved this weekend, which leaves Solskjaer sweating it out regarding his squad which will travel to Southampton likely to me missing a few faces. United have a big squad but some of these players are the first names on the team sheet when fit, so those missing will be missed.

Southampton currently have both Danny Ings (knee) and Nathan Redmond (thigh) on the sidelines and it is unlikely that either will play a part against United this weekend. William Smallbone (thigh) has a 50% of being involved and will be subject to a late fitness test with Mohamed Salisu (other) also having a 50% chance of being fit. It has been a good season for Southampton, who in the past few weeks have been to the summit of the Premier League table, currently sitting in fifth place (before a ball has been kicked), four points clear of United, who sit in tenth place. United, though have only played eight matches to Southampton’s nine.

Predicted Starting XI: Cavani to lead the line against the Saints? Van de Beek to keep his place after his fantastic performance against Istanbul Basaksehir? Fernandes’ magic to continue?

Solskjaer will have a selection predicament ahead of the visit to Southampton this weekend. United have a fair few injury problems, which could run into next week, or longer but there are many positives because of this. Edinson Cavani led the line well against the Turkish side, showing a different dimension to United’s attacking play. Donny van de Beek also had a brilliant match playing in the centre of midfield, which should earn him another starting place this weekend. With Victor Lindelof suffering a recurrence of his lower back injury, Axel Tuanzebe could fill the void with United’s defence back to bare bones once again.

Match Prediction: In 42 Premier League matches, United have won 26 times with the Saints winning seven time – nine draws. Last season, neither team won home or away. This match could be a thriller considering both team’s form at this moment in time.

United and the Saints have played a total of 42 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 26 times, the Saints have won seven times and the two teams have drawn nine times. United have scored 84 goals against the Saints; winning three penalties – scoring one of them. The Saints have scored 48 goals against United; winning one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept 11 clean sheets against Southampton with the Saints keeping six. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 55 yellow cards and one red card whereas the Saints have been shown 68 yellow cards and one red card.

In the last two Premier League matches played, neither team has won. At St Mary’s, which was played on the 31 August 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Daniel James opening the scoring in the tenth minute of the match and Jannik Vestergaard scoring the equaliser in the 58th minute. Kevin Danso was sent off (second yellow card) in the 72nd minute of the match. At Old Trafford, which was played on the 13 July 2020, it was a 2-2 draw with Stuart Armstrong opening the scoring in the 12th minute, Marcus Rashford equalising in the 20th minute, Anthony Martial putting United ahead in the 23rd minute and Michael Obafemi equalising in added time.

Southampton 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW

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