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Key Players and Battles: Harry Maguire, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood to be involved in key battles at Southampton

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.

Key Players: Both United and Southampton have some quality players in their squads but it all depends on how they perform during the match as to whether they will perform, for United anyway!

Manchester United: David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James

Southampton: Angus Gunn, Cédric Soares, Maya Yoshida, Jannik Vestergaard, Shane Long, Danny Ings, Ché Adams, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse

Key Battles: Harry Maguire, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood to battle against Danny Ings, Oriol Romeu, and Ryan Bertrand

Harry Maguire v Danny Ings

The central defender, despite an error against Wolverhampton Wanderers, has helped the club strengthen the defence, which was needed this summer. Three matches into his United career, the 26-year-old has done a lot for the club already. He is a strong tackler, winning 100% of tackles this season. He has made six interceptions, 16 clearance, nine of which have been headed. He has recovered the ball 16 times, also winning 17 duels, losing four of them.

Danny Ings, who has scored twice for Southampton this season, could have problems against the England defender, who will be looking to do his bit at St Mary’s on Saturday. Maguire will only become better at United. He’s a full international now and playing European football will be an experience for him this season, as will playing in a youthful team and being the more experienced head. Ings may need to be at the top of his game to get the better of this Englishman.

Angel Gomes v Oriol Romeu

Angel Gomes will be 19 on Saturday. What better way to celebrate his birthday than to start a Premier League match for United against Southampton? United are crying out for creativity in the midfield this season and Gomes can bring that. Hie small frame will see him use his skill and pace to get the better of his opposition, which he has done many times at U18, U19 and U23 level during his career at the club.

Having made his debut under Jose Mourinho at the end of the 2016/17 season, Gomes has not really played many minutes since and Solskjaer will need to change that, taking risks, which is the way Sir Alex Ferguson did things. Oriol Romeu is a defensive-minded midfielder for Southampton. He may not be tasked to mark Gomes, if he plays a part in the game, however, he may need to if he starts to produce for his club. Given time, he will do just that.

Mason Greenwood v Ryan Bertrand

The 17-year-old forward has been great at all levels in the United youth system. Having not played football ay U23 level this season, it is clear that Mason Greenwood is considered to be good enough for a place in the first team. Sir Matt Busby once said ‘if they are good enough, they are old enough’, which was a sign of the trust in youth that the manager had. Solskjaer seems to have a similar approach, although Greenwood has only played 39 minutes of football this season, in three appearances, it is clear he is in the plans of the manager.

With Anthony Martial out of action and the fact that Alexis Sanchez is now a confirmed Inter Milan player for the 2019/20 season, it is a clear indication for Greenwood to be given the chance from the start of the match like he was against Cardiff City in the final Premier League match last season. It could have been a great match for him if his shots were through on goal. However, he will have learned from that experience and will use it to get the better of his next opponent. Ryan Bertrand, Southampton’s left-back, could have his work cut out with the quick-footed teenager who has the killer instinct of a natural striker.

Opposition Scouting: Southampton licking their lips at Manchester United visit having positivity behind them after back to back wins

Southampton will welcome Manchester United to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon in the first Premier League fixture of the weekend, an early kickoff for both teams. Southampton did not start their season well with two defeats in their opening matches, losing 3-0 away to Burnley and 2-1 at home to Liverpool. However, negativity turned to positivity recently for the Saints, which will boost them for this match.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl will be seeking to continue the positivity after victories over Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0) and Fulham (1-0). Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will also be seeking to return to winning ways after last seasons poor performances reared their ugly head once again with some United supporters talking about Solskjaer’s record, suggesting that he should be sacked. It will be a long, tough season on Twitter!

Manager: Ralph Hasenhüttl

The 52-year-old Austrian has a long career in the game as a player, playing in Austria, Belgium, and Germany before retiring and becoming a manager. His final club was Bayern Munich II, ending his career at the end of the 2002/03 season. Hasenhüttl made eight appearances for his country also, scoring three goals. In 2007, he took his first management role at SpVgg Unterhaching in Germany, spending three years at the club before moving to VfR Aalen in 2011, staying for two years.

From 2016 to 2018, Hasenhüttl managed Ingolstadt 04 before spending two years at RB Leipzig. In December 2018, the 52-year-old became the permanent Southampton manager where he succeeded Mark Hughes. Southampton were a relegation contender at the time he took over and on the 27 April 2019, after a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth at St Mary’s, Hasenhüttl managed to secure his clubs Premier League status. They ended the season in 16th place. This season, Southampton will need to do so much better.

Tactics: The South Coast club has played in the 4-2-2-2 formation recently, both time heeding victories for the club. Will Hasenhüttl stick with this formation against United, or change it to 3-4-3 to close down the midfield?

In competitive matches this season, Southampton have played in three different formations; 3-4-2-1, 3-4-3, and 4-2-2-2. In the last two matches, which were both wins for the Saints, they played in the latter 4-2-2-2 formation. That might be something Hasenhüttl sticks with as they get ready to face United at St Mary’s, where he will be looking for three wins in his last three matches. Will keeping the same formation show Southampton’s stagnation and predictability? We will soon find out.

If you think about team sticking with the same formation, like United seem to be doing, teams will know how to break them down as it looks like there is no plan B. Hasenhüttl has plans to combat this, hence the use of three different formations this season. It is possible that he will change the formation to take more of a stock of the midfield, relying on the skills and pace of Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond to take United on the counter-attack, something United find it touch to contain.

Form: Southampton lost their first competitive matches this season but have won their last two matches after a positive pre-season. Beating Manchester United will be something they will aim for.

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*

Predicted Starting XI: Southampton to change formation to 3-4-3 in order to stagnate United’s midfield and control the game to win their third match in a row?

Match Prediction: Southampton will be largely positive after winning their last two matches, scoring three goals, conceding none. However, United will be coming off the back of a draw and a defeat, seeking to gain some respect once again. It could be tough.

Southampton 1-2 Manchester United

How Manchester United look against Southampton; Brandon Williams, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood to start?

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.

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

copyright: JW