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How Manchester United could look against Southampton; Fernandes and Pogba to help run the show? Greenwood to score again?

Manchester United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford tonight in their penultimate Premier League match at the Theatre of Dreams this season. Of course, they will be playing at Old Trafford another time in the UEFA Europa League at the start of next month. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking his team to extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches, putting pressure on Chelsea and Leicester City, leapfrogging them into third.

Since the restart, United have drawn 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur, beaten Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Aston Villa by 3-0 scorelines, also beating Bournemouth 5-2 in the Premier League, not to mention a 2-1 victory over Norwich City in the Emirates FA Cup a fortnight ago. Southampton will be a team aiming to stand in United’s way with Ralph Hasenhüttl looking to finish the season on a high.

How United have faired against Southampton in the Premier League.

United and Southampton have played 41 times in the Premier League with United winning 26, drawing eight and losing seven times. United have scored 82 goals conceding 46. United have kept 11 clean sheets with the Saints keeping six. United have been awarded three penalties, scoring one, with the Saints awarded one and missing it. In total, United have 54 yellow cards the Saints have 65 with both teams having one red card.

Back in August when the two teams met the first time this season, it was a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s with Daniel James scoring the opening goal in the tenth minute of the match, assisted by Scott McTominay. The Saints equalised through Jannik Vestergaard in the 58th minute, assisted by Kevin Danso, who was sent off with a second yellow card in the 73rd minute. At Old Trafford last season, United won 3-2.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Southampton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Monday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper has started to find some form after the restart and is not looking too shabby especially having kept 11 clean sheets this season, just two behind second-placed trio Alisson, Emerson and teammate Dean Henderson with Nick Pope top if 14 clean sheets. De Gea might not win the Golden Glove this season but he can at least catch up with some of his peers before the end of the season, holding his head high as United’s season has not been as bad as some make out.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

As Victor Lindelof started against Aston Villa on Thursday, he is clearly not suffering any recurrence of the back injury which affected him against Bournemouth. Solskjaer is tipped to not make any changes to his starting XI for the fifth match running, meaning that the Iceman will partner captain Harry Maguire with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw in the fullback positions. United will be seeking to keep another clean sheet and all three points in this match.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

This is the best two-man midfield that United can utilise at this moment in time. Nemanja Matic has been in top form recently and has complimented both Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, who has been playing in a more advanced position. Matic has recently earned a new contract at the club, which is what he deserves for his perseverance and never give up attitude. In the last match, Pogba scored his first goal of the season and hopefully the first of many more between now and when the season eventually finishes.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood

Blistering attack. This is what we are seeing now and with one or two additions this summer, it could be so much better, with a rotation option. Marcus Rashford has 20 goals, Mason Greenwood has 16 goals and January signing Bruno Fernandes scores his eighth goal of the season against Aston Villa, which has shown just what he has brought to the club. Many will mock the number of penalties that he has scored but jealousy gets you nowhere. This is the best supporting attack the club has right now.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman has scored 20 goals this season, matching what Rashford has provided and is just four goals ahead of Greenwood, who is coming on strong. Anthony Martial failed to score against Villa and when he was replaced, he was upset that he did not hit the target and his passion, which was on display in live television, excited every United support out there as this is the Martial that everyone has wanted to see for a long time now. The Frenchman is now developing into that player we all wanted him to develop into.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo

As Solskjaer looks set to keep the same starting XI, he will probably keep the same players on the bench too. I don’t think you will see Jesse Lingard involved in this match, or many others this season, not until United have reached their objective of a fourth placed finish in the Premier League, securing UEFA Champions League football. Sergio Romero will be the substitute goalkeeper with Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams available in defence. In midfield, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James and Scott McTominay could be called upon if needed with Odion Ighalo the only attacking player on the bench.

Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to keep the same team for fifth match as Manchester United tasked to beat the Saints

Manchester United -v- Southampton

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Monday 13 July 2020, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Sian Massey-Ellis, Scott Ledger 

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor Replacement Official: Jonathan Hunt

VAR: Lee Mason Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford in their penultimate Premier League match at the Theatre of Dreams this season. Of course, they will be playing at Old Trafford another time in the UEFA Europa League at the start of next month. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking his team to extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches, putting pressure on Chelsea and Leicester City, leapfrogging them into third.

Since the restart, United have drawn 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur, beaten Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Aston Villa by 3-0 scorelines, also beating Bournemouth 5-2 in the Premier League, not to mention a 2-1 victory over Norwich City in the Emirates FA Cup a fortnight ago. Southampton will be a team aiming to stand in United’s way with Ralph Hasenhüttl looking to finish the season on a high.

Form: United unbeaten in their last six matches, winning five and drawing once, continuing a 17 match unbeaten run to end the season on a high; Saints beaten twice, drawn once with three wins.

Manchester United: WWWWWD

Aston Villa 3-0 W, Bournemouth 5-2 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Norwich City 2-1 W, Sheffield United 3-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D

Southampton: DWWLWL

Everton 1-1 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Watford 3-1 W, Arsenal 2-0 L, Norwich City 3-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 L

Top Scorers: Danny Ings has scored 22 goals for Southampton this season, beating both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford by two goals, however, Mason Greenwood, Rashford and Martial outscore the Saints by one goal.

Manchester United Goals: 20 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 16 – Mason Greenwood, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are unbeaten in 17 matches, scoring 46 goals, conceding six times, keeping 12 clean sheets and driving forward in their bid to reach the top four of the Premier League. Chelsea have evaded United thus far with Leicester City being the team United have the chances of leapfrogging with just one point between them, at least before they face Bournemouth on Sunday evening, a day before United face Southampton.

Southampton Goals: 22 – Danny Ings, 5 – Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse, 4 – Stuart Armstrong, 3 – Shane Long, Michael Obafemi, 2 – Moussa Djenepo, Jack Stephens, 1 – Che Adams, Cédric Soares, Jan Bednarek, Ryan Bertrand, Sofiane Boufal, William Smallbone, Jannik Vestergaard, Jake Vokins

Southampton are currently in good form, recently beating Manchester City, which was a shock for the Premier League underachievers this season. It shows that this side can take on the very best of teams and get under their skin. With all due respect to the team placed 12th in the league, they are capable of performing to the best of their abilities. They will have United in their sights on Monday evening.

Team News: Jones and Tuanzebe still out for United – no other injury worries as Solskjaer gives impression no changes will be made; Southampton could be missing five players for Old Trafford visit.

Solskjaer will be without both Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones, as he has been since the restart of the league and other competitions this season. He has no other injury worries, which is what he confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Saturday morning, also indicating that he may not make any changes at all, saying:

“There’s so many things you have to consider when you manage a team. We’ve got players here champing at the bit, but also those that are in the rhythm.

“There are loads of decisions to be made, but they make it easier by playing and performing well. If we don’t get too many injuries, there’s no reason to change too much when you’re doing well.”

Southampton look set to be without four players with another subject to a late fitness test. Sofiane Boufal, Yan Valery, Nathan Tella, and Moussa Djenepo all look set to miss the visit to Old Trafford whereas the goalscorer from the last match, Jannik Vestergaard, will have to prove his fitness ahead of Monday’s match.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to stick with the same XI for the fifth match in a row? Why change something when it works?

Solskjaer has not made any changes to his starting XI for four matches in a row and has hinted that he will do the same against Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday evening with the Red Devils seeking to improve own their 17-match unbeaten run and take advantage of the fact that Chelsea could be there for the taking, alongside Leicester City in a bid for United to break into the top four of the Premier League.

Match Prediction: United have the momentum to keep their 17-match unbeaten run going with teams starting to wonder when Solskjaer’s team will stop this season.

United and Southampton have played 41 times in the Premier League with United winning 26, drawing eight and losing seven times. United have scored 82 goals conceding 46. United have kept 11 clean sheets with the Saints keeping six. United have been awarded three penalties, scoring one, with the Saints awarded one and missing it. In total, United have 54 yellow cards the Saints have 65 with both teams having one red card.

Back in August when the two teams met the first time this season, it was a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s with Daniel James scoring the opening goal in the tenth minute of the match, assisted by Scott McTominay. The Saints equalised through Jannik Vestergaard in the 58th minute, assisted by Kevin Danso, who was sent off with a second yellow card in the 73rd minute. At Old Trafford last season, United won 3-2.

Manchester United 3-1 Southampton

Morgan Schneiderlin says he ‘only has himself to blame’ for failure at Manchester United

Former Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin feels that he only has himself to blame for his failed move to the Old Trafford club. The Frenchman signed for United from Southampton in the summer of 2015 in a £25 million deal, arriving with former Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger – both nicknamed ‘Schmidfield’.

United were in the early stages of their transition which never seemed to come following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and at the time of his arrival it was suggested that United might actually have a decent midfield once against with the Frenchman and the German combining – however, it was not meant to be.

Schneiderlin arrived under the management of Louis van Gaal but he was sacked two seasons into his career with Jose Mourinho replacing him in May 2016 and a year later, the Frenchman was sold to Everton. The player does not have any hard feelings against the club or Mourinho and seems to blame himself for his failings, which is professional.

Schneiderlin made a total of 47 appearances at United, scoring one goal and one assist during his time at the club. After being sold to Everton, things did not work out for him there either, him making 88 appearances, scoring one goal and two assists. The player is now at OGC Nice in his native France. Speaking Nice-Matin about his time at United, Schneiderlin said:

“In terms of the commercial side, all the aspects off the pitch and on the pitch make it for me the biggest club in the world.

“It was a source of pride for me [to play there], an honour.

“I would have preferred my time there to be longer, that it took a different direction. But it is certainly my fault, I should have been more patient yet again.

“But I don’t regret it at all, it was a fantastic experience.”

The player struggled to hold down his place in the team following Van Gaol’s departure from the club and it is good to see a professional player holding himself accountable for the problems he faced, whether he means it or not. Of course, Mourinho could have been part of the problems but that could be between him and the player. On him leaving the club, Mourinho stated:

“Great professional, fantastic boy, very honest, very open and opens his heart a couple of times.

“My answer is simple: if he’s playing regular with me I have the right to say no way.

“”If he’s not playing regular I have no right to tell a player that wants to be happy – to say to a player you’re going nowhere.”

Everton soon came in for Schneiderlin when they were seeking to rise from the mid-table of the Premier League and make themselves counted, which is something that still has not happened yet. United recouped much of the fee they gave to Southampton for the player, which was a bonus. He became a first team regular again and is now back in France as a player for Nice, which he denies having involvement in the transfer, saying:

“I experienced several years in Manchester where it rained all the time. That never scared me. The number one criteria was football related.

“I wanted to leave already last year, I was close to doing so, but [Everton] held me back, saying that they were really counting on me for this season, but that they would allow me to leave the following summer.

“I said to the sporting director to close all other negotiations. I had chosen Nice and I was not going to go anywhere else. From that moment on, they were very classy.”

Confidence is the key for Manchester United to overturn poor August form and kick on in September, says Harry Maguire

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has suggested that the squad needs to have more confidence on the ball to take control in matches. United played four times in August, beating Chelsea 4-0, drawing 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace and drawing 1-1 with Southampton, the most recent match.

At St Mary’s on Saturday, United had 58.6% possession, having 21 shots on goal, eight of those on target, nine off target and four being blocked. Maguire, an England international, was once again partnered with Victor Lindelof if the heart of defence, which has been a good partnership so far this season, considering last seasons poor defensive record.

United took the lead against Southampton in the tenth minute of the match through a Daniel James strike on goal which caused a celebration with ‘James, James will tear you apart again’ roaring in sections of the United faithful in the crowd. It seemed like it could be one of those matches that United scored goals for fun. However, it was much different.

Maguire thought that United were a bit unlucky not to leave the South Coast with three points in the bag. With the number of chances that United had on goal, they should have been doing a lot more with the ball. Having eight shots on target should heed more goals that just one. Maguire, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“It’s another game we deserved to win. We created the majority of the chances and we’ve dropped two points.

“We gave the ball away far too much. We need to improve on that and show arrogance on the ball and be confident on the ball.

“We’re Manchester United and we want to control games.”

The £80 million signing from Leicester City has come on leaps and bounds since his move to United, in a bid to secure the defence and ensure they move on from conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone this season. Four matches in, with 34 remaining, United have conceded four goals, which will need to be curtailed.

The Saints had Kevin Danso sent off with around 17 minutes of the match remaining, which left United in control of the match, putting themselves forward in the search of a winning goal, which never came. Maguire feels that the energy and impetus that United showed is something that needs to be shown a lot more in the upcoming matches. He said:

“That’s how we should play all the way through the game.

“Seeing the confidence of our players when they went down to 10 men, it seemed like everyone wanted the ball and wanted to create a chance.

“We did enough in those 15 minutes to score a goal, we just needed to be more clinical.”

There is now a short break form top level club football with the first international break of the season. Maguire, along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will all be in action for England, as they face Bulgaria and Kosovo in the Euro 2020 qualifiers over the next eight days or so.

In September, United will be tested and they will need to overcome their inability to win matches, which has been shown in the last three in which United has drawn twice and lost once. Leicester City will be the first challenge followed by FC Astana in the UEFA Europa League, both matches at Old Trafford. Then, United face West Ham United away, Rochdale at home in the Carabao Cup, followed by Arsenal at home.

Solskjaer will have some time to come up with a plan to take on their rivals in the league this season. Having five points after four matches is not the best start but it could have been worse. There is something to aim for even more now and going on a winning run in September is something that will awaken the beast that is Manchester United.

August Review: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James star in mixed month for Manchester United

Manchester United played four matches in the Premier League during August, winning once, drawing once and losing once. United scored six goals, conceded three goals, kept one clean sheet, won four Premier League points, and found out their fate in the Carabao Cup and the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. August gave United time between matches but September, with the international break, will be busy.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw the season start in style with a 4-0 victory over Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Old Trafford seeing Marcus Rashford score a brace (one from the spot), Anthony Martial and Daniel James score a debut goal in front of the Stretford End. This was followed by a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux with Anthony Martial on the scoresheet once again.

Crystal Palace defeated United 2-1 at Old Trafford. Daniel James scored a consolation goal for United, in front of the Stretford End once again. It was a poor result for United. Against Southampton, a team United needed to hit back against, it was another 1-1 draw after Daniel James opened the scoring with United having many chances, unable to cause the home side many problems.

United also found out their fate in the Carabao Cup, where they will face Rochdale at Old Trafford in the third round of the tournament, and in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face FC Astana of Kazakhstan, Partizan Belgrade of Serbia and AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands in the group stages of the competition.

Marcus Rashford – four appearances, 355 minutes played, two goals scored and one assist.

Marcus Rashford started the new Premier League season well with two goals, one from the spot, against Chelsea in a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford. Rashford also got an assist against Wolves in the second match of the season, which ended his contribution, at least for goals and assists for the month. Rashford has a lot to learn and time to grow. Can he become a player that is capable of leading the line for United? We shall see.

Anthony Martial – three appearances, 270 minutes played, two goals scored and one assist.

The Frenchman was reunited with his number nine shirt after Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan this summer. It seemed to be a good thing as Martial scored the second goal against Chelsea at Old Trafford. He then continued that with a goal against Wolves. Against Crystal Palace, Martial was not a goalscorer but he got the assist before suffering an injury at the end of the match, missing the 1-1 draw with Southampton.

Daniel James – four appearances, 285 minutes played, three goals scored.

It was a great start to the Welshman’s United career. Scoring the fourth goal against Chelsea less than ten minutes after he made his debut, scoring in front of the Stretford End, Daniel James made his first start in the second match of the season, the draw with Wolves. He was not on the scoresheet in that game. Against Palace, he scored again, in front of the Stretford End, scoring the third goal of his career against Southampton. What a start for the 21-year-old who can now build on that confidence in international duty with Wales.

Notable Mentions: Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andreas Pereira.

During the first month of the season, there have been a few players whose performances need to be mentioned. Andreas Pereira got an assist against Chelsea, Paul Pogba has two assists to his name, both against Chelsea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has played four times for United, putting in great performances each time and Harry Maguire, who has largely been a rock at the back for the Old Trafford club. September will be a tougher month for this squad in their bid on the road to improvement.

Who is your Player of the Month for August 2019?

A look at what lies ahead in September…

In September, United will play five matches. After the first international break of the season, United start at home to Leicester City (14/9). The first Europa League match, at home to FC Astana follows (19/9), followed by West Ham United away (22/9). Then Rochdale at home in the Carabao Cup (25/9), ending the month with Arsenal at home (30/9).

What We’ve Learned: Daniel James is a star, Paul Pogba needs to improve, creativity lacking again, defensive weaknesses, and Mason Greenwood needs to start

Manchester United failed to return to winning ways against Southampton with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Welshman Daniel James opened the scoring for United just ten minutes into the match with a sublime effort on goal. Jannik Vestergaard equalised in the second half before Kevin Danso was sent off.

Daniel James was the Man of the Match for me because of his hunger and desire to do everything for United. He has now scored three goals in four appearances, which is great to see after making his Premier League debut earlier this month. His growth since signing for United has been good to see. He will be a key player this season.

United really need to find a way to get things done this season or it will be frustrating for everyone other than the ABUs. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Mason Greenwood regularly, he needs to be giving him more than ten minutes here and there. He’s clearly not ready to be the super-sub to find the goals that United need in order to win late in the game.

That will come for him in time. The pressure on his shoulders with a late substitution will do more damage than good. United need to develop his killer instinct and eye for goals, not frighten him and stunting his growth. More youth needs to be given the chance in this team this season; Angel Gomes, James Garner and Brandon Williams to name a few right now.

Daniel James is a great signing; he’s grown in confidence and becoming a star.

The 21-year-old scored again on his third start of his United career, his first goal on the road. He was the best player on the pitch and could have easily scored a few more goals, which is something he will learn from. Some of his teammates lacked the desire to find the winner against Southampton and the creativity was lacking in areas of the pitch.

James is a star and has matched Alexis Sanchez’s record at United with three Premier League goals in just three matches. When he scores two more goals, which is achievable this season, he will have matched Sanchez’s record at United in 18 months. The fans in the stadium sang; “James, James will tear you apart again,” after his goal, Cracking stuff.

Paul Pogba needs to buck up his ideas or face being dropped, if the manager has the balls to do it.

Paul Pogba had a bad game for United. To say he is a worldclass player is an embarrassment as it is clear that something is wrong somewhere. Yes, he wanted a new challenge as he stated in the summer. Real Madrid seemed interested in signing him, however, the fee that United wants for him, which is fair enough, is not going to be paid.

If Pogba realised that this is a professional game and all players need to be professional, he should take a leaf out of the books of other players who wanted to leave and were unable to do so. Matteo Darmian for example. After losing his place in the team three years ago, he wanted to leave. It never happened, until now, and he remained professional.

Darmian never once moaned, at least in public, about staying at United when his first-team football was going to suffer massively. He played seven times last season, seventeen the season before that. Pogba deserves to be dropped. United has done many things to accommodate him at the club and it still is not working. Maybe he expects to leave this summer?

The lack of creativity needs to be addressed by promoting youth who could embarrass some of the senior players.

When United played Chelsea, four goals were scored and it seemed to be the false dawn which led many to believe that things were falling into place. However, after a stagnant 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 1-1 draw away to Southampton since, it is clear to see the problems United face.

Creativity is a massive issue. Paul Pogba is not running the show like he could be doing. Scott McTominay is largely a defensive-minded player, which means the creativity needs to come from the three playing behind the striker and the fullbacks. Daniel James has done wonders, as has Aaron Wan-Bissaka marauding forward. However, something is wrong.

Jesse Lingard has been trusted to play in the number ten role. On his day, he’s a good player with pace. However, when you look at his creativity and goals scored, he’s out of his depth at United. There have been calls for Angel Gomes to take Lingard’s place since the Wolves match but he’s still not being picked, playing for the U23s on Friday evening, getting injured.

After the international break, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to find solutions for a few problems. Blooding in youth could help solve them. The U23s have ben playing some good football this season. Implementing the likes of Greenwood, Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner could be a masterstroke for creativity. It will be a gamble but it has a good chance of paying off.

United need to find a solution in defence. Supporters will moan that Chris Smalling has been loaned if a player has a bad game.

Victor Lindelof did not have the best of matches for United against Southampton. It might have been an off day for the Swedish international or a sign on weakness. Chris Smalling was loaned to Roma for the rest of the season this week, something that fans have already moaned about, despite wanting to be rid of the player this summer.

Now, loaning the player, who is now, apparently, the second-best defender at the club, is a mistake, despite it being a blessing. These supporters moan at anything and everything and will use this during the course of the season. They were even moaning about Alexis Sanchez being loaned, despite him scoring five goals in 45 appearances.

If Lindelof is having an off period, bringing in Axel Tuanzebe, who proved to be a capable defender both at Aston Villa last season and during pre-season. It will allow him to grow further as a player and develop into the defender that United will need to play next to Harry Maguire who is the first-choice defender to start this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to stop praising players if they are not going to be given ample playing time this season.

The United manager has praised Mason Greenwood many times this season already. However, the 17-year-old, despite the manager talking about his killer instinct and natural finishing ability, has allowed him to play just 47 minutes out of a possible 360 minutes after four matches this season. Greenwood has, in my opinion, deserved to start ahead of others.

In order to allow the player to grow, the praise is great but giving him time to earn that praise on the pitch is needed. United need to find ways to win matches this season. The is a lot of negativity amongst the fanbase, who crave victory after victory, having grown up during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, becoming accustomed to the glory.

Greenwood need to come on at a time whereby the pressure to score a goal is not placed on him and that he feels that is not the case. He should start against Leicester City, as should other youth players who have already made their debuts, adding hunger and youth to the starting XI. The manager needs to have the balls to gamble though.

Ratings: Daniel James was the Man of the Match in Southampton draw; Mason Greenwood need to play more at this level

Manchester United failed to return to winning ways against Southampton with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Welshman Daniel James opened the scoring for United just ten minutes into the match with a sublime effort on goal. Jannik Vestergaard equalised in the second half before Kevin Danso was sent off.

Daniel James was the Man of the Match for me because of his hunger and desire to do everything for United. He has now scored three goals in four appearances, which is great to see after making his Premier League debut earlier this month. His growth since signing for United has been good to see. He will be a key player this season.

United really need to find a way to get things done this season or it will be frustrating for everyone other than the ABUs. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Mason Greenwood regularly, he needs to be giving him more than ten minutes here and there. He’s clearly not ready to be the super-sub to find the goals that United need in order to win late in the game.

That will come for him in time. The pressure on his shoulders with a late substitution will do more damage than good. United need to develop his killer instinct and eye for goals, not frighten him and stunting his growth. More youth needs to be given the chance in this team this season; Angel Gomes, James Garner and Brandon Williams to name a few right now.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper did not have a lot to do in the draw against Southampton although he denied a few opportunities for the home side. However, he conceded an equaliser with United lacking creativity to double their lead, despite putting Southampton under a lot of pressure, which they weathered.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The defender underlines during each performance just why he was signed this summer. The 21-year-old won tackles and got forward a few times during the match. It is great to see him on the right and I am sure he will become a good player for the club this season. However, United need to overturn this slump in form and get back to winning ways.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swedish defender was uneasy at times against Southampton. It was not a good period for him to be like this after the club loaned Chris Smalling to Roma. Some fans are already suggesting that was a mistake, despite wanting shot of Smalling. The international break might come at the right time for him to gain some form. However, Axel Tuanzebe might get a chance against Leicester City in a fortnight.

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5 Harry Maguire

Booked in the 40th minute of the game for a challenge in Adams. Calm and composed during the game for United, something that is great to see in the defence and seeing six years of panicking. Maguire played some good passes and tried to get United forward when he could. This is a work in progress and the past six years need to be archived to allow this to progress into something worthwhile.

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18 Ashley Young

The club captain played alright against Southampton. His delivery of set-pieces was not the best, an area United need to find improvement in. Young was present in attack with United banging on the door many times to find that winning goal which did not come.

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39 Scott McTominay

The Scotland international played the assist to James, which put United ahead ten minutes into the game. McTominay also performed a good block late in the first half, denying a goalscoring opportunity. The academy graduate got involved in tackling for the ball and broke forward on occasion. He was replaced by Greenwood in the last few minutes of the match.

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6 Paul Pogba

The Frenchman was not good enough against Southampton. In order to achieve at United, as the best player on paper, he needs to be his best on the pitch. Some will suggest I hate Pogba because I am criticising him again. However, he deserves the criticism. He might be playing deeper, but he should be capable of doing that. United has, over the last three years, made many different changes to accommodate him. He needs to do more to be worthy of playing for this great club.

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15 Andreas Pereira

I don’t think he’s the player that United need to be playing on the wing. He worked hard, which is great to see but in terms of being a player worthy of playing for United, his quality is lacking a lot. He can be a squad player, but in terms of starting, he needs to find a way to raise his game.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish magician played some good passes against the Saints. In terms of offering what United need right now, pace, ability, calmness under pressure and the hunger and desire to achieve for this club, Mata lacks in pace. His reading of the game is needed but he would need to fit into his surroundings and with quicker players around him, he might be more of a hindrance than a help.

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21 Daniel James

The 21-year-old put United ahead in the tenth minute with a stunning finish in which the supporters started to sing; “James, James will tear you apart again” in the stands. Three goals in four appearances, two of which in front of the Stretford End. Showing signs of becoming a great player for this club. The Welshman continually threatened the Saints and had other shots on goal. He got stuck into his defensive duties also, which was great to see.

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10 Marcus Rashford

he England forward did not do his starting position justice. When Anthony Martial is injured or out of form, Rashford should be able to be relied on. However, his showed glimpses of the player he was for the most part of last season. Frustrating and unable to inspire this team. It may have been a bad day at the office but if the likes of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong show more, he’s on the bench in this form.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

eplaced Pereira 68'. The England forward played some good football with his running but his passing, especially final passes or shots were not good enough. Lingard may have lost his form but he continually gets picked and is still in the current England team. He is capable of things but like Nani, not often at this level. Lingard needs to work harder at perfecting his style of play which has an output. He’s nearing 27 and will be known as another player that never made the grade at this level.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Mata 68'. I would not have put Matic into this game. At the time of the substitution, I would have brought on Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Lingard to add pace to pressure Southampton. The Serbian may have experience but he’s becoming a liability. Chelsea seem to have sold him at the right time for them. Not good enough. James Garner will be better than him right now.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced McTominay 82'. The 17-year-old should have been brought on much earlier in the game. Solskjaer seems to praise him for his natural finishing ability and killer instinct but when he gets 10 minutes here and there, the praise is not going to do anything than make the manager look like a hypocrite. If he’s going to be used sparingly, stop praising him in public.

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Goals: Daniel James 10′

Assists: Scott McTominay 10′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay (Greenwood 82′), Pogba; Pereira (Lingard 68′), Mata (Matic 68′), James; Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Tuanzebe; Chong

Bookings: Kevin Danso 20′; Harry Maguire 40′

Report: Manchester United draw 1-1 with Southampton; Daniel James on the scoresheet for the third time this season

Manchester United failed to return to winning ways against Southampton with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Welshman Daniel James opened the scoring for United just ten minutes into the match with a sublime effort on goal. Jannik Vestergaard equalised in the second half before Kevin Danso was sent off.

Southampton started well, on the front foot from the start of the match, pushing United back into their own half. United then got a break with Daniel James using his pace on the left, playing in a cross, which was deflected into Marcus Rashford which was blocked by Jannik Vestergaard, whose reading of the game was great.

United saw a lot of pressure from the Saints with a few awkward moments for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. In the sixth minute, Kevin Danso broke on the left but Aaron Wan-Bissaka covered well by David De Gea had to rush off his line to make a block to deny Southampton from getting anything in that attack.

Two minutes later, De Gea was tested after Sofiane Boufal and Che Adams played a one-two 25-yards from goal. Boufal then flashed a low drive inches past De Gea’s right-hand post. Boufal then had a shot on goal a minute later after the ball dropped invitingly on the left but his volley was off target. Perhaps maybe a letoff for United.

United then took the lead in the tenth minute of the match, Scott McTominay rolled the ball out fo James on the left with the Wales forward moving the ball towards the penalty area before launching his shot on goal which rocketed into the top right-hand corner putting United 1-0 up. What a start to the season for the 21-year-old.

In the 15th minute, after a bright start from the Saints, United had started to edge ahead in terms of taking control of the game. Just two minutes later, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s pass went astray after Boufal made a good run in between United’s defenders. The home fans then groaned as it could have been an opportunity to level the score.

McTominay created something in the 19th minute of the match, lofting the ball into the box, picking out Wan-Bissaka, whose volley was fired over the crossbar. The flag was up for offside though, so it would not have counted. Danso was booked for hauling back Andreas Pereira in the 20th minute as the midfielder got past the left-back.

Two minutes later, James had another shot on goal, giving the Saints no warning. He unleashed his shot from the edge of the box which forced Angus Gunn to put the powerful strike to safety. United on fire at the minute, treating Southampton how they treated them at the start of the match. United seemed determined to win this match.

United continued to push halfway through the first half of the match, seemingly searching for that second goal, which did not look too far away. In the 28th minute, Rashford broke down the right, whose dangerous cutback was booked behind for a corner by James Ward-Prowse. From the corner, Rashford has an opportunity to double the lead, heading wide. It would have been offside though.

De Gea showed his impeccable goalkeeping in the 30th minute after he claimed Ward-Prowse’s curling cross at the near post. Four minutes later, the Saints started to play a better brand of football, keeping possession giving them something to start with to get back into the game. An equaliser did not seem to be forthcoming though.

Danny Ings has a shot on goal in the 35th minute, aiming to catch De Gea out with a shot from distance but the forward dragged his effort well wide of the target. In the 37th minute, Boufal cut inside the box by McTominay was there to make a vital block of the goal bound effort. Ings then tried to take on Victor Lindelof, the Swede mopped up easily.

Five minutes from the end of the half, Harry Maguire was booked for a tackle on Adams. Despite the booking, Maguire put in a good display of defending against Adams near the byline, forcing the forward to mess up his cross, which ended up behind for a goal kick. The England defender is a calm and composed player at the back, just what United needed.

Two minutes were played at the end of the first half with it ending with United still in the lead. There were no changes at the start of the second half for either team. United won an early free-kick on the right by Ashley Young;’s delivery was poor and Gunn caught the effort in the six-yard box. United would need to do much better to double their lead.

Vestergaard dispossessed Rashford on the halfway line with a good tackle, something which seemed to be delightful for the home fans in the stadium. United that had a chance in the box through Rashford, with the goalkeeper denying him and Rashford sending the ball out of play. However, United won a corner, which came to nothing.

Southampton defended well against United in the early stages of the second half. United had another opportunity with Pereira rushing into the area, however, he did not get connection to the ball with a miskick eventually getting the cross in but the Saints cleared the danger. At the other end of the pitch, Adams had a chance which was not taken well.

Southampton equalised in the 58th minute of the match through Vestergaard with a header, beating De Gea seconds after the goalkeeper made a save to deny the South Coast club from scoring. United need to get themselves back in the game quickly. Southampton made their first change with Shane Long replacing Che Adams.

In the 63rd minute of the match, Boufal got free on the left before standing the ball up to the far post which forced Young to make a desperate clearance behind for a corner. United cleared the danger from the corner. Jesse Lingard was warming up for United in the 65th minute with Solskjaer needing to make a change to get back on top.

Southampton seemed to be inspired by their equaliser, really raising their game in this half. Nemanja Matic and Lingard replaced Pereira and Mata in the 68th minute of the match. Southampton made their second change with Stuart Armstrong replacing Boufal in the 71st minute of the match. United still needed to get stuck into the game.

Danso was sent off in the 73rd minute of the game for a foul on McTominay, his second booking of the game. Southampton were down to ten men. United needed to capitalise from that. As Solskjaer has stated that Mason Greenwood was such a natural finisher, the fact he was not the first player off the bench leaves me with some questions.

United had a chance to get back in front in the 75th minute with James’s stinging strike which was unfortunately saved by Gunn. The Saints made their final change with Maya Yoshida replacing Danny Ings in the 77th minute of the match. Just under 15 minutes were left for United to get something from this game. A victory is vital here.

Wan-Bissaka got some involvement in the game in the 79th minute, flashing an inviting ball across the box by Rashford was on his heels in the middle, unable to reach the ball. Solskjaer made his final change of the match with Greenwood replacing McTominay in the 82nd minute of the match. Could he help get United back in front?

United had an opportunity to go in front in the 83rd minute after a level through pass from Paul Pogba, which sent Rashford through on goal. It was a tight angle and the final shot was kept out of the net by Gunn’s legs. Jesse Lingard was blocked with a chance in the 85th minute from 25-yards. United were throwing everything at this match now.

There was a penalty claim in the 86th minute which was not given after Greenwood went down in the box. United would need to find another way to get the better of this Southampton side. Lingard had another chance on goal, shooting wide of the target in the 87th minute. United were putting a lot of energy into attacking, needing better finishing.

Young had the chance to put United ahead but his curled effort flashed wide of the target. United needed to do much better with their finishing against the Saints. Four minutes were added at the end of the half, giving United some time to find the winner, which they have done late in the game time and time again in the past. Could they do it now?

It was wave after wave of attack from United. Southampton were dealing with the pressure well. They were refusing to buckle under the pressure. Young was booked in the final minute of added time after James burst past Cedric Soares on the left. Southampton had nine players on the pitch with Cedric unable to continue.

It was 1-1 at the end of the game and Solskjaer has two weeks to get back to the drawing board and find a way for United to win their matches. Despite having many chances, the finishing was poor and the team lacks creativity. To give youth a chance would be one way, bringing in Angel Gomes and the likes of Greenwood and Tahith Chong, also James Garner.

United will face Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday 14 September 2019, a traditional 15:00 BST kickoff. By then, after the international break, with the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League also starting for United, the manager will need to have them firing or face another turbulent season with nothing to look forward to other than the end of the season.

Goals: Jannik Vestergaard 58′; Daniel James 10′

Assists: Kevin Danso 58′; Scott McTominay 10′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay (Greenwood 82′), Pogba; Pereira (Lingard 68′), Mata (Matic 68′), James; Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Tuanzebe; Chong

Bookings: Kevin Danso 20′, 73 s/o, Stuart Armstrong 90+6; Harry Maguire 40′, Ashley Young 90+4′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford leads the line against Southampton; Pereira, Mata, and James also start; Chong and Greenwood on the bench

Manchester United will be seeking a return to winning ways as they head to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League this afternoon. Last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side faced their first defeat of the season, in this game, the players will be expected to hit back and return to winning ways. Can they do it?

After this match, there will be a two-week break in club football because of the first international break of the season. With a good win, there will be some positivity before the next match on the 14 September when they welcome Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams. Solskjaer will be looking for a reaction after a poor display against Crystal Palace.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young;

McTominay, Pogba;

Pereira, Mata, James;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo, Tuanzebe; Lingard, Matic, Chong; Greenwood

Southampton:

Gunn;

Soares, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Danso;

Højbjerg, Romeu;

Boufal, Ward-Prowse;

Ings, Adams

Substitutes:

McCarthy; Yoshida, Stephens, Valery; Armstrong; Long, N’Lundulu

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 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.

copyright: JW