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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

Manchester United interested in Mario Lamina this summer, which is a massive worry – reports

Manchester United and Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Southampton midfielder Mario Lamina this summer. The player is said to be rated at £15 million and has not travelled on the club pre-season tour to Austria after telling manager, Ralph Hassenhuttl that he wanted to leave the club he signed for two years ago after leaving Juventus.

The reports come from the Daily Mail and they seem to think the Leicester City and Serie A side, Atalanta are also interested in the 25-year-old. It hardly seems to be a positive deal for United after the stop/start season Lamina endured with the Saints last season, especially in the fact that Hassenhuttl put him up for sale at the end of the season.

The report states that Leicester may not actually make a move for Lamina after confirming the signing of Youri Tielemans from AS Monaco on Monday meaning that their need for another midfielder would be slim. However, United will be looking to replace both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, also with Paul Pogba likely to leave this summer.

Arsenal is also in the market for a midfielder, needing to replace Aaron Ramsey, who signed for Juventus as a free agent in January, making the move to Italy this summer. Lamina is described as a ‘strong, hard-working, and dynamic right-footed midfielder, with good technique and solid distribution.’

However, he is also described as earning a ‘reputation for having a temper and for lacking concentration at times’, which is not really something United would need to be added to the current squad. I personally feel that this is just the media linking players to United for the same reason as each transfer window, to create another story suggesting the club has missed out when the player either stays at his current club or moves elsewhere.

There is no way that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or anyone else at United, would have scouted Lamina last season and seen him as a player that the club should be looking at to restructure the club with the players needed to overcome the poor season they had under both Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer. Whist the £15 million fee would be a relatively small gamble, it is likely that with United’s apparent interest, that would rise massively.

Last season, Lamina played just 23 times for Southampton, scoring one goal and assisting another in 1,794 minutes of football. The 25-year-old missed 16 matches after sitting out with an abdominal strain from December to April last season but that still does not account for the lack of anything coming from the player. He might have an ability but also an attitude.

Also, the fact that Southampton put the player up for sale is a big indication as they seem to have grown frustrated with the player. That would say that there is something not quite right with the player which would lead me to believe that United was not a club that should be seeking to sign the player. However, this is just my understanding and opinion.

Whether United is actually interested in the player or not remains to be seen. The sources claiming the interest are not that reliable and I see it as an opportunity to keep writing things about United. If I am wrong, it is a massive worry that United would be chasing a player clearly not wanted by a smaller club, although he has an ability, the attitude, lack of concentration and his temper is something to put most clubs off.

Ratings: Romelu Lukaku scored twice in 3-2 victory over Southampton; Andreas Pereira shows his class with a goal and an assist

Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. It was another win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has earned 32 points out of a possible 36 points in the Premier League since he became the caretaker manager. United will face a much bigger test on Wednesday night as they attempt to turn over a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain.

United started well with Romelu Lukaku coming close to scoring in the first few minutes of the match. However, Southampton, after not being awarded what seemed to be a clear penalty, pushed forward and took on United. Yan Valery scored a screamer, assisted by Charlie Austin in the 26th minute of the match. David De Gea tried to make the save but the ball was struck so sweetly that he had little chance to stop Southampton from finding the back of the net.

United had a few more chances in the first half, none of them creating an opportunity to find the back of the net and get the game level. Alexis Sanchez seemed to have suffered an injury after a challenge at the start of the second half and the Chilean could not continue. Diogo Dalot replaced Sanchez. Dalot got himself involved right away, laying a pass to Marcus Rashford, which was off target. It was like United were now playing with 11 men, not with ten men having to carry another.

Andreas Pereira became a star in the game soon after Dalot’s introduction with the 19-year-old Portuguese defender laying an assist for the Belgian-born Brazilian, who put Valery’s goal to shame, putting United level with Southampton. Five minutes later, Pereira then played the assist for Romelu Lukaku, who put United ahead for the first time with a sublime finish. Southampton may have taken the early spoils but it is how you finish, not how you start. James Ward-Prowse equalised from a 75th-minute free-kick.

Lukaku scored his second goal in the 88th minute, putting United back into the lead, putting the side back into fourth place in the Premier League. Some may say it was unfortunate for Southampton but they have hardly been one of the better teams in the league this season, which is down to them and them only. Rashford won a penalty for United late on, which should have been given to Lukaku, who was on a hat-trick but Paul Pogba took it and saw his effort saved by Angus Gunn. Luckily it wasn’t costly for United.

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Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian has risen in stature in the last two matches, scoring two goals which were crucial. Today against Southampton, Lukaku could have scored a few more goals, missing in the early stages of the match after Angus Gunn stood firm in goal for the visitors. The Belgian was seemingly back to his best after putting United ahead seven minutes after Andreas Pereira equalised for United, then Southampton equalised in the 75th minute with Lukaku pouncing again 13 minutes later.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had little to do against Southampton. However, a stunning Yan Valery strike saw him beaten with the Saints taking the lead in the 26th minute. De Gea then conceded a Ward-Prowse free-kick which levelled the score at 2-2.

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18 Ashley Young

Young was not one of the best players today. His throw-in, which seemed naive, led to Valery scoring a stunning goal to put the visitors ahead. He also gave away the free-kick that led to Ward-Prowse's free-kick equaliser, which put pressure in United again.

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Chris Smalling

Nervous at times. Southampton were pressing a lot, which did not calm him much.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swedish international stood firm against the Southampton press. United could have benefited from his playing from the back though. Seemed to be much calmer than Smalling, at times.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played further forward at times but that allowed Valery to break through and scored that stunning goal to put Southampton ahead in the 26th minute. Dug in deep at times, which was good to see.

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39 Scott McTominay

Got involved in the game but many will not be happy with his performance. Did well against Palace on Wednesday but more patience is needed with McTominay. He needs experience and it getting that when he is playing.

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15 Andreas Pereira

The Belgian-born Brazilian seemed shocking at stages against Southampton, losing possession too easily but made up for his early mistakes with a sublime equaliser, layer on by Diogo Dalot. Pereira then provided the assist for Lukaku's goal which put United ahead in the game. Pereira was replaced by Fred in the 82nd minute of the game.

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6 Paul Pogba

United needed the Frenchman today with the lack of ball playing in the defence. Pogba has little impact in the game, having a 58% influence in the game. Pereira had the most influence in midfield. United won a penalty late in the game, Pogba took it and saw his effort saved. Maybe Lukaku should have been granted the penalty, to maybe complete his hat-trick.

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10 Marcus Rashford

I don't think the right-wing is the place for him but with the injury crisis, he had to play there. Ran the ball into touch and did not seem to get the better of his opposition here. He never gave up though. In the second half, he played a central role with Lukaku and played much better.

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Romelu Lukaku

MOTM for me. Had a shot on goal in the opening three minutes and Gunn made sure he never scored. Put United ahead with a sublime finish in the 59th minute, five minutes after Pereira scored the equaliser. Got his second goal in the 88th minute, putting United ahead for the second time. Should have taken the penalty, perhaps he could have scored a hat-trick. Four goals in the last two game for him now.

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Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean has good work rate for United but I cannot help feeling that he's out of his depth. His game ended in the 52nd minute after an injury in a challenge saw him unable to continue.

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Substitutes

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Sanchez 52'. The Portuguese teenager instantly got involved from his introduction providing the assist for Pereira's equaliser and making United looking more of a threat on the attack.

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17 Fred

Replaced Pereira 82'. Got involved in the game and played the ball to Lukaku to score the winner. It will be a boost for his confidence if anything else.

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Tahith Chong

Replaced Rashford 90+5'. Had a minute on the pitch if he was lucky. No involvement but good to see him given the opportunity to get involved. Looking forward to seeing him play some more football soon.

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Goals: Andreas Pereira 54′, Romelu Lukaku 59′, 88′; Yan Valery 26′, James Ward-Prowse 75′

Assists: Diogo Dalot 54′, Andreas Pereira 59′; Charlie Austin 26′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Pereira (Fred 82′), Pogba; Rashford (Chong 90+5′), Lukaku, Sanchez (Dalot 52′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Bailly, Rojo; Gomes

Bookings: Romelu Lukaku 89′; Ryan Bertrand 39′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Lukaku and Sanchez lead the line; Gomes and Chong on the bench

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as then welcome Southampton at the Theatre of Dreams. United got themselves back to winning ways on Wednesday evening, beating Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park, which came three days after the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford. United are in an injury crisis which has seen eight players on the sidelines after Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo were involved against Palace, although Rojo remained on the bench.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got United ticking just like they used to. Under the management of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, and injury crisis like this would have been debilitating and the results Solskjaer has managed to get probably would not have happened. United’s mood has been changed by Solskjaer’s arrival and even the players that were not pulling their weight under Mourinho are pulling theirs and more now. That is the Solskjaer effect.

United now have ten matches left to play in the Premier League this season with 30 points to gain. In his last eleven league matches, Solskjaer has won 29 of the 33 available points, which is great considering the form the club were in after Mourinho was sacked. United sit a point behind Arsenal, who are fourth, two points ahead of Chelsea, who are sixth and five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who are currently third in the league. United have it all to win to save their season.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw;

McTominay, Pereira, Pogba;

Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez

Substitutes:

Grant; Bailly, Rojo, Dalot; Fred, Gomes; Chong

United and Southampton have played 124 times in the history of both clubs. United has won 64 times, drawing 32 times and losing just 28 times. The last defeat to Southampton was back on the 23 January 2016, a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford which saw Charlie Austin score the winning goal three minutes from time. United are undefeated in the last six matches against the Saints, winning three and drawing three, scoring eight goals, conceding four goals and keeping four clean sheets.

United has lost once and draw once, winning four times in their last six matches. It has seen them slip from fourth to fifth in the league, sitting just one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who they are yet to play next weekend. Solskjaer’s United responded well against Crystal Palace despite an injury crisis, which has brought out the best of some fringe players. In the last six matches, United has scored nine goals, conceding three goals, keeping four clean sheets.

Southampton has not been in the best of form this season which has seen them in the relegation zone more often than not. Two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six matches see them as pretty unpredictable at this stage of the season. On Wednesday evening, beating Fulham 2-0 saw them rise from the relegation zone, stretching a lead over the bottom two teams, Fulham and Huddersfield Town. Seven goals scored, six goals conceded in the last six matches, just one clean sheet.

Starting XI Prediction: Rashford, Lukaku and Martial to lead the line in a 4-3-3 formation against Southampton?

Manchester United will go head to head with relegation threatened Southampton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. The match is not televised in the United Kingdom and it will kick off at 15:00 GMT. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to keep his sides current form, losing one of the 15 matches he has managed, earning 29 of a possible 33 points in the Premier League since he replaced Jose Mourinho.

United and Southampton have played 124 times in the history of both clubs. United has won 64 times, drawing 32 times and losing just 28 times. The last defeat to Southampton was back on the 23 January 2016, a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford which saw Charlie Austin score the winning goal three minutes from time. United are undefeated in the last six matches against the Saints, winning three and drawing three, scoring eight goals, conceding four goals and keeping four clean sheets.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea kept a clean sheet against Liverpool on Sunday but was unable to do that against Crystal Palace after a lax in defensive duties for United’s defenders left Joel Ward with a great opportunity to score, which is what he did. However, United still won the match 3-1, they were leading 2-0 at the time of the goal, so although it cost a clean sheet, that was all it cost. De Gea clattered with the post during the game and there were fears that he was injured, however, he is fit to continue in goal for United.

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Defence: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

Diogo Dalot played against Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening, playing in a more advanced position and he did well. Ashley Young could be given a rest, at least on the bench on Saturday, which means Dalot could start. Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw should all keep their places in the team as they are all in good form at this stage of the season and they could well be the difference between United earning three points and not.

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Midfield: Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

Scott McTominay should keep his place in the team with United facing the Saints at Old Trafford on Saturday. Against both Liverpool and Crystal Palace, the Academy graduate has held his own and been a useful player to have in the team. I don;t understand the stick he has received. It is like supporters these days have no patience and want everything now, including the development of a player. Andreas Pereira should start ahead of Fred and Paul Pogba should start, seeing as he’s suspended against Paris Saint-Germain.

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Forward Three: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial

Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Crystal Palace as Marcus Rashford sat out as a precaution but came on as a substitute. The Belgian has started to rebuild his confidence which could be a good thing for him and United. He should keep his place as the main striker against Southampton as it could mean another boost for his confidence. Rashford should start, possible on the right, although Solskjaer could use a formation with two strikers. Hopefully, Anthony Martial will be back in action.

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Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Eric Bailly, Ashley Young; Angel Gomes, James Garner; Alexis Sanchez, Tahith Chong

United now has eight players on the sidelines; Matteo Darmian (knock), Antonio Valencia (muscle), Ander Herrera (hamstring), Juan Mata (hamstring), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Nemanja Matic (muscle), and Phil Jones (illness). Anthony Martial is also on the sidelines ahead of the game but I hope he could return to the starting XI for this game. James Garner made his debut on Wednesday and Solskjaer said he could well be involved again. This bench could be an exciting mix of experience and youth.

Preview: Southampton are unpredictable showed by recent form, Manchester United will need to perform to win!

Manchester United -v- Southampton

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 2 March 2019; KO 15:00 GMT

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as then welcome Southampton at the Theatre of Dreams. United got themselves back to winning ways on Wednesday evening, beating Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park, which came three days after the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford. United are in an injury crisis which has seen eight players on the sidelines after Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo were involved against Palace, although Rojo remained on the bench.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got United ticking just like they used to. Under the management of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, and injury crisis like this would have been debilitating and the results Solskjaer has managed to get probably would not have happened. United’s mood has been changed by Solskjaer’s arrival and even the players that were not pulling their weight under Mourinho are pulling theirs and more now. That is the Solskjaer effect.

United now have ten matches left to play in the Premier League this season with 30 points to gain. In his last eleven league matches, Solskjaer has won 29 of the 33 available points, which is great considering the form the club were in after Mourinho was sacked. United sit a point behind Arsenal, who are fourth, two points ahead of Chelsea, who are sixth and five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who are currently third in the league. United have it all to win to save their season.

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Form: United in much better form that Southampton but the South Coast side have shown unpredictability of late…

Manchester United: WDWLWW

Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 L, Fulham 3-0 W, Leicester City 1-0 W

United has lost once and draw once, winning four times in their last six matches. It has seen them slip from fourth to fifth in the league, sitting just one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who they are yet to play next weekend. Solskjaer’s United responded well against Crystal Palace despite an injury crisis, which has brought out the best of some fringe players. In the last six matches, United has scored nine goals, conceding three goals, keeping four clean sheets.

Southampton: WLLDDW

Fulham 2-0 W, Arsenal 2-0 L, Cardiff City 2-1 L, Burnley 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 W

Southampton has not been in the best of form this season which has seen them in the relegation zone more often than not. Two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six matches see them as pretty unpredictable at this stage of the season. On Wednesday evening, beating Fulham 2-0 saw them rise from the relegation zone, stretching a lead over the bottom two teams, Fulham and Huddersfield Town. Seven goals scored, six goals conceded in the last six matches, just one clean sheet.

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Top Scorers: United have scored more goals than Southampton this season with Paul Pogba the clubs leading scorer, six more than Danny Ings

Manchester United: 14 – Paul Pogba, 11 – Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, 10 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Southampton: 8 – Danny Ings, 6 – Nathan Redmond, 4 – Stuart Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse, 3 – Charlie Austin, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 1 – Cédric Soares, Ryan Bertrand, Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long, Michael Obafemi, Oriol Romeu, Jack Stephens

Team News: United’s injury crisis is still there with eight players on the sidelines currently; Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo have returned to fitness

Solskjaer could be without up to eight players for the visit of Southampton in the Premier League this weekend. Both Nemanja Matic (muscle) and Antonio Valencia (calf) will be missing from the match. Three more players could be available but are considered doubts; Matteo Darmian (knock), Phil Jones (illness), and Anthony Martial (groin). Then, there are three more players on the sidelines with no return dates; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, and Jesse Lingard (all hamstring), who could also be missing for a while.

Marcus Rashford, who suffered an ankle injury against Liverpool and played the entire match, was back on the bench against Palace and played the last 20-odd minutes of the game, so he will be fresh for the Southampton match. Marcos Rojo was back on the bench after a layoff so he will be able to boost the team selection, even though Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, and Chris Smalling available. The most important thing is that no new injuries were caused away to Palace.

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James Garner made his debut at the death of the Palace game and the boss has suggested that he could also feature against Southampton, which will be a big boost for him and the future opportunities for him at the club. Tahith Chong was also on the bench for United, although not used, so he could also play a part against Southampton, although United’s U23s will play on Friday evening. Mason Greenwood travelled with United, although he was not named as a substitute, as did Angel Gomes.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has just three injuries to contend with ahead of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams. Danny Ings (hamstring) is a major doubt, which could be costly and he also has both Michael Obafemi (hamstring) and Mario Lemina (abdominal) who have no return dates, meaning that the Saints could be without all three players at Old Trafford. However, recently boosted with a win and a move out of the bottom three, that confidence could prevail with them seeking a win in Manchester.

Predicted Starting XI: United now have strength-in-depth within the squad which makes life under Solskjaer much better…

Under Solskjaer, United are much more exciting and he has instilled those on the fringes of the first team with confidence. Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Palace on Wednesday which will have given the Belgian a boost of confidence, which could help him find the form he has lost recently. Alexis Sanchez needs to do more to regain his confidence, he’s just a player with work rate and little else, which is worrying right now. United though, have enough players to get through their crisis earning points on the way.

Match Prediction: Solskjaer’s United could be too much for Southampton to handle…

United and Southampton have played 124 times in the history of both clubs. United has won 64 times, drawing 32 times and losing just 28 times. The last defeat to Southampton was back on the 23 January 2016, a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford which saw Charlie Austin score the winning goal three minutes from time. United are undefeated in the last six matches against the Saints, winning three and drawing three, scoring eight goals, conceding four goals and keeping four clean sheets.

Manchester United 3-1 Southampton

Ratings: Manchester United players are happy to be paid but not happy to perform; what a shambles

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League. United were 2-0 down by the time the 20th minute with Stuart Armstrong scoring in the 13th minute and Cedric Spares scoring a sublime free-kick seven minutes later. United got a goal back through Romelu Lukaku in the 33rd minute with Ander Herrera equalising in the 39th minute. It was another poor showing for United.

The club is slipping even further into a shambles – as if that was at all possible. Going 2-0 down to Southampton is the latest in a long line of embarrassment since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson just over five and a half years ago. I’m not sure these players are up for the fight and seemingly happy to just plod through matches, banking their money every week. There seems to be no accountability on any of these players, it all seems to be on the manager, unless United win, then that is on the players.

This season is really showing the problems at the club. The manager is out of his depth, but the players, the hierarchy, the board and the owners have all contributed to that as well. There is nothing to brag about as a United supporter anymore. The history of the club is not something that you want to link to the current state of the team. United had a World Cup-winning midfielder in their team against Southampton and he could not keep possession of the ball and seemed to happily pass the ball to his opposition.

I am not sure where it all goes from here. United had yet another opportunity to gain some ground on those ahead of them in the Premier League table. On Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur entertains Arsenal and Liverpool host Everton. Two of those teams could be the losers or all could drop points. That did not seem to be on the minds of this United team against Southampton, which is a shocking state of affairs. These players do not care about the club, the fans or their manager, just the money…

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

There will come a day that De Gea walks away from this club feeling let down. That day could be today. Now stuck here until the summer of 2020 with nothing to look forward to, unless the owners start strengthening the club instead of their own finances.

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18 Ashley Young

Needs to play as a winger or be the second-choice fullback on the bench. It was a poor game for all. Can't fault his passion though.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Needs a rest. He's not going to last this season if he does not get rested. He was exposed at times. Mourinho needs to stop relying on him, time after time.

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4 Phil Jones

The only central defender in a three-at-the-back formation, which is terrible. Granted injuries and a lack of fitness gave little opportunity for anything else. He was a stand out player though. Not good being one of the best of a bad bunch.

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39 Scott McTominay

McTalentless? Not a defender and does not seem to have what it takes to be a midfielder. I don't like writing off players but there is better than him at this club. Could have easily seen a red card today.

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23 Luke Shaw

Came off injured late in the second half. Defensively he was fine but needs to do more going forward as the only width this United side has is from the fullbacks.

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21 Ander Herrera

Scored the equaliser. His defensive astuteness was not the best, however, he was good going forward.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Had an opportunity with a header, which was not the best. Failed to get stuck into this game, after making the headlines with his last-ditch goal in the last.

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6 Paul Pogba

A shocking display. How he managed to remain on the pitch beats me. United cannot be happy with the investment they put on this whopper. Gave away pass after pass. Does not look like he's 'home' or playing for a club he wanted to 'achieve things with'.

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Romelu Lukaku

Scored United's first goal after a 982 minute goal drought. Managed to injure himself after tripping over the ball. Not sure what to say about that.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The 20-year-old failed to take his chances but inspired a first half comeback against Southampton, assisting both goals for Lukaku and Herrera. Should have maybe stayed on the pitch .

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Substitutes

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Shaw 73'. Made his Premier League debut. Should have maybe started. Had little impact.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Rashford 77'. Got involved in the game and won a free-kick but nothing came from his introduction.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Lukaku 86'. Too late to get involved in the game.

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Goals: Stuart Armstrong 13′, Cedric Soares 20′; Romelu Lukaku 33′, Ander Herrera 39′

Assists: Michael Obafemi 13′; Marcus Rashford 33′, 39′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, McTominay, Shaw (Dalot 73′); Herrera, Matic, Fellaini; Pogba; Lukaku (Lingard 86′), Rashford (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Mata, Fred

Bookings: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg35′, Mario Lemina 55′, Yannik Vestergaard 59′; Marcus Rashford 18′, Marouane Fellaini 35′, Paul Pogba 54′, Ashley Young 90+3′

Report: Manchester United come back to draw 2-2 with Southampton but many United players need to think about their futures

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League. United were 2-0 down by the time the 20th minute with Stuart Armstrong scoring in the 13th minute and Cedric Spares scoring a sublime free-kick seven minutes later. United got a goal back through Romelu Lukaku in the 33rd minute with Ander Herrera equalising in the 39th minute. It was another poor showing for United.

United started the game with a back three, which could also be seen as a back five with Ashley Young and Luke Shaw playing in the wing-back positions. Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic flanked either side of Phil Jones in the centre of defence. Not ideal but it suggested Jose Mourinho was still able to put options forward with so many players on the sidelines through injury; Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling both have minor injuries and Marcos Rojo returned to full training late this week.

United had a great opportunity to break the deadlock inside the third minute after Alex McCarthy seemingly kicked fresh air, instead of the ball, allowing Marcus Rashford to back-heel the ball into the box but Ander Herrera was unable to get to the end of it. The ball fell for Romelu Lukaku on the penalty spot but McCarthy put in an excellent block to redeem himself after his earlier mistake, keeping the Belgian from scoring United’s opening goal.

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In the sixth minute of the match, Young carried the ball to the edge of the Southampton box, he decided to go for goal but Jannik Vestergaard was there to make an important block for the struggling Premier League side. Paul Pogba slipped in the centre of midfield in the eighth minute but was able to control the ball and immediately charge forward for his side but the opportunity came to nothing for United. Southampton, however, seemed up for this match.

In the 13th minute of the match, Southampton opened the scoring through Stuart Armstrong after United’s defence having many chances to get in a last-ditch tackle to thwart the danger of the home side, which was hard to write about considering Mark Hughes’ side were so low in the Premier League table before this match kicked off. Nathan Redmond passed the ball to Michael Obafemi, who then passed to Armstrong, who drilled his low effort across David De Gea’s goal and into the far corner.

United looked to respond almost immediately after conceding their first goal in two matches but Luke Shaw’s cross was deflected in the Southampton area which made it easier for McCarthy to claim the ball and avert the danger. Rashford was the first player to be booked in the 18th minute of the game after a sliding challenge on Mario Lemina. Southampton won a free-kick in a dangerous area which turned into their second goal, this time scored by Cedric Soares.

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The Portuguese international curled the ball over the United wall and into the top corner, beating De Gea, sparking more celebrations from the home supporters, as they should be doing. They were 2-0 against Manchester United, a side slipping further into the darkness. There might have been claims for a United penalty in the 23rd minute after Shaw was challenged by Yan Valery just inside the Southampton box but it was a superb tackle, which saw the home fans celebrate once again.

In the 25th minute of the match, United had an opportunity to create something as Young played in a dangerous cross from the right. McTominay attacked but was unable to keep his header down as the ball sailed over the Southampton crossbar. United seemed unable to play this game, which should signal something. To let a team like Southampton own them is a pathetic position to be in. However, United were 2-0 down against Newcastle United not that long ago, in similar conditions, so it is not over yet.

United had another opportunity in the 28th minute with the ball falling kindly for Rashford on the edge of the Southampton area but the England strikers effort sailed over the crossbar, which is just another painful miss by the 20-year-old. Three minutes later, Rashford had another opportunity as he slipped away from Maya Yoshida before attempting to pull the ball back for Lukaku. Vestergaard spotted the danger and made the clearance, denying United from getting themselves back into the game.

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United got themselves back into the game in the 33rd minute with Romelu Lukaku ending his goal drought, which lasted around 982 minutes. Jose Mourinho looked very glum ahead of the goal. Rashford latched onto a pass from Pogba before passing to Lukaku. The Belgian then thumped the ball towards goal, which raced past McCarthy and into the top corner of the net. The 2-0 lead did not look so good for Southampton as the ball hit the back of the net.

In the 36th minute of the match, Southampton won another free-kick in a dangerous position. However, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was unable to find anything from it, at a time whereby his Southampton side needed to claim everything they got as the game was back on. United were level in the 39th minute of the match after Ander Herrera found the back of the net. Rashford had come alive in the last few minutes, producing a brilliant run and Herrera was in the right place at the right time to pounce. 2-2. Game on.

The Southampton supporters were not as lively as they were inside the opening 20 minutes of the match. Just 20 minutes later, the United supporters could be heard again. It was now Mark Hughes’ glum face that was seen on the television screen, perhaps thinking about his job, which could well be on the line, again. There were two minutes of added time at the end of the half with no clear chances from either side. The half ended with it all to play for. The second half should be a good one.

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United took the kick off to start the second half. Mourinho’s side immediately started where they finished the first half. Shaw won a corner in the 47th minute, which was taken by Rashford, then punched away by McCarthy, putting the ball out for another corner. Rashford took the set-piece again this time with the ball sailing over the crossbar and a foul being given against McTominay on McCarthy. United needed to make this half work, earn the three points and sit back and see what Sunday brings.

United had another free-kick which was taken by Young, played into Marouane Fellaini, who headed towards goal. However, the Belgian was unable to keep the ball down and it did not challenge McCarthy much as it went out of play. Southampton then won a free-kick, in their own half, in the 53rd minute after Pogba made the foul. The Frenchman was booked for the challenge, United’s third player on a yellow card in this game.

A minute later, Lemina was booked for a foul on Pogba, his fifth booking of the season so far, meaning that he will miss Southampton’s next match. The foul was cynical and straight down the Achilles of United’s French midfielder. A few minutes later, Pogba committed a foul again, giving a free-kick to Southampton with Redmond going straight for goal with De Gea getting equal to the ball and denying the home side anything from the set-piece.

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In the 59th minute of the match, McTominay was fouled by Vestergaard with the Danish defender being the third Southampton player to be booked in the game. The free-kick gave something for the home side to think about with Yoshida putting the ball out for a United corner. The corner came to nothing, although United did push Southampton. Luke Shaw’s effort from outside of the box curled away from the target before it went out of play.

Southampton had a good few minutes just after the hour mark, which resulted in a few chances to go in the lead again. Obafemi seems to have injured his hamstring during one opportunity with the player then going down in the box and claiming a penalty, which was not given by Kevin Friend. On seeing the replay, you could see why. The player then made way for Manolo Gabbiadini in the 64th minute of the match.

With just over 20 minutes of the game remaining, United had a rare chance with Pogba and an overhead kick, which failed to trouble McCarthy. With a point in the bag, which is not enough, this United side needed to take risks in order to get ahead in the game for the first time. In the 70th minute, Rashford had the ball on the left, passing it to the right, for Lukaku, who then passed into the box for Rashford, who was unable to meet the height of the ball.

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Mourinho was readying Diogo Dalot to come on for his Premier League debut. It was Shaw who would make way for the Portuguese fullback. Dalot slotted in at right-back with Young moving over to the left-back position. Southampton had an opportunity to create something following the change, but it came to nothing for them. United still have plenty of work to do in order to get something from this game, other than a point.

Anthony Martial was next to come on for United, with Rashford making way for the Frenchman. The substitution happened in the 77th minute. Southampton were on the edge of United’s final third, pushing the visitors in order to make way for a third goal, which could see them climb out of the relegation zone. United then gathered possession and played the ball up field, only for Southampton to regain possession and probe United’s final third area once again.

Pogba made a massive mistake in midfield, trying to play the ball, instead giving it away, when then turned into a perfect long-range shot for Southampton, with De Gea only just getting a touch on the ball to keep the ball out of the back of the net. A corner was given for the home side, which came to nothing other than a shot on goal which was wide of the target. It was a let-off for United and Pogba, who just does not seem to be worth much of the fee United paid for him two and a half years ago.

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United were in the Southampton final third, Pogba on the ball, then gave it away which turned into a counter-attack for the home side. United’s defence managed to make a couple of blocks which stopped Southampton from taking advantage on the incompetence of Pogba, who does not look like he wants to be on the pitch, let alone at this club. The referee then stopped the match after Lukaku was seemingly injured, clutching his knee. The Belgian was back on the pitch seconds later.

United were allowing Southampton to apply pressure in the final third but that ended when United won a goal kick. Mourinho then made his final change in the 86th minute with Jesse Lingard replacing Lukaku. Pogba seemed to want too many touches of the ball during this game, which resulted in him not being able to do much in the game unless he is just incapable of stringing some performances together.

Martial was fouled on the edge of the Southampton box after finding no way through the defence with the ball. Four minutes of additional time was added to the half. Young took the free-kick, which was a comfortable save for McCarthy with Southampton seemingly happy to take a point from this game. It is probably the best United could get from the game, which was not good enough if the manager did believe he could have his side in the top four come the end of the year, which is 29 days away.

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Southampton made a second substitution with Lemina being replaced by Steven Davis two minutes into added time. Southampton made a claim to control the game which resulted in Ashley Young being booked, his fifth yellow card of the season so far, meaning he will miss United’s next match, on Wednesday against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Armstrong was booked in the dying seconds of the game with United winning a free-kick. However, they could not make it could as Southampton made the clearance. Game over.

Goals: Stuart Armstrong 13′, Cedric Soares 20′; Romelu Lukaku 33′, Ander Herrera 39′

Assists: Michael Obafemi 13′; Marcus Rashford 33′, 39′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, McTominay, Shaw (Dalot 73′); Herrera, Matic, Fellaini; Pogba; Lukaku (Lingard 86′), Rashford (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Mata, Fred

Bookings: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg35′, Mario Lemina 55′, Yannik Vestergaard 59′, Stuart Armstrong 90+5′; Marcus Rashford 18′, Marouane Fellaini 35′, Paul Pogba 54′, Ashley Young 90+3′

copyright: JW