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Ratings: Greenwood and Pogba lead the plaudits in Saints draw; Fernandes did well but was off his game slightly

Manchester United came from behind to draw 1-1 with Southampton at St Mary’s. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were tested on the road once again and needed to push to get back into the match after Fred was the last player to touch the ball, scoring an own goal in the 30th minute of the match. United battled back and earned an equaliser through Mason Greenwood, assisted by Paul Pogba which leaves Greenwood with two goals and Pogba with five assists after two matches this season. United could not find a winner, despite having the luxury of Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard, who came off the bench, as did Scott McTominay. United have matches Arsenal’s 27-match away unbeaten run and will be tested against Wolves next week.

United started well against the Saints and lost had the ball in the net in the early stages of the match, which was somehow cleared from the line. United were dominant in possession and by the 20-minute mark, had five shots on goal with one on target. Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were the playing driving United forward and the Saints were heavily reliant on numbers in the box to stop United from taking an early lead. It would seem to be only a matter of time before United took the lead in the match. However, after a lot of pressing and posturing, it was the Saints that took the lead in the 30th minute of the match with Che Adams sending a feint ball towards the goal and David de Gea not able to stop it hitting the back of the net. United would need to come from behind once again to beat Southampton.

United were seeking to get the equaliser but the Saints were stopping them every chance they had. The home side them then tried to double their lead after Valentino Livramento burst forward with Fred chasing him, the Brazilian unable to chase him down and ending up falling near United’s box. The ball was crossed in across the face of the goal but United did enough to stop the Saints from scoring again. The warning signs have been shown for United and now they needed to find the form they had last week to get back on level ground. 26 matches away from home undefeated and it would be a shame if that ended in this match. I am sure that Solskjaer has something up his sleeve to change the outcome of this match but nothing happened to get the game level before the half time break.

The Saints made a single substitution during the half time break with Jan Bednarek replacing Theo Walcott. Solskjaer did not see a reason to make any changes right away but there would need to be some soon if the stagnation continued into the second half. United did have a chance to equalise with Pogba the last United player to touch the ball before calling for a handball against Mohammed Salisu, which was not given but United won a corner. Despite some positive play from the corner and the ball nearly finding its way to Anthony Martial, United were still behind in the fixture. In the 55th minute of the match Mason Greenwood scored his second goal of the season, his second in two matches with Paul Pogba providing the assist, his fifth of the season so far. United were level and now needed to find the victory in this match.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 59th minute of the match with Jadon Sancho replacing Anthony Martial, who did not have the best of performances against the Saints. Having just levelled the score before he came on, United would need to push the Saints to get the victory they need to keep their season on track. In the 64th minute, after some good play by Luke Shaw, Sancho and Fred, Greenwood had a header in the box which was just over the crossbar. United seemed to be building something in this stage of the match with Sancho starting to turn on the style. Another chance came to nothing though with the Saints goalkeeper gathering the ball and parrying a save. United are knocking on the door and the knocks will end up coming harder and faster as the game goes on.

The Saints made their second substitution in the 70th minute with Moussa Djenepo being replaced by Ibrahima Diallo after Djenepo was booked in the 51st minute for a foul and did not seem to heed that warning. The Saints then had a lot of the ball with United sitting back ready to grab the ball and start an attack, allowing the Saints to tire themselves ready for United to pounce, maybe? Scott McTominay was warming up as David de Gea made an important one-on-one save to deny the Saints from their second goal of the match – which was a great save and will build on the players confidence. The resulting corner came nothing from the Saints, but they did end up winning another, which once again resulted in a credible attempt on goal, which seemed to not create a problem for United. More warning signs for United – who need to get ahead in this match.

Solskjaer made his second substitution in the 76th minute of the match with Fred making way for McTominay. Harry Maguire was booked for a challenge in the 77th minute of the match, adding to the booking of Bruno Fernandes from the first half of the match. James Ward-Prowse took a free-kick, aiming straight for the goal with De Gea punching the ball into the box and United getting possession from it. It was another confidence boost for the Spaniard. The Saints then made their third substitution with Kyle Walker-Peters replacing Romain Perraud in the 80th minute of the match. The Saints were still pushing for another goal, to take all three points in this match but it was not happening for them. Solskjaer was readying Jesse Lingard to come on with five minutes left of the second half.

Lingard replaced Nemanja Matic in the 86th minute of the match with the Saints pushing for another goal late in the game. De Gea managed to clear the line though, which saw the Saints recover the ball and push yet again. United needed to find a spark of magic to win this match, although their unbeaten run would be stretched to 27 matches away from home, matching Arsenal’s record if the score stayed the same. Paul Pogba and Jack Stephens were booked in added time with both teams seeking to find a winner that never came. United matched Arsenal’s record, and could break it against Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend, which will be another tough match on the road for Solskjaer’s side. Southampton will be happy with the point they earned and United will be seeking to right their wrongs from this match.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded a simple goal on the half hour mark, which left United behind. Could have and should have done better. Grew more confident as the game grew and did show glimpses of the De Gea he has been in the past. Good signs so far but we shall see what happens.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Made five tackles, one of the most present tacklers in this squad. Did lose the ball 12 times, committing one foul. Won more than 50% of his ground duels, failing to win an aerial duel. Made two key passes, successful with two of three crosses and one of three long balls.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Got into the Saints box in the early stages and launched a diving header towards goal but somehow, the threat of United was cleared off the line.

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5 Harry Maguire

Made three clearances, one interception, three tackles but also made an error with led to a shot on goal. Won four of five ground duels and his only aerial duel, Lost possession 15 times. Passing was just under 81%, which was positive. Hit the woodwork with a chance on goal, missing one big chance.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played a strong game against his former club. One interception, one tackle, dribbled past twice but played two key passes, successful with 50% of his cross attempts, successful with two of three long balls but that was all. An attacking presence in this match.

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17 Fred

Not the best performance from the Brazilian. Lost possession regularly in the first half and ended up deflecting the ball into United's goal as Southampton took the lead. McTominay replaced Fred in the 76th minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a tough match but seemed to lack inspiration, at least in the first half. He had one shot on target, was successful with three of four long balls, successful with both dribble attempts, made one clearance, three interceptions and one tackle. He was replaced by Lingard in the 86th minute.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played some good football against the Saints and was hungry for a goal. That came in the 55th minute of the match, assisted by Pogba, scoring his second goal of the season so far.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

It was not his day to inspire United to victory, despite his hat-trick against Leeds last week. He succeeded with one of five crosses, one of there long balls, made three key passes and created one big chance, losing the ball 18 times. He was booked in the first half.

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6 Paul Pogba

Seemed determined to carry his form from the Leeds match into this one but was not lucky with his chances in the first half. Provided the assist to Greenwood, who scored the equaliser in the 55th minute of the match, his fifth assist of the season so far. One key pass, six long balls, two shots off target and two blocked - Pogba was a player showing his best. He was booked for a cynical challenge in added time.

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9 Anthony Martial

Did not have the best performance against the Saints. Had one shot on target, missed one big chance, won one of three ground duels and one of two aerial duels. Lost the ball five times before he was replaced by Sancho in the 59th minute.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Martial 59'. Seemed interested in turning around this match. Made one successful dribble attempt, one key pass, successful on ground duel he made but lost the ball five times.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fred 76'. Blocked a shot, made one dribble attempt, committed two fouls and lost the ball twice. His energy was needed though as United dawdled across the line to get a point.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Matic 86'. Had six touches of the ball but seemed to do nothing with it. That said, he had four minutes plus added time on the pitch. Reminded us what his presence in matches has been like when the matches matter.

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Goals: Fred og 30’; Mason Greenwood 55’

Assists: Paul Pogba 55′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (McTominay 76′), Matic (Lingard 86′); Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial (Sancho 59′)

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Varane, Dalot; Mata, James, Van de Beek

Bookings: Moussa Djenepo 51′, Jack Stephens 90+3′; Bruno Fernandes 31′, Harry Maguire 77′, Paul Pogba 90+1′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Fernandes and Pogba start against Saints; Varane and Sancho on the bench

Manchester United travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League this afternoon. It is the second match of the season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and after the 5-2 destruction of Leeds United at Old Trafford last weekend, he will be confident of another three points in the bag this weekend. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton will be seeking to get back to winning ways in the league this season after their 3-1 defeat to Everton last weekend. United have the added benefit of know they took all six points against Southampton last season, winning 3-2 in they fixture, which included a late winner by Edinson Cavani, also winning 9-0 at Old Trafford just over two months later. This is a new season though and there is nothing granted in football. United will be tested, like they always have been at St Mary’s.

United sit top of the league at the time of writing, but that will change before a ball is kicked at St Mary’s on Sunday. Liverpool, Brentford, Everton and Watford all play before United this weekend and as they all won last weekend, they have a good chance of earning six points from their first two matches this season – which is also what United will be seeking to achieve on Sunday. Tottenham Hotspur kick off at the same time as United, and after beating Manchester City last weekend, will be seeking to start strongly, despite their defeat in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa Conference League against Paços de Ferreira on Thursday. Chelsea will go head to head with Arsenal for their chance to challenge for the top spot in the league in the second week of the season. United will have many challengers this season and they will need to work hard to reach the promised land.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Matic;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba;

Martial

Substitutes:

Heaton; Varane, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, James, Van de Beek, McTominay; Sancho

Southampton:

McCarthy;

Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Perraud;

Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo;

Armstrong, Adams

Substitutes:

Forster, Walker-Peters, Long, Redmond, Tella, Elyounoussi, Diallo, Bednarek, Valery

United and Southampton have met a total of 44 times in the Premier League. United have won 28 matches, drawing nine with the Saints winning seven times. The Red Devils have scored a grand total of 96 goals against Southampton with the South Coast club scoring 50 against United. The Red Devils have won four penalties against the Saints, scoring two of them with the Saints winning one penalty against United and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets with the Saints keeping just six. Based on the history of these two clubs, there have not really been many discipline issues between the two clubs with United players being shown 57 yellow cards and one red card and the Saints players being shown 72 yellow cards and three red cards. There is no really rivalry between these clubs but it can be a cup final for the Saints.

Over the years there has been many players who have turned out for both United and the Saints. Luke Shaw is the current player to fit that bill, signing for United in the summer of 2014 just before Louis van Gaal became the manager of the club. He is the player that has proven himself the most in the last few years and could be considered as one of the best left-backs in world football at this time. His form last season and for England during Euro 2020 has been great for him He also started the season well against Leeds United at the Theatre of Dreams last weekend as United won 5-1. Other players to have played for both clubs are Danny Wallace, Danny Higginbotham, Joe Jordan, Mark Hughes, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andrei Kanchelskis. This match will see United wear their new third kit for the first time – some may compare it to a match at the Dell in 1996.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Sancho and Varane to start against the Saints; Greenwood, Fernandes and Pogba to complete the attack?

Manchester United travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It is the second match of the season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and after the 5-2 destruction of Leeds United at Old Trafford last weekend, he will be confident of another three points in the bag this weekend. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton will be seeking to get back to winning ways in the league this season after their 3-1 defeat to Everton last weekend. United have the added benefit of know they took all six points against Southampton last season, winning 3-2 in they fixture, which included a late winner by Edinson Cavani, also winning 9-0 at Old Trafford just over two months later. This is a new season though and there is nothing granted in football. United will be tested, like they always have been at St Mary’s.

United sit top of the league at the time of writing, but that will change before a ball is kicked at St Mary’s on Sunday. Liverpool, Brentford, Everton and Watford all play before United this weekend and as they all won last weekend, they have a good chance of earning six points from their first two matches this season – which is also what United will be seeking to achieve on Sunday. Tottenham Hotspur kick off at the same time as United, and after beating Manchester City last weekend, will be seeking to start strongly, despite their defeat in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa Conference League against Paços de Ferreira on Thursday. Chelsea will go head to head with Arsenal for their chance to challenge for the top spot in the league in the second week of the season. United will have many challengers this season and they will need to work hard to reach the promised land.

Previous meetings with Southampton and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Southampton have met a total of 44 times in the Premier League. United have won 28 matches, drawing nine with the Saints winning seven times. The Red Devils have scored a grand total of 96 goals against Southampton with the South Coast club scoring 50 against United. The Red Devils have won four penalties against the Saints, scoring two of them with the Saints winning one penalty against United and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets with the Saints keeping just six. Based on the history of these two clubs, there have not really been many discipline issues between the two clubs with United players being shown 57 yellow cards and one red card and the Saints players being shown 72 yellow cards and three red cards. There is no really rivalry between these clubs but it can be a cup final for the Saints.

Over the years there has been many players who have turned out for both United and the Saints. Luke Shaw is the current player to fit that bill, signing for United in the summer of 2014 just before Louis van Gaal became the manager of the club. He is the player that has proven himself the most in the last few years and could be considered as one of the best left-backs in world football at this time. His form last season and for England during Euro 2020 has been great for him He also started the season well against Leeds United at the Theatre of Dreams last weekend as United won 5-1. Other players to have played for both clubs are Danny Wallace, Danny Higginbotham, Joe Jordan, Mark Hughes, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andrei Kanchelskis. This match will see United wear their new third kit for the first time – some may compare it to a match at the Dell in 1996.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea started the season as United’s number one goalkeeper and will be determined to continue that way. Despite conceding a goal against Leeds last weekend, which was an early goal of the season contender from Luke Ayling, he did well in his position and was not really tested. That will start to change as the season goes on. Southampton will be seeking to come back from a 3-1 defeat to Everton on the opening weekend, so there will be a threat coming from them. Wether they are able to contain United remains to be seen though. I am sure that Dean Henderson, when he is fit and Tom Heaton will be seeking to challenge De Gea for the starting position in the team, which could bring out the best of all three players, who are all top goalkeepers but have their main strengths in different areas. Let’s see how the season pans out.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence is about to his its strongest heading into the new season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw both seem to be doing well in the fullback positions and there is hope that if Kieran Tripper cannot be signed this summer that Diogo Dalot cold challenge for the right-back position. There is also Alex Telles to challenge Shaw, when he is back to full fitness. The main strength will come from Raphael Varane integrating into the first team after being announced before kick-off against Leeds last weekend, which really gave the Old Trafford crowd something to sing about. Partnering him with Harry Maguire could be the defence that is needed to get United to the next level. Granted, there will be mistakes in them at times but that could be said about any player to have played football at a high level in the sports entire history.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

Despite the massive hysteria of Fred and Scott McTominay being named in a starting XI, they tend to do well together against the lesser opposition. They both did well against Leeds, with Fred scoring his first goal of the season. Of course, no matter what they do on the pitch, there will always be the moaners who don’t take much notice and continue belittling the players. What do they know anyway? Granted, against teams like Liverpool, Manchester City etc, Fred and McTominay may not work, which is why United have other midfielders. A new midfielder arriving at the club this summer would be good for a title push, but without it, United will have to make do. I would like to see Donny van de Beek added to the midfield. During pre-season, I thought he did well, especially against Everton. Perhaps Solskjaer will get him integrated into the team this season?

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

This could be the first chance to get United’s new attacking line accustomed to each other. Bruno Fernandes will play in the central role in the three behind the striker, which saw him score a hat-trick against Leeds last week, starting off the season to a very high standard. Paul Pogba cold feature on the left-wing again, which is a position that he has played in at times last season. He assisted four times against Leeds, which showed a different Pogba who seemed to be in the form of his life. Hopefully that will continue at St Mary’s on Sunday. Jadon Sancho came off the bench against Leeds and despite being pretty quite, started to settle in at the club. It may take him some time to find his feet in the Premier League but he will start doing that in these next two matches before the first international break of the season.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood

The 19-year-old scored his first goal of the season against Leeds United last weekend and it was a stunning finish for the academy graduate. Having played many minutes during the pre-season campaign, he seemed to be ready for the rigours of the season and started in fine fettle. He will continue to grow this season after breaking records at the club as a teenager, stlll having the option to further his records before he turns 20 in October. I reckon that after his performance against Leeds, he is undroppable this weekend and will lead the line, which could change throughout the match with the player changing positions regularly, so as not to see United become complacent and to keep the opposition on their toes. Solskjaer will have continued to get Greenwood to work hard in training this week ahead of the challenge of the Saints, who need to bounce back.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial

The bench for this match could be quite strong for this match considering the number of players at United at this time, even though there have been a number of departures on loan during the last 24 hours or so. Tom Heaton may have to wait for his competitive United debut and with Dean Henderson returning to training this week, there could be plenty of surprises in store in the goalkeeping area. Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams could be available, although the latter will be heading out on loan next week. In midfield, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard (who is once again linked to West Ham United) and Donny van de Beek could play a part in this match. In attack, despite only returning to training this week, Edinson Cavani could be back in action with Anthony Martial as the other forward on the bench.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Manchester United to continue unbeaten away run Southampton, aiming to match Arsenal’s 27-match run

Southampton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St Mary’s, Southampton

Sunday 22 August 2021, KO 14:00 BST

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Ian Hussin, Richard West

Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett

VAR: Andre Marriner Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It is the second match of the season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and after the 5-2 destruction of Leeds United at Old Trafford last weekend, he will be confident of another three points in the bag this weekend. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton will be seeking to get back to winning ways in the league this season after their 3-1 defeat to Everton last weekend. United have the added benefit of know they took all six points against Southampton last season, winning 3-2 in they fixture, which included a late winner by Edinson Cavani, also winning 9-0 at Old Trafford just over two months later. This is a new season though and there is nothing granted in football. United will be tested, like they always have been at St Mary’s.

United sit top of the league at the time of writing, but that will change before a ball is kicked at St Mary’s on Sunday. Liverpool, Brentford, Everton and Watford all play before United this weekend and as they all won last weekend, they have a good chance of earning six points from their first two matches this season – which is also what United will be seeking to achieve on Sunday. Tottenham Hotspur kick off at the same time as United, and after beating Manchester City last weekend, will be seeking to start strongly, despite their defeat in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa Conference League against Paços de Ferreira on Thursday. Chelsea will go head to head with Arsenal for their chance to challenge for the top spot in the league in the second week of the season. United will have many challengers this season and they will need to work hard to reach the promised land.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WWDLW

Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D, Queens Park Rangers 4-2 L, Derby County 2-1 W

Goals: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, 1 – Mason Greenwood, Fred

Assists: 4 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof

Southampton – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLWWW

Everton 3-1 L, Athletic Club 3-1 L, Levante 1-0 W, Swansea City 3-1 W, Cardiff City 4-0 W

Goals: 1 – Adam Armstrong

Assists: 1 – Che Adams

Previous meetings with Southampton and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Southampton have met a total of 44 times in the Premier League. United have won 28 matches, drawing nine with the Saints winning seven times. The Red Devils have scored a grand total of 96 goals against Southampton with the South Coast club scoring 50 against United. The Red Devils have won four penalties against the Saints, scoring two of them with the Saints winning one penalty against United and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets with the Saints keeping just six. Based on the history of these two clubs, there have not really been many discipline issues between the two clubs with United players being shown 57 yellow cards and one red card and the Saints players being shown 72 yellow cards and three red cards. There is no really rivalry between these clubs but it can be a cup final for the Saints.

Over the years there has been many players who have turned out for both United and the Saints. Luke Shaw is the current player to fit that bill, signing for United in the summer of 2014 just before Louis van Gaal became the manager of the club. He is the player that has proven himself the most in the last few years and could be considered as one of the best left-backs in world football at this time. His form last season and for England during Euro 2020 has been great for him He also started the season well against Leeds United at the Theatre of Dreams last weekend as United won 5-1. Other players to have played for both clubs are Danny Wallace, Danny Higginbotham, Joe Jordan, Mark Hughes, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andrei Kanchelskis. This match will see United wear their new third kit for the first time – some may compare it to a match at the Dell in 1996.

Team News: Four players on the sidelines for United with other that could be involved from the bench. The Saints have two players on the sidelines with a strong squad other than that.

Marcus Rashford (shoulder), Alex Telles (ankle) and Dean Henderson (fatigue) have been ruled out of this match with Phil Jones (knee) also stepping up his recovery after missing the entire 2020/21 season. The good news is that Edinson Cavani and Eric Bailly both returned to training at the start of the week after an extended break following participation in Copa America and the Olympics respectively. Raphael Varane has been training with his new teammates this week and despite missing the behind closed doors match against Burnley at Old Trafford earlier in the week, could be involved against the Saints from the start. United have a good squad of players this season with the new signings and the players already in the squad and there could be more changes ahead of the transfer window closing at the end of the month.

William Smallbone (knee) and Sam McQueen (knee) are the only players one the sidelines through injury ahead of United’s visit to St Mary’s this weekend. The 3-1 defeat to Everton may have knocked the confidence of Hasenhüttl’s squad and United 5-1 destruction of Leeds United will cause more unease over the visit and not to mention the 9-0 defeat at Old Trafford last season, there will be many worries for Southampton ahead of this match. Of course, United won 3-2 in this fixture last season, which was a lot closer than the 9-0 destruction of the club just over two months later. It took United an added time winner to take all three points back to the Theatre of Dreams and the Saints might be confident of that result. That said, United seem to be stronger this season and in great form with players enjoying themselves.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the attack, Jadon Sancho to start on the right-wing and Raphael Varane to make his Premier League debut against Southampton?

Solskjaer will have been happy with what he saw last week, even with the absence of Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford from the squad and not starting Jadon Sancho or having the availability of Raphael Varane. United score five goals against Leeds United and both Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were in the form of their lives. More will be expected against Southampton after they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Everton, a team that United defeated 4-0 in their final pre-season match of the summer only a week before that match. United seem to be in great form at this time and keeping that running will be key to how the clubs starts the new Premier League season. There is one more match after this one before the first international break of the season and getting through both of them with three points from each match is the target.

Mason Greenwood should keep his place as the main striker in the match as he can do things that are special, which was shown against Leeds. Paul Pogba could play on the left-flank once again, despite playing better in the deeper role against Leeds with Bruno Fernandes playing in the middle and Jadon Sancho making his first start for United after coming on late in the match against Leeds. A midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred could be a good decision once again, must to the detest of the negative so-called supporters of the club who will moan about a defeat before a ball has even been kicked at St Mary’s on Sunday. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places in the fullback positions with Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane partnering each other in the centre of the defence for the first time. David De Gea should be in goal.

Match Prediction: Manchester United to make it 27 matches unbeaten on the road, matching Arsenal’s record between April 2003 and September 2004?

United overcame their first hurdle last weekend against Leeds United, winning 5-1 and sitting at the top of the Premier League heading into the second weekend of action. It was a good start for United, but overcoming the second hurdle of the season is just as imperative. Solskjaer will be happy with what he saw last weekend, especially with the four assists by Paul Pogba and the hat-trick scored by Bruno Fernandes. Fred will be happy with his first goal of the season and Mason Greenwood will be happy with his, as will the supporters of the club after he showed his predatory style of play, which was great with the absence of Edinson Cavani, who is the clubs first-choice striker at this present time. United will be seeking to go out with all guns blazing against the Saints, who will need to find the resolve to avert a disaster.

It could well be that Solskjaer will unleash the likes of Greenwood, Pogba, Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Scott McTominay, Fred, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and David De Gea against Southampton, opting not to make many changes from the victory over Leeds last week. It is possible that the likes of Jesse Lingard, Donny Van de Beek, Edinson Cavani or Anthony Martial could come off the bench to inspire United to victory, which if the form they are in after the 4-0 pre-season victory over Everton and the demolition of Leeds last weekend puts them in at this important stage of the season. United will have one more match, on the road again, against Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend ahead of the first International break of the season. Keeping their unbeaten away run and seeking to match Arsenal’s record of 27 unbeaten.

Southampton 1-4 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Cavani is a cracking player; Fernandes dug in and Henderson positive after league debut as United beat the Saints 3-2

Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be relieved after seeing his side go 2-0 down in the first half and lose David De Gea to a knock, which saw Dean Henderson make his Premier League debut for the club. Bruno Fernandes got United back into the game with his goal in the 60th minute of the match and a brace from Edinson Cavani (74′ and 90+2′) got United another three points on the road this season, which is where they have played their best football, only winning at home to West Bromwich Albion for the first time in the league this season last weekend.

United started well against the Saints and were seeking to pressure the home side from the very start of the match. Mason Greenwood had the chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute of the match but his left-footed shot was wide of the target. Bruno Fernandes then had a chance nine minutes later, shooting wide of the target. The Saints took the lead in the 23rd minute of the match from a corner taken by James Ward-Prowse which found Jan Bednarek inside the box for the Polish defender to head past David De Gea. The Saints seemed to have risen to United’s challenge and were pushing to ensure they cause maximum damage.

United did not recover from the opening goal with the Saints turning the tide and pressuring United and their shaky defence, which seemed inept at times in the first half. The quick passing and the attacking threat made United look poor and ten minutes after the opening goal, Ward-Prowse scored himself from a free-kick with De Gea reaching the ball and getting half a hand on it but was unable to stop the strike from being scored. United were 2-0 down with a lot of soul searching to be done to get back into the match. United never really got themselves back into the match before the end of the first half. There will be a lot to play for now.

At the start of the second half, United made a double substitution with Dean Henderson replacing De Gea and Edinson Cavani replacing Greenwood. Seven minutes into the second half, Marcus Rashford has a chance on goal which was saved by Alex McCarthy. Cavani had a chance, winning a corner for United, which came to nothing. United eventually scored in the 60th minute of the match through Fernandes, assisted by Cavani whose cross picked out the Portuguese midfielder who showed his clinical edge to get United back into the match. Cavani scored the equaliser for United in the 74th minute of the match with a superb header.

Despite looking settled for the draw and a point, United continued to break forward and create. Cavani scored the winning in the second minute of stoppage time, despite other chances to do the same. Like his first goal in the match, the winner came off his head. United seemed dead and buried as they conceded the second goal of the match to go 2-0 down by Fernandes’ goal in the second half, followed by the equaliser gave United the impetus to continue breaking forward and find that winning goal. They have shot up to seventh in the league with this win and will now be getting ready to face Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded twice in ten minutes during the first half. Ward-Prowse swung a corner in for Bednarek to head home and Ward-Prowse scoring from a free-kick ten minutes later. The Spaniard seemed to suffer a knock in the second goal, which is worrying. He was replaced by Henderson at the start of the second half.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defensively, Wan-Bissaka did well against Southampton and played better in the second half. He ability to tackle, at last-ditch is second to none and it shows how he is as a player. I say this often but he needs to start offering more going forward.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Did not concede in open play. Seemed determined to get United back in the game from 2-0 and as we saw, they got back into the game, levelled the game and won the game.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led the team from behind to victory. United need to get better defensively. January should see United looking to sign a player to improve the defence. This will be the area that lets United down this season, especially with many injury prone players in the team.

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27 Alex Telles

Played well against Southampton at left-back. It is good to see a player that can offer more than Shaw has at the club. Despite going 2-0 down in the first half and levelling (2-2) by the 74th minute, Telles did well, getting forward a lot of the time. He was replaced by Williams in the 84th minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Played some good football against Southampton but many will not recognise that as they only want to see Pogba play dire football as he's 'the man' apparently. Fred offers United something, his work rate is good and he's been in good form recently. Just because he does not score regularly does not mean he's rubbish.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Slow at times but defensively, he can pull it out of the bag and help United, not that it happened for both Southampton goals, which came from set-pieces.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Did well in midfield in a match which perhaps saw the worst of United in the first half and the best of United in the second half. It was good to see him start again. Hopefully he starts against PSG on Wednesday too.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Seemed off against the Saints. Had a good chance on goal in the 16th minute but was off target. On the hour mark of the match, the Portuguese midfielder got United back in the game after Cavani assisted for him. Assisted for Cavani 14 minutes later to level the game for United.

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11 Mason Greenwood

His finishing was poor. He could have put United ahead in the seventh minute of the match. He was replaced by Cavani in the 46th minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

His pace is great for United but at this moment in time, Rashford is either in form or he's not. At the moment, he seems to be in the latter. Had the chance to score for United in the second half, running through on goal but could not beat the goalkeeper. Got an assist for Cavani's winner in added time.

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Substitutes

26 Dean Henderson

Replaced De Gea 46'. Was not really tested by Southampton, who did all their scoring in the first half of the match. Good to see him make his United debut in the Premier League though. If De Gea is out for any length of time, I am sure he can fill the void, if needed.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 46'. Assisted for Fernandes to put United back in the game and scored, assisted by Fernandes 14 minutes later to level the game. He's a cracking striker to have at the club. Another 30+ player with skill and class. Age is but a number. He scored the winner in the second minute of added time showing his class with another sublime header.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Telles 84'. Came on late in the game with United drawing 2-2 at the time. Did his job and United went on to get the win.

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Goals: Jan Bednarek 23′, James Ward-Prowse 33′; Bruno Fernandes 60′, Edinson Cavani 74′, 90+2′

Assists: James Ward-Prowse 23′; Edinson Cavani 60′, Bruno Fernandes 74′, Marcus Rashford 90+2′

Manchester United: De Gea (Henderson 46′); Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles (Williams 84′); Fred, Matic, Van de Beek; Fernandes; Greenwood (Cavani 46′), Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe; Mata, James

Bookings: James Ward-Prowse 16′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Rashford, Greenwood and Fernandes lead the line against the Saints; Van de Beek starts again

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

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

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Fred, Matic, Van de Beek;

Fernandes;

Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, James; Cavani

Southampton:

McCarthy;

Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand;

Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo;

Walcott, Adams

Substitutes:

Forster, Stephens, Long, Obafemi, Tella, Diallo, N’Lundulu

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

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

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Fernandes, Van de Beek, Williams and Tuanzebe to start against Southampton at St Mary’s?

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

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

How United have faired against Southampton in the Premier League.

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

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

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been slowly returning to the form we have witnessed during his time as United’s number one. Dean Henderson will be playing a big part in that because of his ability in the position, which will ultimately become his in a matter of time. The Spaniard has confidence behind him and the will to win and succeed. That is enough to see the best of the 30-year-old at a time where United will require a solid goalkeeper to grind out the results. Between now and the end of 2020, United will be seeking to rise towards the summit of the Premier League. Some say this is a bad season but when you look at the gap, with United’s game in hand, they could be in the mix with the right results.

Defenders: Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United could have a few injury problems in defence for this match with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof both on the sidelines which could see them its this match. In case that happens, Brandon Williams could feature in the right-back position with Axel Tuanzebe partnering Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence. Alex Telles should keep his place at left-back, despite the fact that Luke Shaw has returned to training, not that he would be in action against his former club as it might be a bit soon for him. Solskjaer will have an eye on the defence, which has been United’s Achilles heel this season with a view to strengthening in January.

Midfield Two: Donny van de Beek, Fred

The midfield is an area that is very light in competition at this moment in time with Paul Pogba injured and not in great form, also with Scott McTominay likely out of action for a while. This leaves Fred and Donny van de Beek as the best options at this moment in time with Nemanja Matic a likely option from the bench should United need more defensive ability in the positions. Fred has risen to become a big game player at the club with his work rate and eye for winning the ball. He has received criticism but his form is here. The Dutchman has not started all that often and played well earlier in the week so will deserve to keep his place in the team.

Attacking Midfield: Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood

This is the area where the goals could be coming from. Bruno Fernandes is in the form of his life at this moment in time and is currently the clubs top scorer with nine goals in all competitions so far this season. Anthony Martial played a bit better on the left-wing, the position he used to play in before being made the main striker at the club. With the ability of Cavani, it could bring the Frenchman up to speed as he is not the best leader of the line at the club. With Marcus Rashford carrying an injury and the fact he could miss this match, Mason Greenwood could be drafted in to play on the right-wing, a position he has played in for a while now.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan striker played some fantastic football against Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Tuesday evening and showed a different dimension of attack for the club, which was a positive. Cavani should lead the linen against Southampton based purely on the fact that he is a predatory striker that can be in the box when needed but also create some build up play for his teammates. It could well be that Marcus Rashford misses the match through injury or only comes off the bench with a bid to keeping him fit for the busy month of December which will see United play nine matches in total.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Tim Fosu-Mensah; Paul Pogba, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic; Marcus Rashford

With just three substitutes permitted in the Premier League and other domestic competition this season, despite the UEFA Champions League having up to five substitutes, Solskjaer will be looking to have the best available players on the bench. Against Southampton, it is expected that Dean Henderson will be the substitute goalkeeper. In defence, Victor Lindelof could be involved if fit with Tim Fosu-Mensah covering in the fullback areas. In midfield; Paul Pogba, Daniel James and Nemanja Matic could be options. In attack, Marcus Rashford could come off the bench with a view to him not being fully fit to start but we shall see.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Southampton v Manchester United – Premier League

Southampton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St Mary’s, Southampton

Sunday 29 November 2020, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Graham Scott

VAR: Martin Atkinson Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood

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

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

Manchester United: WWWLLW

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

Southampton: DWWWDW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southampton 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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

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

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′

copyright: JW