Monday’s game is a must win for both sides with Manchester United looking to add to their 4 match wining streak and Southampton looking to break their 3 match win less streak. With Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs dropping points on Saturday the onus is on both clubs to get a win to further their claim for a top four finish. A win would see Manchester United over take Southampton to third and close the gap between defending champions Manchester City at second to just 5 points. Ahead of the big game at St. Mary’s Stadium we look at the Team News, Key Battles and also try predict the line-up and outcome of the game.
Team News :
Manchester United : Captain Wayne Rooney is fit and ready to lead the team at St. Mary’s after undergoing a scan on the knee on Thursday. Jonny Evans and Rafael Da Silva are back training with the first team and could feature against the saints at some point in the game. Phil Jones is also back doing light training but it is unlikely that he will be involved on Monday night. Angel Di Maria is still unavailable after picking up a hamstring injury against Hull City. Luke Shaw (Ankle) and Daley Blind (Knee) are the only long term injuries at the moment.
Southampton : Jack Cork is unavailable after the English midfielder picked up an ankle ligament injury against Arsenal while Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld is also a doubt after coming off with a Hamstring injury against Arsenal. Serbian Dusan Tadic one of the standout performers for the saints this season should be available after recovering from a knock. Influential midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is still unavailable after picking up a thigh injury against Manchester City. Other long term absentees include Jay Rodriguez (knee), James Ward-Prowse (foot) and Sam Gallagher (knee).
Predicted Lineups :
Manchester United :
David De Gea
Valencia Smalling Rojo Young
Van Persie Rooney
Clyne Yoshida Fonte Bertrand
Key Battles :
Ronald Koeman vs Louis Van Gaal : Koeman and Van Gaal may be new to the premier league but they are more than familiar with each other having previously worked together at Barcelona and Ajax. Two brilliant tacticians go head to head at St. Mary’s with no love lost between either manager after falling out with each other at their time together at Ajax when Ronald Koeman was manager and Louis Van Gaal the sporting director. Both managers would love to get one over the other and it would certainly be interesting to see what tactical surprises they have in store for each other. Surely an interesting battle on the side lines to look forward to. Touchline bust up anyone ? Too bad Louis Van Gaal wont come out to the tactical area.
Prediction : Though the saints are a good side and have played some really good football this season Southampton could struggle to cope with with the injuries they have. The absence of Schneiderlin and Jack Cork is likely to play a huge factor. This is always going to be a close game but United have got what it takes to get a win out of the game. 0-1 Manchester United Win.