Southampton were one of the surprises of the season last year. After losing a lot of their key players, mainly to Liverpool, they managed to come 7th and qualify for the Europa League. They were only 2 points away from 6th place Liverpool.
This season hasn’t started so well for them. They went out of the Europa League during the qualifying stage, to FC Midtjylland and currently sit in 15th in the Premier League on 6 points.
The Saints have drawn all 3 of their away league games, and at home they have won one and lost one. Despite being in 15th, they are currently only a win away their 7th place finish last season. However Crystal Palace, 7th, play Spurs at 13:30 so 7th place could be more than 3 points away by the time the United game comes around.
Not only have Southampton lost 3 key players since last season (Schneiderlin, Clyne and Alderweireld) but their injury list includes many of their key players. First choice keeper, Fraser Forster, Bertrand, Gardos, Clasie and Ramirez are all stranded on the injury list.
Despite their start and injury list, Southampton have so many dangerous players in their starting line up.
José Fonte is still a mighty defender who will give United’s attack very little chance to get the ball in the box.
Despite not being as prolific in front of goal this season, Graziano Pellè is still a huge threat. His 6’ 4’’ frame makes him a strong aerial threat; he’ll definitely need marking up by Smalling.
With Schneiderlin coming to Manchester United, Southampton looked to Kenyan Victor Wanyama, who’s been a squad rotation player at the Saints until this season, to fill the void. He’s done the job very well, providing a strong presence in front of the defence.
United’s summer target, Sadio Mané, hasn’t scored in the Premier League yet this season but, he did score the quickest hat-trick in Premier League history last season in just 2 minutes and 56 seconds, against Aston Villa. His blistering pace and quick feet cause every defence serious problems.
Then there’s the man that gave Southampton their 1-0 win at Old Trafford, Dušan Tadić. He’s been featuring as a starting eleven player who’s as explosive as he is temperamental. He’ll either play amazing or quite average.
The Saints have favoured the same formation as Manchester United this season, 4-2-3-1, but have switched it up to two up front or 3 at the back in Europe or against seemingly weaker opposition.
The top 4 often consists of Tadić, Mané, Pellè and Jay Rodriguez. All of whom are big scoring threats.
In the last 10 games against Manchester United, Southampton have only managed 2 draws and 1 win. At St. Mary’s, the Red Devils have won the last 7 games.
After a 2-1 loss to PSV, United need to bounce back but, the defence has been changed. Luke Shaw’s injury has caused United to need to switch up the defence, most likely bringing in Marcos Rojo.
This could prove to be a problem for the Reds as the previous back four were playing so well and now Rojo’s being thrown in, despite lacking match sharpness.
With Rooney back and Martial predicted to feature up top, Manchester United’s strike force will be in it’s best possible situation, and it should result in plenty of goals for both of the forwards.
Given the power of both attacks, and the potential weakness in United’s defence, Manchester United could win 3-1, hopefully taking advantage of Southampton’s poor form and lack of their first choice keeper.
After 3 wins and draw and a loss Manchester United are sitting in 4th, only 5 points behind the run away Manchester City, who lost emphatically to West Ham 2-1 last night.
The game kicks off at 16:00 at St. Mary’s or on Sky Sports 1 HD.