Match Previews

Match Preview: Manchester United vs Southampton

Manchester Evening News

Both these sides got back to winning ways midweek, earning crucial victories to boost their chances of a successful end to the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team broke a United record by making it eight consecutive away wins, while Ralph Hasenhüttl continues to revitalise Southampton as they climbed out of the relegation zone.

As we enter March, the Premier League pressure is hotting up.

Kick-off: 15:00 [GMT]

Venue: Old Trafford

Referee: Stuart Atwell

Reverse fixture: Southampton 2-2 Manchester United (Armstrong, Cédric) (Lukaku, Herrera)

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The Saints

Position: 17th

Recent form: WLLDD

Top scorer: Danny Ings [7]

Most assists: Matt Targett [3]

One to watch: Pierre-Emerick Højbjerg

Previous result: Southampton 2-0 Fulham (Romeu, Ward-Prowse)

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Talking points

Reigning victory in a survival race six-pointer to reach 17th (two points above Cardiff City in the first relegation zone spot), Southampton won their first encounter in five.

Due to a tricky fixture back at St. Mary’s against Tottenham Hotspur next time out, the Saints will not want to write this game off – boasting a record of two wins, three draws and two loses in their seven visits to Old Trafford since promotion.

The reverse fixture was Mark Hughes’ final one at the club, with Hasenhüttl waiting in the background to take over.

Opting for a 3-5-2 system, the Austrian boss has increased the tempo going forward and shored the back line up since taking prior to the new year.

Youth has been integral to the new style at Southampton, with goalkeeper Angus Gunn, Polish international Jan Bednarek along with youth academy products Yan Valery and the injured Daniel Obafemi all being blooded in recent months.

Hasenhüttl came under scrutiny on Friday, particularly from Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Houghton, after his post-match comments against Fulham – implying they were effective already relegated.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return) 

  • Danny Ings – hamstring (one week)
  • Mario Lemina – stomach (day to day)
  • Michael Obafemi – hamstring (next season)

Expected lineup

(3-5-2) Gunn; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand; Redmond, Austin.

Quote from the boss

The most important thing is to concentrate on ourselves, take our points and we know difficult it will be for us to stay in the league.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl

Next match: Tottenham Hotspur [H] 9/3/19

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The Red Devils 

Talking points

A pragmatic performance saw Solskjær once again pull off an excellent result on the road.

Each time (now three occasions) the still-interim boss has failed to win, the team have bounced back with a victory.

Despite Crystal Palace having various dangerous spells, another fairly sound defensive display along with Scott McTominay holding well in front of them meant it was eventually comfortable for United.

Next Tuesday is a trip to France, with the second leg of the Paris Saint-Germain tie in the Champions League round-of-16 looming – which could influence the team selection here.

Fred returned from the wilderness on Wednesday and although struggling early on, showed glimpses of his ability alongside Paul Pogba – who grabbed his 20th goal contribution of the season as he assisted Ashley Young for the third to wrap proceedings up.

The now fully fit Marcus Rashford made a surprise casual cameo, before James Garner – likened to Michael Carrick by Solskjær – came on for his first team debut at just 17 years of age, and ‘we will see him soon’ according to the Norwegian gaffer.

Diogo Dalot started at Selhurst Park and could keep his place because of the opposition’s lack of wingers, along with Ashley Young set to play in Paris.

On Friday, the clause for an extra year in club captain Antonio Valencia’s contract was not triggered by United, as the currently sidelined Ecuadorean announced that he would be leaving Old Trafford following 10 trophy-laden years.

Talk of David De Gea signing a new deal has been rife in the past few with days, with Solskjær ‘grateful’ about the Spaniard continuing discussions.

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Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Matteo Darmian – knock (back in training)
  • Ander Herrera – hamstring (day to day)
  • Jesse Lingard – hamstring (unknown)
  • Phil Jones – illness (day to day)
  • Juan Mata – hamstring (day to day)
  • Anthony Martial – groin (late assessment)
  • Nemanja Matić – muscular (unknown)
  • Antonio Valencia – calf (four weeks)

Expected lineup

(4-3-3) De Gea; Dalot, Bailly, Lindelöf, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sánchez.

Quote from the boss

“We need to get back to winning ways at home. We’ve been fantastic away, but at home we’ve not scored in the last two. I’m sure Rom, Alexis and Marcus – whoever is going to play up top – will get their chances to score.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjær

 Next match: Paris Saint-Germain [A] 6/3/19

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Potential key battles

– Romelu Lukaku vs Jannik Vestergaard

– Scott McTominay vs Pierre-Emile Hojbjberg

– Victor Lindelöf vs Nathan Redmond

Match facts [credit: FotMob]

  • United have won just one of their five home Premier League games against Southampton since Sir Alex Ferguson retired (W1 D2 L2) – under Ferguson, they won 13 out of 14 against at Old Trafford
  • Southampton have drawn their last two top-flight outings against United; they have not avoided defeat in three consecutively against them since May 1989 (five games)
  • The Red Devils have come from behind to win eight matches against Southampton, a joint-record in the competition, also coming from behind eight times to win against Newcastle United
  • The Saints have won just one of their last 33 Premier League games against ‘big six’ opponents (D9 L23) – beating Arsenal 3-2 back in December

Enjoy the match!

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