Man Utd vs Southampton preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Tonight, Manchester United welcome Southampton to Theatre of Dreams as they try to get back to their winning ways, kick off 20:15.
Having only taken 1 point out of a possible 6 in their last two games, United will be keen to try and grab all three tonight in order to keep up with Manchester City and stay ahead of Liverpool.
The last time these two teams met, Utd left St Mary’s Stadium with a dramatic and exciting 3-2 win. Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be wanting to replicate their impressive performance tonight in order to retain their second-place spot in the table.
Man Utd have had to deal with a quick turnaround from Saturday’s game against Arsenal, nevertheless, they look to have a strong squad once again. There are no fresh injuries and as Solskjaer has been able to continually rotate the squad, any potential fatigue among the players has been kept to a minimum.
In his pre-match press-conference yesterday, Solskjaer said, “Apart from the wear and tear and the quick turnaround, everyone should be available. They’re not injured anyway. It’s just a matter of energy levels and see how they feel tomorrow. No new, fresh injuries anyway.”
When questioned about the lack of goals in recent games, Solskjaer replied, “I think we’ve created enough chances to score the goals and now it’s just about feeling good and taking a deep breath and putting the balls between the posts”.
The Utd manager was also reluctant to talk about the possibility of contending for the title, “I think we should just focus on ourselves and take one game as a time, and not talk about any title. Just focus on playing well and keep improving, we have improved a lot. For us, it’s about getting the momentum back on and get performances and continue where we’ve been”.
Southampton, on the other hand, have been hit with a triple injury blow ahead of tonight’s game. Theo Walcott, Ibrahima Diallo and Oriol Romeu all suffered injuries in the Saints’ 1-0 defeat against Aston Villa at the weekend and were labelled by Sky Sports as ‘major doubts’ to face Utd.
Jannik Vestergaard and Will Smallbone are both still on Southampton’s long-term injury list whilst Kyle Walker-Peters remains doubtful. However, Moussa Djenepo and Nathan Redmond both returned to first-team action on Saturday and will therefore be available for selection.
Man Utd XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Pogba; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood; Martial.
As per usual, Solskjaer will be looking to rotate his squad. The first of these changes may see Eric Bailly come in for Victor Lindelof. Lindelof has been suffering with a long-term back problem, therefore Solskjaer frequently rotates the central defender giving him the opportunity to rest. As Lindelof played a full 90 minutes only two days ago, it would not be surprising to see Bailly partner Harry Maguire in the centre of defence tonight.
It is also likely Mason Greenwood will get a chance to start after only being subbed on in the 80th minute of Saturday’s game. This would see Marcus Rashford move to the left-wing, pushing Paul Pogba into a central midfield position alongside Fred.
There is also a chance Anthony Martial will be given a start in the centre-forward position in the place of Edinson Cavani. Martial was substituted on in the 37th minute at the weekend after Scott McTominay was forced off with stomach complaints. As Edinson Cavani proved to be a highly useful substitute for Utd in their previous fixture against Southampton, contributing two goals to the scoreline, this is something Solskjaer may be considering in his game plan.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Ward-Prowse, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Djenepo, Armstrong, Jankewitz, Redmond; Adams, Ings.
Yan Valery has completed a deadline day move to Championship side Birmingham City for the remainder of the season. Therefore, James Ward-Prowse, who played as a right-back for Southampton’s in their previous game is likely to start there again tonight.
If Southampton are to be without Diallo, Romeu and Walcott, it is likely that Moussa Djenepo, Nathan Redmond and Alexandre Jankewitz will all gain a spot in the starting line-up in midfield. This will therefore open up a space for Che Adams to partner Danny Ings up front for the Saints.
Man Utd will be looking to make a stand against Southampton, having dropped points in their last two games. Southampton have struggled this year, only winning one game this month, not helped of course by their unfortunate battle with injuries.
However, with the Saints’ energetic and intense style of football, coupled with the talent of their top striker Danny Ings, Man Utd will be not be expected to come away with an easy win.
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