An in-form Southampton side host Manchester United at St Mary’s on Sunday, with United hoping to record a third straight league victory.
Here’s all you need to know about that Sunday’s intriguing clash:
Form & Team News
The Saints have been in excellent form of late, with their last defeat coming in the 5-2 thrashing at home to Tottenham Hotspur on 20 September where they were ripped apart by the destructive duo of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
Since then Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side have been superb, picking up five wins and two draws to leave them in fifth place, just three points behind leaders Spurs.
Such a run of form appeared unlikely when star striker Danny Ings was forced off with a knee injury during the 4-3 win over Aston Villa at the start of the month, yet to their credit, they’ve looked just as impressive without the former Liverpool man.
Their most recent encounter saw the Saints earn a deserved point against Wolves away at Molineux, as Theo Walcott scored his first goal for the club since his return this summer.
One major factor in Southampton’s rise has been the improvement of forward, Che Adams, with the former Birmingham City man looking to have finally transferred his lethal Championship form to the top flight.
With the clash against United to come, the Saints boss is likely to make few changes, particularly with the likes of Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond not yet ready to return. Summer signing Mohammed Salisu, who is yet to make his debut for the club, is also nearing a return from injury.
Manchester United: WDLWW
Having lost three of their opening six league games, including a 6-1 wallopping at the hands of Spurs and 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace, Manchester United have started to find a small vein of form in recent weeks.
While fans and pundits alike need to refrain from making hasty judgements of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, the fact that they have won three in-a-row will have somewhat eased the pressure on the Norwegian.
The big challenge now is for the Red Devils to gain some consistency, after an erratic start to the season which has already left them playing catch-up, as they trail leaders Spurs by seven points, albeit with a game in hand.
Their most recent league meeting saw United put in a tame performance at home to West Brom, with the hosts once again reliant on a Bruno Fernandes penalty to bail them out of trouble and end their Old Trafford hoodoo.
That below-par win was followed up by a much-improved display in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with their first-half showing, in particular, seeing Solskjaer’s attacking lineup put opponents Istanbul Basaksehir to the sword. A delightful Fernandes brace and a Marcus Rashford penalty put United in control, before Daniel James added a late fourth after a late rally by the visitors.
That win will leave the United boss with a number of decisions to make, with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek impressing after being handed a rare starting berth in midweek. As for injuries, Luke Shaw remains out, while both Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will have to be assessed after they were forced off against the Turkish champions.
Manchester United 2-2 Southampton, 13 July 2020
The two sides last met at the back end of last season, with United chasing what had previously seemed an unlikely top-four spot following a terrific run of results post-lockdown.
That form almost instantly went out of the window, however, after Stuart Armstrong fired home following a Paul Pogba error in midfield.
The hosts responded well to going behind and grabbed an equaliser less than 10 minutes later, with Anthony Martial teeing up Marcus Rashford who duly slotted home. Martial was then on the scoresheet himself just three minutes later, after a fine solo run into the box that ended with a rifled finish into the roof of the net.
To their credit, the visitors didn’t crumble and were rewarded for the efforts with a deserved last-gasp equaliser, as substitute Michael Obafemi bundled home in the sixth minute of stoppage time to deny United all three points.
Southampton: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Romeu, Djenepo; Walcott, Adams.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Van de Beek, Fernandes; Martial, Cavani, Rashford.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event.
What time is kick off?
Sunday 29 November, 14:00 GMT
Southampton – 14/5
Manchester United – 19/20
Draw – 12/5