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Southampton v Manchester United – Preview

Southampton host Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, the visitors looking to build upon their superb opening weekend win against Leeds.

Here’s all you need to know about that meeting at St Mary’s:

Form

Southampton: L

One game in, and it’s already looking likely to be a trying season for Southampton this term, with their player exodus leaving Ralph Hasenhuttl with a squad that appears to be lacking both depth and quality.

Having already seen Ryan Bertrand and Danny Ings depart for Leicester City and Aston Villa, respectively, the Saints have since suffered a further blow following the loss of defender Jannik Vestergaard to the Foxes for just £15m, the Dane having had just one year remaining on his existing deal.

 

Quite why the club were unable to tie any of those three down to a new contract is unclear, yet what is apparent is they are seemingly in need of further additions over the next few weeks in order to replace those departed senior players.

The club’s opening weekend defeat to Everton did see three new faces make their debuts, with Romain Perraud, Tino Livramento and Adam Armstrong all starting the game at Goodison Park, the latter netting the game’s opener before his side suffered a late collapse.

While Armstrong’s strike has perhaps raised hopes that he can attempt to fill the shoes of the previously prolific Ings, another bright spark was the display of former Chelsea youngster Livramento, the teenage full-back showcasing just why many of the Blues support were sad to see him leave Stamford Bridge.

As for this weekend’s clash, the only notable absentee is likely to be that of Will Smallbone, the young midfielder still recovering from his ACL injury.

Man United: W

The returning Manchester United support perhaps couldn’t have wished for a better start to the new campaign, having first seen the signing of new man Raphael Varane announced on the Old Trafford faithful prior to kick-off, before witnessing a simply stunning display as the Red Devils ran riot against rivals Leeds United.

Having romped to a 6-2 win in the same fixture last season, few predicted a similar rout from United this time around, particularly after Luke Ayling’s stunning strike had drawn Leeds level just after half-time, following Bruno Fernandes’ first-half opener.

However, in what was a blistering 20 minute spell that followed, the hosts sealed the win in ruthless fashion, goals from Mason Greenwood, a further two from Fernandes to seal his hat-trick and a rare Fred strike securing a devastating 5-1 triumph for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Embed from Getty Images

While the Norwegian will be fully aware that the tide can quickly turn, he will be encouraged by what was a strong display from his side, particularly from Paul Pogba, who seemingly shrugged off the speculation regarding his future to register four assists.

With Jadon Sancho – who made a late cameo off the bench at the weekend – still to be fully integrated into the side, as well as serial winner Varane, the expectation is that United will only get stronger, particularly considering that Solskajer was also without forwards Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani.

The former is set to be out until October, although the likes of Cavani, Varane, Jesse Lingard could feature in this weekend’s matchday squad. Dean Henderson is still a potential absentee as the goalkeeper continues to suffer the after-effects of a bout of Covid-19.

Last Meeting

Man United 9-0 Southampton, 2 February 2021

Saints fans won’t thank us for reminding them of the two sides last encounter, with the Red Devils running riot at Old Trafford to condemn Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to a 9-0 defeat for the second season running in the Premier League.

After losing debutant Alexandre Jankewitz to a straight red card inside two minutes, the visitors simply capitulated to find themselves 4-0 down at the break courtesy of goals from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and a Jan Bednarek own goal.

Following further strikes from Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay, Southampton’s evening then got worse as the Poland international Bednarek was perhaps harshly dismissed following a lengthy VAR review for bringing down Martial inside the penalty, allowing Bruno Fernandes to step up to slot home from the penalty spot.

Down to nine men for the final few minutes, the Saints were soon nine goals down as well, as another Martial effort and a late Dan James strike rubbed even more salt into the away side’s gaping wounds.

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Predicted Lineups

Southampton: McCarthy; Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Perraud; Walcott, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo; A Armstrong, Adams.

Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood.

Who is the referee?

Craig Pawson

What channel is it on?

UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Premier League.

What time is kick off?

Sunday 22 August, 14:00 BST

Odds

Southampton – 19/4

Man United – 4/7

Draw – 3/1

Read – Five of the Premier League’s biggest ever transfer sagas

Read Also – Appreciating every player to score a hat-trick for Man United in the PL era

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