MANCHESTER UNITED FC
St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
Sunday 20th September, 2015, 1600 GMT
15th place Southampton will host 4th place Manchester United at the St Mary’s Stadium in a late afternoon kickoff on Sunday. The Red Devils will be looking to build upon their impressive 3-0 victory in the league over arch rivals Liverpool last weekend. The Saints have endured a lukewarm start to the season with 1 win and 3 draws and will be hoping to kick start their campaign with a win over Louis van Gaal’s men.
Team News and Tactics
Southampton are expected to field the same 11 that drew 0-0 last week against West Brom. Dutchman Maarten Stekelenburg is expected to continue in goal and will be hoping to notch up his 4th successive clean sheet against the Red Devils.
His fellow Dutchman and new signing Virgil van Dijk will partner Jose Fonte at the centre of defence. Cedric Soares will be looking to continue his impressive start to the season in a Southampton jersey and will start at right-back against Manchester United. Left-back Ryan Bertrand, who hasn’t featured at all this season, is yet to fully recover from his knee injury thus giving 20-year-old Matt Targett his sixth consecutive start for the club.
The highly effective midfield pivot of Victor Wanyama and Steven Davis will continue to shield the defence behind the attacking trio of Mane, Ward-Prowse and Tadic. Mane started from the bench last week on account of his late arrival from International duty but is expected to feature in the starting line up for Southampton against Manchester United.
Italian striker Graziano PellA? will be hoping to add to his tally of 2 goals in the league and will continue to lead the line for Southampton.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Targett; Wanyama, Davis; Tadic, Ward-Prowse, Mane; Pelle
Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2-1 loss to Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in Europe midweek when they travel to the South coast to face Southampton on Sunday. United have had a mixed start to the new campaign with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. They will be hoping to consolidate their place in the top 4 when they face Ronald Koeman’s gritty Southampton side.
The Red Devils will be without left-back Luke Shaw after he suffered a horrendous double leg break against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night. The defender was reduced to tears as he left the field after enduring Hector Moreno’s horrific tackle and will be out for a minimum of 6 months. Daley Blind will occupy the left-back role in Shaw’s absence with Argentine Marcos Rojo pairing Chris Smalling at the centre of defence. Italian Matteo Darmian will continue at right-back. Phil Jones has returned to training but this fixture has come too soon for the Englishman.
Morgan Schneiderlin will be raring to face his old club when he lines alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in a deeper role in midfield. It will be interesting to see how Van Gaal lines up the attacking midfield trio of Depay, Mata and Herrera against Southampton. Herrera is expected to occupy the number 10 role with Depay and Mata occupying the wings.
Striker Wayne Rooney has fully recovered from his injury and will make his much awaited return to the starting line up when he leads the line for Manchester United against Southampton. New signing Anthony Martial is expected to start on the bench alongside Marouane Fellaini.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Rojo, Blind; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Herrera, Depay; Rooney.
- Southampton have only won two of their last seventeen matches against United, both of which were 1-0 wins.
- United have not kept a clean sheet against the Saints in their last seven meetings.
- After conceding five goals in their first two games, Ronald Koemana s men have kept three straight clean sheets.
- There has been just one red card in the 32 Premier League meetings between Saints and Man Utd; that came in the 6-3 victory for the Saints in October 1996.
- The Red Devils have covered more ground than any other Premier League side after five matchdays (578.5km).
(Source: eplindex.com; fourfourtwo.com)
Player to watch out for:
Morgan Schneiderlin will be looking to savour his return to St Mary’s when he faces his former club Southampton.
Schneiderlin has made an impressive start to his Manchester United career under Louis van Gaal. He continues to perform his role as defensive shield in midfield with distinction and fits in seamlessly with Van Gaal’s philosophy.
After spending 7 seasons and making over 200 appearances for the Saints, the Frenchman will be anxious to put on a stellar display in front of the St. Mary’s faithful.
Southampton 1 – 1 Manchester United
Having suffered a 2-1 loss to PSV Eindhoven in midweek, United will be anxious to bounce back against Southampton on Sunday. Wayne Rooney will be desperate to get on the score sheet when he makes his much awaited return from injury.
Southampton have one of the tightest defences in England and have kept 3 consecutive clean sheets in the last 3 matches. However, they have struggled in front of goal and have failed to hit the back of the net in 3 of their 5 matches played this season.
Both teams are expected to cancel each other out in a tight affair at St Mary’s.