Manchester United will aim to continue their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when they travel to St. Mary’s to take on Southampton
Premier League action resumes on the weekend with Gameweek 6. With the competition heating up at the top of the table, Manchester United will hope to go clear of bitter rivals Manchester City by continuing their winning ways, when they face Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.
The hosts have endured a topsy-turvy start to their 2017-18 Premier League campaign, with only two wins from their opening five outings. Mauricio Pellegrino’s men, though, come into this match on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend.
Manchester United, on the other hand, are flying high with an unbeaten start to the season, with just one draw from their opening seven games in all competitions. Jose Mourinho’s men, too, come into the match on the back of a win – a resounding 4-1 home success over Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup.
The corresponding fixture last season was practically an inconsequential game as both sides played out a drab goalless draw.
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Mauricio Pellegrino does not have any pressing injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Saturday. Left-back Matt Target is, in fact, the only doubt for the Southampton boss as he is struggling with an ankle problem.
But, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is back in contention for a place in the starting lineup after missing last weekend’s trip to Crystal Palace due to the birth of his daughter. Also in contention to make the starting eleven is Virgil van Dijk, who made his first appearance of the season last weekend as a late substitute.
The unsettled Dutch defender failed to force through a move away from St. Mary’s in the summer, but is now set to play a key role for the Saints over the course of the season. That could start from Saturday, if he makes a first start in eight months.
Meanwhile, the struggling Southampton attack will face its most formidable opponents thus far, and the likes of Nathan Redmond, Dusan Tadic and Steven Davis will need to put their best foot forward in order to get anything away from the match, and even that might not be enough.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Forster; Cedric, Hoedt, Yoshida, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina; Tadic, Davis, Redmond; Long
Like his counterpart in the Southampton dugout, Jose Mourinho does not have any fresh injury concerns to key first-team players either. Therefore, the Manchester United boss continues to be without Paul Pogba (hamstring), Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (both knee) ahead of the trip to St. Mary’s.
There is no set date stamped for the return of Pogba, as confirmed by Mourinho himself, although it is expected that the Frenchman will return by the third week of October. Rojo and Ibrahimovic though, are unlikely to play a part for Manchester United for the remainder of the year as they continue their respective rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is expected to restore his usual starting lineup in the Premier League, meaning the likes of David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku are set to return to the starting lineup.
Ashley Young is also in the mix, and the veteran Englishman could continue on the left side of defence after two solid outings last week. Mourinho, though, has a major selection headache on his hands with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both vying a place in the starting lineup after impressive performances in the Carabao Cup.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Young; Fellaini, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku
- Southampton have lost 24 games against Manchester United in the Premier League (W7 D5); four more defeats than they have suffered against any other opponent in the English top flight.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last six Premier League visits to St. Mary’s, winning 14 out of a possible 18 points on offer (W4 D2 L0).
- Southampton have lost 10 Premier League games in 2017 so far. If they lose on Saturday, they will have already equalled their tally of top flight losses in 2016 (11), with 15 more games left to play this calendar year.
- Eight different players have managed to find the back of the net for Manchester United in the Premier League thus far, more than any other side. At this stage last season, they only had four different goalscorers.
- Romelu Lukaku alone has scored more league goals (5) than Southampton (4) this season so far, despite attempting 47 fewer shots (24 vs 71).
1. Manchester United to win @1.72
2. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @2.10
3. Over 9.5 Match Corners @1.80
1. Manchester United Asian Handicap -1.5 @3.00
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Manchester United have made a resounding start to the 2017-18 season, and a key feature of their games thus far is their ability to score bundles of goals. In fact, the fewest number of goals they have scored in a match so far is two, and even in those games it looked like they could have found the back of the net more times.
One man who is yet to make a direct contribution to a single goal this season is Juan Mata. The Spaniard has featured in each of the games for the Red Devils this season, and has remained integral to Jose Mourinho’s plans, creating space for his teammates to exploit with his constant running off the ball.
But, Saturday is the perfect opportunity for Mata to break his duck and get up and running for the season against a Southampton defence that has often looked vulnerable. Even if he does not make a direct contribution in the game though, his presence will be key for the likes of Mkhitaryan and Lukaku to make hay.
Southampton 0-2 Manchester United
Another weekend, another game that gives Jose Mourinho and co. to prove their credentials for the title as they visit a ground where they have had some close contests in recent years. On Saturday though, the Red Devils have a chance to enjoy their biggest win over Southampton since they returned to the Premier League.
The Saints have uncharacteristically struggled in the early parts of the season, making a slow start to life under Mauricio Pellegrino. Their record at home does not exactly inspire much confidence, as they have failed to score in eight of their last 10 Premier League games.
Thus far, they have only scored a quarter of a goals that their visitors on Saturday have, with Romelu Lukaku alone managing to find the back of the net more times than the entire Southampton side. On Saturday, that should continue once again as a solid Manchester United outperform the hosts.