Manchester United fought hard against a resilient Southampton side at the St Mary’s Stadium to secure a 1-0 win, thanks to a goal by Romelu Lukaku.
When the final whistle sounded at St Mary’s, Manchester United fans remained divided on their opinions about the match. While some felt like this was a well-deserved victory due to Jose Mourinho’s defensive plays, others felt like there was no need for the manager to play that way to defend a single goal.
Be that as it may, the fact is that United managed to pocket three points and remain unbeaten. To the sole goal-scorer of the night – Romelu Lukaku – and the rest of Manchester United’s players though, this felt like a big win. It was definitely not a vintage performance from United; in fact, it was far from that.
They were careless in possession and clutched on to their lead for long periods of the second half. Having said that, the United defenders did a good job. Southampton showed improved confidence after their victory at Crystal Palace last weekend and Phil Jones made superb interceptions twice to thwart danger.
Regardless of the frenzy, the performances amounted to three points and Mourinho will be happy with the win. The Hard Tackle runs the rule over the performance by the Manchester United players.
David de Gea – 7/10
David de Gea was barely tested throughout the course of the game. In fact, at times he seemed reluctant to come off his line but kept steadily at a stadium where his past heroics have won United points. He was his usual dependable self whenever the team needed him.
Antonio Valencia – 6/10
Valencia was a tad bit of a let-down tonight. He is usually extremely outgoing and adventurous but he wasn’t his influential self against Southampton. He had very little effect on United’s attack while surging forward. He seemed more adept in his own third, where he was quite solid.
Eric Bailly – 8/10
Bailly has improved remarkably over the course of the new season, and seems to be enjoying his role alongside Phil Jones. Against Southampton, although he made a careless start, he went on to rectify his positioning, following which he provided good cover. He restricted most of Southampton’s knock-downs quite well.
Phil Jones – 8/10
Another United defender who stood out was Phil Jones. Although Southampton exposed him at times with a couple of aerial deliveries, Jones remained unperturbed and stayed solid throughout the match. Jones truly put up a commanding performance and has proven why United need him in their back-line.
Ashley Young – 7.5/10
Young was easily United’s best crosser and seems like the ideal solution for Mourinho’s left-back conundrum. At the back, he was often a solid customer, although he was caught out of position at times against Cedric Soares and Dusan Tadic. He also provided the assist for Romelu Lukaku’s goal.
Nemanja Matic – 7/10
Manchester United may be dearly missing Paul Pogba, but his partner in crime continues to put in solid performances every week. It comes as no coincidence that the visiting club scored after he took charge of the game. However, Matic seemed a bit tired and overwhelmed during the second half.
Marouane Fellaini – 6.5/10
Fellaini might be Mourinho’s favourite but he blew hot and cold on Saturday. He was told off by Bailly and Jones for not pressing enough and did not register a good work-rate. However, his impact inside his own box was exemplary, reflected by his late clearance off the line from Oriol Romeu’s header.
Juan Mata – 6/10
Mata played only for an hour but for the amount of the time he was on the field, he did his duty diligently enough. The Spaniard moved along the front-line smartly, but was guilty of not being clinical enough. An average yet dependable performance from the former Chelsea man.
Marcus Rashford – 5.5/10
The youngster started on a bright note but then somehow faded away into the background. He almost seemed too selfish at times with regard to his dribbling especially when his teammates were better placed. It was an average day at work for Rashford and he has certainly seen better days.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6/10
His struggles last season appear to be like a distant memory now. Mkhitaryan was a major threat on the counter and linked the attack effortlessly whenever United advanced forward. However, he was sloppy at times with his passing, which could do with some work.
Romelu Lukaku – 8/10
Lukaku has proven time and again that he is a player Manchester United can count on. He made it eight in eight for his new club with rather fluffed goal, but he will take it. However, the Belgian filtered out of the game when Southampton started dominating. A positive performance nonetheless.
Ander Herrera – 6/10
Chris Smalling – 5/10
Daley Blind – N/A