Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways as Southampton prepare themselves to visit Old Trafford in the final gameweek of 2017.
Manchester United sit second on the Premier League table, trailing leaders Manchester City by 15 points and with Chelsea only a point behind them in third on the table. They are without a win in the last three games in all competitions.
Southampton are on a slump of their own, fresh from the thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, The Saints have not tasted victory since defeating Everton 4-1 on November 26th. Southampton will look for a result against Manchester United, with only two points separating them from the relegation zone.
A solitary Romelu Lukaku made the difference at St. Mary’s in their last encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jose Mourinho has a tough call to make on the team line up for Saturday, with defensive problems mounting in terms of both form and injuries after conceding six goals in the last three games. In their Boxing-Day fixture against Burnley, Mourinho played Zlatan Ibrahimovic in an unfamiliar No. 10 position, which failed to yield the desired results.
However, Jesse Lingard has been in a redefined form of late, scoring six and assisting two in the last seven games and is expected to start again.
Manchester United have a few injury troubles, as Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmain are all doubtful for Saturday, with Eric Bailly still out with injury. Marcos Rojo has recovered and is available for selection. In midfield, Mourane Fellaini and Michael Carrick remain unavailable.
Anthony Martial, who missed Burnley should also be available after taking part in full training. Romelu Lukaku is expected to lead the line despite Mourinho’s recent ‘Tired’ claims of the Belgian, who has played every minute United’s Premier League campaign so far.
Probable Lineup ( 4-2-3-1): De Gea; Lindelof, Jones, Rojo, Young; Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Mata, Lingard; Lukaku
Southampton boss, Mauricio Pellegrino is under scrutiny and will miss two of their crucial players for their trip to Old Trafford – Virgil Van Dijk agreed to join Liverpool and Charlie Austin is serving a three-match ban for an on-field infringement. Pellegrino is expected to ring in the changes after the heavy defeat to Tottenham.
In defence, Cedric Soares (Ankle) and Ryan Bertrand are both doubtful for the weekend. Dusan Tadic is expected to be back in the line up after his goal against Tottenham, but otherwise, no significant changes are expected after the thrashing at Tottenham. Gabbiadini is expected to replace Long up front and Ward Prowse in place of Lemina.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Forster; Stephens, Yoshida, Hoedt, Targett; Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Davis, Boufal; Gabbiadini
1. Manchester United Asian Handicap -1.5 @ 2.025
2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.83
1. Juan Mata to score anytime @ 3.40
1. Manchester United have recorded a clean sheet in the last three Premier League matches against Southampton.
2. Southampton has two victories in their last three visits to Old Trafford.
3. A Manchester United win would mean a double over Southampton since the 2012/13 season.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has four goals in his two appearances against Southampton in all competitions.
Player to Watch
The Belgian has been receiving a lot of flak recently. Lukaku tried being the creator against Leicester City but his teammates failed to oblige the wonderful balls he sent their way. However, his display against Burnley was shocking at best. Lukaku needs to redeem himself and a goal or two against Southampton will be useful.
Manchester United 2-0 Southampton
Manchester United are looking to get back to winning ways against Southampton after a recent slump in form. Southampton, on the other hand, is struggling for form under Mauricio Pellegrino, failing to win a game for over a month now. The Saints find themselves only two points above the relegation zone and will expect a response against Manchester United.
However, the Red Devils are much better in attack for this Southampton defence, who would be missing the best defender in Virgil Van Dijk as the Dutchman agreed to join Liverpool in a world record deal for a defender.
With both teams under pressure to get a result, Manchester United will find it tough against a team they struggled against last season.