Manchester United played a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford against a resurgent Southampton side on Saturday evening to drop down to 3rd on the table.
This was the 3rd time in a row that the Red Devils have drawn a league game. Jose Mourinho & co. are already 15 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, who drew their game last night against Crystal Palace.
United had De Gea to thank as the Spanish shot-stopper made a string of wonderful saves – the most notable of which was a bare one footed stop against Shane Long.
United were dealt a major injury blow early on as their star-striker Romelu Lukaku had to be stretchered off after suffering a head-collision with Wesley Hoedt, which leaves him out of contention for next 2 games atleast.
This leaves Mourinho really short of strikers up-front after he revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suffered an injury against Burnley on boxing day which will keep him on sidelines for at least one month.
The result has seen Manchester United drop down to third on the Premier League table, with Chelsea thrashing Stoke City 5-0 on the same evening. Let’s have a look at players’ rating:
David de Gea: 8.5/10
If there was one man deserving of praise on Saturday, it was De Gea. United have the Spaniard to thank after yet another eye-catching performance that kept them in the game. A marvellous save against Shane Long simply left everyone awestruck. No doubt why the likes of Real Madrid are interested in his services.
Ashley Young: 7/10
With Antonio Valencia still sidelined and Victor Lindelof starting at the heart of defence, the former Aston Villa man started as the right-back once again. Young was full of energy on the right flank, and was huge a threat going forward. However, the Englishman faces a 3-match ban after elbowing Dusan Tadic.
Victor Lindelof: 5.5/10
The summer signing had a very blow hot blow cold outing at the back, with Shane Long’s speed and directness giving him ample problems. The Swede was very good in the air though, dealing with every aerial threat smartly.
Phil Jones: 7/10
The rock at the back for Manchester United, Jones once again showed why he is rated so highly by Mourinho. The Englishman let very little past him, even as Southampton continued piling on the pressure. With games coming thick and fast, his fitness will be of utmost importance for Mourinho.
Luke Shaw: 6.5/10
It was a fairly good outing for the left-back, who’s been in and out of Mourinho’s book. Shaw played out well along the left though his end product left a bit to be desired, with pretty much every cross being blocked.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
The Serb had a rare off day on Saturday, offering little threat when going forward while also being slow in releasing the ball very very slowly. The only threat he posed was a shot that looked destined for the goal, but Pogba toeing it would rule it as offside eventually. Matic looks like he’s tired after a run of games, and could do with some rest.
✔️ on Lukaku: “I don’t know.”
✔️ on Zlatan: “He’s out for a month”
— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) December 30, 2017
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Pogba had an evening to forget as a tap-in, which would have otherwise counted as a goal, led to an offside. The Frenchman did have a few positives to show, with his cross-field balls a delight to watch, but he has largely been underwhelming since his comeback from suspension.
Juan Mata: 6.5/10
Mata had a decent showing compared to others in attack, feeding up strikers up-front. An early cross should have resulted in a goal, but Romelu Lukaku spurned a glorious opportunity to break his duck. One of the bigger threats for his side.
Jesse Lingard: 6.5/10
The most in-form player for Manchester United lately, the Englishman was in fine form and was denied a penalty by the referee when he lofted the ball above Yoshida only for the ball to touch his hand. Lingard showed a lot of energy and purpose in the final third, but with little to show for his efforts.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 4/10
After starting for the first time in almost two months, the Armenian wasted a lot of opportunities, with his passing being wayward and sloppy. It would certainly not play out well with Mourinho as he replaced Mkhitaryan with Anthony Martial with nearly half an hour to go. Does a winter transfer look to be on cards? Seems so!
Romelu Lukaku: 5/10
Missed a great chance early on when he headed Mata’s delivered ball over the bar. Lukaku’s outing came to an early end, when he had to be substituted just 13 minutes into the game after a clash of heads with Southampton defender Wesley Hoedt.
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
Rashford came on earlier than anticipated, and was a threat with his direct runs. But, he failed to offer an end product, and didn’t get many chances to make a distinct impact.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
A major upgrade over Mkhitaryan, Martial was far more involved than the Armenian. But, he didn’t offer enough either, and needs to pull his socks up.