Daniel James was one of the few positives as Manchester United played out a disappointing 1-1 draw with Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday
Southampton were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, with Manchester United struggling to get on the ball in the first 10 minutes. But, against the run of play, the visitors went on to grab the lead, as Daniel James produced a fantastic finish after being found by Scott McTominay outside the Saints’ box.
Manchester United now had all the momentum and conjured up most of the meaningful chances. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and James came the closest for the Red Devils to double their advantage. But, United could not make good on their domination on the pitch as they entered the break with their slender advantage.
Southampton came hot off the gates post the interval, taking the game to the visitors. And, piling on the pressure paid dividends 13 minutes into the second half, as Jannik Vestergaard climbed the highest to nod in from Kevin Danso’s cross. Danso was sent off 15 minutes later, which ought to have given Manchester United some boost in their search for a winner.
But, bar an effort from Mason Greenwood, the record English champions could not manage to threaten the Southampton goal. With Manchester United now without a win for the third successive game, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
Not an awful lot he could have done to deny Jannik Vestergaard. The Manchester United No. 1 did his best to keep a second clean sheet of the season, with a save from Danny Ings standing out. But, in the end, de Gea was left frustrated once again. Looked uncertain while distributing the ball and he still is not comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7/10
A nervy start to the game saw Wan-Bissaka being suspect when on the ball. But, the Englishman dealt well with the threat of the Southampton attack when defending and had the measure of Sofiane Boufal. His delivery from the right flank needs a great deal of work, pending which Manchester United will continue looking meek from their long-standing problem area.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
A mixed bag of a game for Lindelof, who continues to look uncharacteristically nervy on the ball and was often hurried off it by Southampton. But, the Swede was strong in 1v1 situations, dealing with Danny Ings quite well. However, he should have done better to deny Vestergaard, who beat him in the air quite easily.
Harry Maguire: 7/10
While Manchester United struggled at times against the Southampton high press, Maguire rarely looked troubled, bar the moment when he was shown the yellow card for a foul on Che Adams. Otherwise, the Englishman kept Adams quiet all game long and was also confident while taking the ball forward.
Ashley Young: 6/10
Into the side in place of Luke Shaw, Young produced a decent enough performance, one that was much improved from his horror shows towards the end of last season. Up against the marauding Cedric, the veteran Englishman was rarely troubled at the back. Provided a decent outlet going forward. Tougher tests await.
Scott McTominay: 7/10
Another largely convincing performance by McTominay, who often put his body on the line when Southampton heaped the pressure. While positional awareness remains a problem in the holding midfield role, McTominay is just the kind of player to drive Manchester United forward with purposeful runs. Starting to belong as a regular.
Scott McTominay’s game by numbers vs. Southampton:
100% successful take-ons
100% tackles won
5 ball recoveries
Man Utd’s best midfielder so far this season. 🏴 pic.twitter.com/WK1ZPjQ9Va
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 31, 2019
Paul Pogba: 5/10
A game of two halves for Pogba, who just could not manage to keep hold of the ball in the first period. In fact, at one point, the Frenchman lost the ball three times in 30 seconds. That’s how grim the situation seemed. But, Pogba put in the hard yards defensively all game long and turned it around in the second half. Could have had two assists, if not for some dodgy finishing by Rashford.
Andreas Pereira: 4/10
With Anthony Martial out injured, Pereira got a rare opportunity to impress. But, he just failed to take his chance. As a matter of fact, the Brazilian was a passenger against Southampton, providing very little going forward while also leaving a lot to be desired with his decision-making. Has done himself no favours.
Juan Mata: 6.5/10
Replacing Jesse Lingard, Mata had a lot of responsibility when it came to the creative side of things. And, the Spaniard’s selection proved to be a masterstroke in a first half that Manchester United largely dominated. Mata linked up well with James in the final third, with the duo wreaking havoc at times. Faded in the second half as he started growing more tired. Made quite an impression.
Daniel James: 8/10
Starting in his favoured role on the left flank, James looked like a completely different player than he did in his first two starts of the season when playing from the right. Put Manchester United in front with a stunning strike from the edge of the box, reminiscent of the one against Crystal Palace last week.
The early goal – his third from his first three shots on target for Manchester Untied – sent the confidence seeping through in James, who never feared taking on the opposition defender. Growing in stature with each game and he could soon be making his transfer fee seem like a steal.
Marcus Rashford: 3/10
From the good to the bad. Marcus Rashford endured a truly horrific afternoon at Southampton. In our preview of the game, we had written how it was up to Rashford to not let the absence of Martial be felt dearly. But, that is exactly what happened in a game that was riddled with heavy touches and a poor output. Lacking in confidence at the moment, which is making him a liability.
Jesse Lingard: 4/10
Sent on to find the elusive winner, Lingard was a frustrating figure yet again, leaving a lot to be desired when it came to his decision-making. On a couple of occasions, he could have easily picked out a teammate instead of taking aim at goal. Just not good enough at the moment.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
A game of positives and negatives. While Matic’s presence in midfield did stem the flow of the Southampton attacks, the Serb slowed down the tempo of the game at a time when Manchester United needed to bombard forward at pace. Still, decent enough for the disgruntled superstar’s first outing of the season.
Mason Greenwood: N/A
Sent on with just 10 minutes left in the game, Solskjaer left it too late to introduce Greenwood. The teenage prodigy almost immediately made his mark, forcing Angus Gunn into a fine stop. But, he did not have much time to make more impact, as the game fizzled into a draw.