Mason Greenwood was the only positive in a sub-par Manchester United side as they were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Southampton at St. Mary’s on Sunday.
Manchester United made a slow start to the game before getting some control over the proceedings, although they hardly managed to trouble Alex McCarthy in the Southampton goal. In fact, it was the hosts who ended up grabbing the lead against the run of play, and in contentious circumstances as Che Adams’s shot was deflected via Fred past David de Gea at the half-hour mark.
Manchester United showed a lot of urgency post the interval and went back on level terms just ten minutes into the second period, as Mason Greenwood scored with a scuffed effort. Thereafter, though, the visitors were snuffed out smartly by Southampton as the game petered out to be a 1-1 draw.
While Manchester United have now equalled the Premier League record of the longest unbeaten run on the road, they have now dropped some unnecessary points early in the season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
Had absolutely no chance to stop the effort from Che Adams, as it took a heavy deflection off Fred. Otherwise, de Gea was not tested a whole lot to do, although he did make a couple of big saves to ensure Manchester United did not concede more than once. Continues to improve on the ball, misplacing just one pass all game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
One of the better performers for Manchester United, Wan-Bissaka grew into the game steadily while being solid off the ball for the most part. Completed five tackles while winning as many duels. Going forward, though, the positive moments only came few and far between, although he did play a couple of key passes.
Victor Lindelof: 5/10
After an outstanding performance last weekend, this was a cruel leveller for Lindelof, who really should have done far better defensively in the moments leading up to the Southampton goal. Did win five duels while making two clearances and tackles each. However, his passing was surprisingly sloppy at an unusually low 80 percent. With Raphael Varane breathing down his neck, this was not a performance that Lindelof needed.
Harry Maguire: 5/10
A sub-par showing by Maguire, who struggled to keep the Manchester United backline organised, which constantly brought Southampton into the game. Inexplicably looked to play out from the back when it just was not happening for him, misplacing as many as 13 passes. Gifted the ball to Adam Armstrong late on before he was bailed out by de Gea’s brilliant stop.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Shaw, who was a constant outlet down the left flank and played x key passes. However, there were a few hairy moments on the defensive front, especially with Paul Pogba not providing a lot of support off the ball. The deliveries from his set-pieces were top notch, and on another day, he could have had an assist or two.
A disastrous performance by Fred, who just could not manage to assert himself on the game while losing the ball cheaply on several occasions. To add to his misery, the ball deflected heavily off of the Brazilian when Southampton grabbed the lead. And while he did play a couple of key passes, his passing rate of 75 percent was just too abysmal. Has to do better.
Nemanja Matic: 5/10
A surprise starter ahead of Scott McTominay, Matic was an incorrect selection by Solskjaer. While the veteran Serb did show exquisite control on the ball and played some nice releasing passes, he was a tad bit too slow off the ball and was overrun with ease at times. And like Fred, his passing rate of 77 percent left quite a bit to be desired.
Mason Greenwood: 7/10
Mason Greenwood has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 11 domestic games — 9 goals & 1 assist.
Already becoming a consistent performer despite his age. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Xi9S7xGwW1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 22, 2021
With Anthony Martial back in the starting lineup, Greenwood was deployed on the right flank. And the teenage prodigy was not quite as effective out on the wings as he was when playing through the middle. So, it hardly came as a surprise that his goal came when he had drifted into a central area. Played as a striker following Martial’s substitution.
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
A frustrating game for some parts for Bruno Fernandes, who was crowded out at times by the Southampton defence. To make matters worse, he had the ball snatched off of him in the build-up to the Southampton goal, although that was arguably a foul. Showed some nice touches in the final third and played a game-high three key passes. However, he was well off his best for much of the game.
Paul Pogba: 6/10
Not quite as domineering as last weekend, when he was simply unstoppable, Pogba had a tendency to drift offside one too many times. Continued showing superb chemistry with Bruno Fernandes but the end produce was not always on point. However, his influence grew as the game progressed and it was his deft touch that set up Greenwood for his goal.
Paul Pogba has been directly involved in 7 goals [1⚽️ & 6🅰️] in his last 4 appearances for club and country.
In unbelievable form. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/sZvmXnrVjQ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 22, 2021
Anthony Martial: 4/10
Reinstated in the starting lineup in place of Daniel James, Martial continued pretty much from where he had left off last season, making no impact whatsoever as the focal point of the Manchester United attack. His first touch was nothing short of horrendous and it is clear that Martial is lacking in confidence.
Jadon Sancho: 6/10
On for Martial, Sancho’s easing in period continued and he once again took some time to get going after being introduced. Saw a fair bit of the ball but struggled to make it stick with his output on it. Will need some time to become a key player for Manchester United.
Scott McTominay: N/A
On for Fred in a substitution that ought to have been made earlier, McTominay could not provide Manchester United the control they needed to pile on the pressure on Southampton late on.
Jesse Lingard: N/A
A late introduction, Lingard made his first appearance for Manchester United since the final day of the 2019/20 season. Could not do anything to earn all three points late on.