Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba stood out, but Cristiano Ronaldo was sub-par as Southampton held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

The first half started in an electric manner, with both teams trading blows in the early exchanges. But Manchester United gained control of the proceedings midway through the first half and duly went ahead through Jadon Sancho, who scored from point-blank range after being found by Marcus Rashford at the end of a swift counter-attacking move.

Manchester United continued piling on the pressure for the remainder of the first half but could not capitalise on their periods of dominance heading into half-time. That would subsequently cost the hosts dearly as Southampton got back on level terms two minutes after the break as Che Adams surprisingly found acres of space inside the box to score from close range.

Buoyed by the early goal in the second half, Southampton grew in confidence and created several openings that troubled the Manchester United defence. At the opposite end, the Red Devils conjured up a few half-chances but could not break the deadlock for a second time.

Fraser Forster made one stunning save to deny Harry Maguire late in the game, but that was the only big chance Manchester United engineered. In the end, it was yet another game that ended with dropped points for Manchester United, with their top-four bid suffering a setback. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ralf Rangnick’s men.

David de Gea: 5/10

He might have made three solid stops to keep Manchester United in the game, but de Gea’s rating gets docked because he should have done far better to keep out Che Adams’s effort. Time and again, de Gea gets caught in an awkward position wherein he is neither here nor there, and this was another such instance. As a result, Adams got enough space to aim his shot perfectly.

Diogo Dalot: 5/10

Dalot put in the hard yards defensively and did well to keep pace with the tricky Mohamed Elyounoussi. But the Portuguese defender was caught out of position when Adams drifted into the box to score the equaliser. Dalot was a potent outlet down the right flank, but his output often left a lot to be desired.

Raphael Varane: 5/10

Varane has often been a solid customer at the heart of the Manchester United defence. But the French international was pulled out of position in his attempt to close down Elyounoussi, leaving Harry Maguire high and dry inside the box. Otherwise, Varane did not do much wrong, winning all his aerial duels while completing most of his attempted passes.

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Harry Maguire: 6/10

Maguire endured some nervy moments at the back, but he held his ground for the most part. The Manchester United captain made some crucial blocks and interceptions while efficiently playing out from the back. He cannot be faulted for Adams’s goal to level the scoreline. He even came close to scoring once but was denied by a fabulous save by Fraser Forster.

Luke Shaw: 5/10

Shaw’s difficult campaign continues to get worse, with the Englishman struggling to provide as influential an outlet in the final third as he would have liked. The English international also had a couple of hairy moments against Stuart Armstrong.

Bruno Fernandes: 7/10

Bruno Fernandes endured a game of hits and misses. While the Portuguese international was the most influential player for Manchester United, he let the frustrations get the better of him as the minutes wore on, giving the ball away cheaply several times. But he was the architect of his team’s goal, releasing Marcus Rashford before the Englishman squared the ball for Jadon Sancho.

Scott McTominay: 6/10

McTominay experienced some positive and a few major negative moments in the game. The Scot misplaced just three passes throughout his outing and opened up play nicely with long balls. But he struggled to provide adequate cover to the backline, especially in the build-up to the equaliser. The academy graduate was sacrificed late in the game as Manchester United sought the winner.

Paul Pogba: 8/10

Pogba has been deployed as a box-to-box midfielder since his return from injury, and the French international seems to be revelling in the role. The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner was given the freedom to roam around the pitch, and he pulled the strings smartly. But despite his exploits, he could not inspire Manchester United to clinch three points.

Marcus Rashford: 5/10

Rashford’s struggles show no end. While the English international might have set up Sancho’s goal, that was as good as it got for him. Rashford’s decision making left a lot to be desired, and he lost the ball a staggering 21 times. Considering he is not putting in enough defensive shift, he has to do much better.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10

Ronaldo has often been heralded as the game-changer for Manchester United, but he has not showed any of those qualities in some time. The Portuguese striker could not hold the ball and failed to link up with teammates sufficiently. Ronaldo mustered only two shots and was unable to test Fraser Forster enough.

Jadon Sancho: 8/10

Sancho has been showing signs of finally starting to settle down at Old Trafford, and this was another step in the right direction. The Englishman was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring for Manchester United and showed his creative instincts smartly. Some of his passes deserved better end product, but his teammates let him down big time.

SUBSTITUTES

Anthony Elanga: N/A

Elanga replaced Scott McTominay with 15 minutes left in the game but barely got a touch on the ball, meaning he could not make a difference.

Jesse Lingard: N/A

A late introduction in place of Rashford, Lingard did not get many opportunities to make his mark in the game’s final stretch while earning a yellow card for his troubles.

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