Bruno Fernandes made the difference, while Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez stood out as Manchester United beat Southampton 1-0 on Saturday.
Manchester United dominated the proceedings for much of the first half, with Southampton looking dangerous in short spells. The hosts were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure from Manchester United in the first half, and that meant chances came few and far between.
But the visitors might feel they should have gone into half-time with a 1-0 lead after Anthony Elanga, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen had their shots either saved or blocked within milliseconds. Manchester United continued to pose more threat after the break, with Gavin Bazunu denying Scott McTominay early in the second period.
Armel Bella-Kotchap then blocked Anthony Elanga before Manchester United finally broke the deadlock with a well-worked team move. Christian Eriksen and Jadon Sancho were involved heavily before Diogo Dalot crossed the ball in for Bruno Fernandes, whose first-time shot bundled into the net past Bazunu.
But Manchester United took the foot off the pedal after that, with Southampton pushing for the equaliser. The Red Devils did not test Bazunu even once after scoring, as the hosts looked to get back on level terms. The introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo did not make any difference either, as Manchester United aimed to absorb the pressure that Southampton created.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 27, 2022
Casemiro came on to make his Manchester United debut, and his presence helped Manchester United see out Southampton’s pressure successfully. The result has helped Manchester United climb into the top half of the Premier League table, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Erik ten Hag’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
David de Gea did not have much to do, even though Southampton remained on top of Manchester United for the last half hour. But the Spaniard made a good reflex save to deny Joe Aribo from point-blank range while coming off his line smartly on a couple of occasions. In doing so, he kept only his second clean sheet in 16 games.
Diogo Dalot: 7/10
Diogo Dalot blew hot and cold while having a few nervy moments against Adam Armstrong on his flank. But the Portuguese international delivered the cross that ended with Bruno Fernandes’s goal and earned Manchester United the three points. He also made a crucial clearance off the line to preserve de Gea’s clean sheet.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Varane’s partnership with Lisandro Martinez continued to blossom on Saturday, with the French defender producing a resolute display at the back. He made six clearances while being solid in the air. His passing was better than most teammates, which was important when Southampton piled the pressure on Manchester United.
A first clean sheet for the Lisandro Martinez x Raphael Varane partnership 🧱 pic.twitter.com/plRACJgByb
— GOAL (@goal) August 27, 2022
Lisandro Martinez: 8/10
Martinez was on top of his game again on Saturday, continuing from where he left off against Liverpool. The Argentine defender was a rock at the back, making numerous crucial clearances while winning every duel he contested (6/6). His passing was not as precise as he would have liked, but he stood out defensively.
Tyrell Malacia: 7/10
Malacia started a second successive game and looked determined at the back, producing various defensive actions to keep Mohamed Elyounoussi quiet. There were a few sloppy passes but nothing that might have left him sweating. But he did not get the chance to influence the play in the final third.
Christian Eriksen: 8/10
Eriksen was the clear standout for Manchester United on Saturday, as he looked the best bet for the visitors to create something out of nothing in the first half. Some of his passes to open the play were delightful, and he came close to scoring in the opening period. He also put in the hard yards off the ball in his best performance thus far for Manchester United.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
McTominay continued from where he left against Liverpool, producing a dogged performance in the middle of the park. But his passing was lacklustre, and he was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he entangled with Che Adams and saw the ball hit both his arms in quick succession late in the game.
Anthony Elanga: 7/10
Erik ten Hag deployed Elanga on the right flank to exploit Moussa Djenepo’s defensive frailties. And the young Swede caused the makeshift Southampton left-back plenty of problems with his directness while coming close to scoring once. He also played a team-high three key passes in a solid display.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Most Premier League goals scored by Midfielders since Bruno Fernandes joined Man Utd:
37 — Bruno
28 — De Bruyne
23 — Gündogan
22 — Maddison
20 — Ward-Prowse
19 — Mount
In a league of his own. 🇵🇹👑 pic.twitter.com/LJCbEBLqPb
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 27, 2022
Bruno Fernandes looked purposeful in the final third but often chose the wrong pass in the early exchanges. The Manchester United skipper was unlucky not to score in the first half, with Kyle Walker-Peters blocking his effort superbly. But Bruno Fernandes made the difference with a peach of a strike with his first-time shot to earn Manchester United the three points.
Jadon Sancho: 6.5/10
Sancho started on the left flank and looked better in open play than he has at any point thus far this season. The English international did not create a chance but pushed Southampton back smartly and showed some neat footwork.
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
Rashford was looking to score in successive Premier League games for the first time in eternity but endured a tough game. The English international fed off scraps for much of his outing, but he linked up well with Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga, although his decision-making was poor at times.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10
Ronaldo appeared off the bench for a second successive game and looked intent on making his mark. But apart from one minor opening, he barely got into the game as Southampton heaped the pressure on Manchester United in the final half hour.
Casemiro came on for Elanga to make his Manchester United debut and did the required work to earn Manchester United a hard-fought win.
Fred replaced Eriksen with a few minutes left and helped see the game out.