Southampton host Manchester United in a late kick-off on Monday in what would possibly be the battle for the last automatic qualification spot for the Champions League. United have been blighted by numerous injuries, but to their credit have churned out results and that’s a testimony to the character and ability of their manager Van Gaal. For Southampton, this fixture marks the 3rd in a long list of tough fixtures they have over a short period of time, having lost to City and Arsenal in the previous two. After a blistering start to the season, Saints have picked up a mere 7 points from possible 15 while their guests have picked up 12 with 4 consecutive wins in the last 5 games.
Southampton have been subjected to crucial injuries over the last few weeks. They will definitely be without the services of Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork who were injured over the last few match days. The other long term absentees at the club are Ward-Prowse, Gallagher and Jay Rodriguez. However, there is some sliver of hope for the Saints’ fans with regards to injuries as Dusan Tadic, their architect-in-chief has been declared fit to play, while Toby Alderwereld might feature in the game too.
Injuries have become synonymous with the mighty Manchester club this season. The club remains without the services of influential players like Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Rafael and Phil Jones. On the other hand, captain Wayne Rooney has been declared fit for the game, while central defender Johnny Evans is expected to travel with the squad.
- While Manchester United have used a total of 26 players in their line up (Highest in the league), Southampton have used only 15 players (Lowest in the League).
- Fraser Forster has kept 7 clean sheets so far this season, the highest in the league.
Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Davis, Long, Mane, Tadic, Pelle
De Gea, Evans, Smalling, Rojo, Valencia, Young, Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, Rooney, Falcao
The Serbian has been crucial to Southampton’s fortunes ever since making his move from FC Twente. His quick adaption to the hyper competitive Premier League made him an instant hero. He has been the lynchpin of his side’s attacking prowess, having created a total of 40 chances which include 6 assists. His understanding with the burly Pelle as well as his skill with the ball at his feet will keep the united defence busy through the evening. While the Manchester United defensive unit isn’t considered the best in the league, Tadic will be constantly monitored by the likes of Evans and Fellaini, who has picked considerable form over the last few weeks. By no measure a stroll in a park, Tadic will be looking to open up the heart of United’s defense at the smallest opportunity.
Manchester United have stuck to the task of grinding out wins regardless of their performance and their captain has played a huge role in trying to cross over the tide. Declared fit by his manager, Rooney will be raring to have a go at the Saints’ defence, running hard at them and opening up spaces for his team mates. He has scored 5 goals and created 15 chances so far this season and would be crucial to United’s attack against Southampton. There is always some amount of tenaciousness to Rooney’s game that rattles the opposition making him a constant threat and that would be crucial to open up the tightest defense in the league.
Head to Head
|2013/2014||Sun 11 May||Southampton||1 – 1||Man. Utd.||Premier League|
|Sat 19 Oct||Man. Utd.||1 – 1||Southampton||Premier League|
|2012/2013||Wed 30 Jan||Man. Utd.||2 – 1||Southampton||Premier League|
|Sun 02 Sep||Southampton||2 – 3||Man. Utd.||Premier League|
|2010/2011||Sat 29 Jan||Southampton||1 – 2||Man. Utd.||F.A. Cup|
We expect this to be a gritty fixture, with both the teams trying to ascertain their position in the top 4. We predict a 1-1 draw between at St. Mary’s Stadium.