On September 20th, Manchester United travel to Saint Mary’s to take on Southampton. After bouncing back from a loss to Swansea with a win over rivals Liverpool, Manchester United are sitting in third and will look to continue to climb the table with a win against Southampton. The Saints have had a distinctly average start to the season with a win, three draws, and a loss. They find themselves 11th in the table and will hope to push themselves closer to the Europa League spots with a win here.
Louis Van Gaal will be without two or three of his players, but the one that will make the headlines will be the absence of Luke Shaw after breaking his leg in a horrifying injury during the week. The young English left back now looks like he’ll be out for the rest of the season. He’ll also be without Phil Jones as he continues to recover form the blood clot in his leg. Wayne Rooney is also a doubt with his nagging hamstring injury, but Louis Van Gaal expects him to be fit enough to play.
The Saints have a few long term injuries of their own to deal with. Both Fraser Forester and Florion Gardon will both be out until near the end of the season with serious knee injuries. Both Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand will miss out as they are still a few weeks away with ankle and knee injuries respectively. Gaston Ramirez is a late doubt with a hamstring injury.
Southampton have only won two of their last seventeen matches against United, both of which were 1-0 wins. Southampton have not beaten United when conceding more than goal since October 1996. United have not kept a clean sheet against the Saints in their last seven meetings. After conceding five goals in their first two games, Ronald Koeman’s men have kept three straight clean sheets.
Southampton: Steven Davis
While the Saints will look to stay compact and keep a clean sheet, they’ll need their creative players to make the most of their possession. Steven Davis will be one of the keys in this matchup. The Northern Ireland midfielder has played more key passes than anyone in the league, bar Eden Hazard, Mesut Ozil, and Santi Cazorla. He’s also completed a team high 87% of his passes, showing he is still great at keeping the ball. He’s also made the joint fourth most tackles in the team, showing his quality in both boxes.
Manchester United: Memphis Depay
United made a lot of signings this summer, but arguably their most promising one is the singing of Memphis Depay. The Dutchman has not had the best of starts to his United career. He’s yet to score in his five Premier League appearances and was subbed off at half time in the match against Liverpool. That said, he does have three in three in the Champions League after scoring against his former club PSV in midweek. Memphis has the ability to score from anywhere and that will be vital against a strong Southampton defense.
United have not been very impressive to start the season, but they have been able to get results. Louis Van Gaal’s side has not been fun to watch and have not been creating a lot of chances, but they’ve only lost one of their first five. I feel like they’ll be able to grind out another result in this one.
Prediction: 2-1 United