Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United take on fellow-Dutchman’s Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday hoping to avoid back-to-back home defeats against the Saints. While, United are unbeaten in 5 games in all competitions, Southampton are also coming into this game on the back of consecutive wins. United will surely be rejuvenated by their 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Liverpool which lifted them up to 5th and Southampton would look to move up from 10th place in the table. In their clash earlier this season, Manchester United edged out Southampton 3-2 but lost 1-0 when the Saints last visited Old Trafford in January 2015.
Here is the preview of the clash along with the Team News, Expected Line-ups and Betting Odds. The match will be played on the 23rd of January, Saturday at Old Trafford with the kick-off scheduled at 3:00 p.m BST (8:30 IST)
Manchester United: The home side will definitely be without the services of Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and Bastian Schweinsteiger while there are doubts over the fitness of Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones. Ashley Young could be yet another absentee after he picked up an injury against Liverpool. However, United will be welcoming Adnan Januzaj back to the team after the midfielder scored a brace against Southampton’s under-21s
Southampton: Southampton have better luck with injuries compared to United. Jay Rodriguez, Gaston Ramirez and Florin Gardos are unavailable for the Saints while striker Graziano Pelle is a doubt. But new signing Charlie Austin will be in the matchday squad and in all likelihood make his Saints’ debut tomorrow.
Manchester United: David De Gea; Guillermo Varela, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian; Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial; Wayne Rooney
Southampton: Fraser Forster; Cedric Soares,Virgil Van Dijk, Jose Fonte, Ryan Bertrand; James Ward-Prowse, Victor Wanyama, Steven Davis, Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic; Shane Long
Sadio Mane vs Chris Smalling: Manchester United target Sadio Mane is predominantly a winger but he can play in any position behind the striker and in such a situation the onus will on the team’s senior defender to keep him in check.
Wayne Rooney vs Jose Fonte: The 2 captains will be locking horns and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Wayne Rooney has scored 5 in his last 4 and will be looking to add some more tomorrow and Jose Fonte has his hands full.
Key Stats: In the last seven meetings between the two sides, there have been five braces scored, including one from Graziano Pellè for Saints earlier this season. Manchester United have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last eight top-flight matches against Southampton – a run that stretches back to a 3-0 success at Old Trafford in December 2004. Eight of Charlie Austin’s 18 Premier League goals have come away from home. Manchester United have won just two of their last six league outings at Old Trafford (W2 D3 L1). Southampton’s last two wins against Manchester United have both been narrow 1-0 victories (2004 and 2015).
Referee: Mike Jones.
Prediction: After last week’s win over Liverpool, Louis Van Gaal claimed that Manchester United can win the title and if they are to win it they need to get all 3 points against an under-performing Southampton. United look likely to walk away with all 3 points especially with captain Wayne Rooney in great form and Southampton’s woeful form away from home.
Our Prediction: 2-1 Manchester United