The best news for Louis Van Gaal is that other than Ashley Young all his players are back on the training pitch and will now give him a selection headache which all top managers enjoy. While Young gladly misses his teammates in the medical room, Southampton will visit Old Trafford in the last match of the 21st round of the Premier League.
Manchester United is on an 11 game unbeaten run in all competition since losing to Manchester City, they have navigated through the festive season without losing any game and that has helped United in holding onto the third position in the table. While they have got to this position they have drawn 6 out of their last 10 matches which will certainly give some food for thought to Van Gaal, however while everyone else is also dropping points they are still third from the top in the form table over the last six matches.
Southampton on the other hand has been the surprise package of this season of Premier League. With their key players and manager leaving at the end of last season, no one expected Ronald Koeman’s team would be fighting for a Champions League spot. Southampton has played with fair and has deserved the fourth spot and is trailing their Sunday night opponents with just a solitary point. After an electric start to the season the Saints lost a bit of momentum, but is the recent win over Arsenal is anything to by, the team is a serious contender for the Champions League / Europa League spot.
Luke Shaw and Rafael were withdrawn against Yeovil at half time interval but both are back and are training with the team. Luke Shaw is certain to start at his left wing back position while Rafael may not start the match. With Maroune Fellaini back in the squad it will be interesting to see Van Gaal’s line up. Di Maria and Van Persie are likely starters as Manchester United will like to put their best team out against a highflying Southampton side. Southampton on the other hand has a bucket full of absentees with Sadio Mane, Jake Hesketh, Jack Cork and Jay Rodriguez out for the match and Nathaniel Clyne and Sam Gallagher also doubtful for the match.
What to expect at the Theatre of Dreams
As it will be the last game for this round of matches both teams will exactly know where they stand before the first kick of the ball. A victory for Southampton, something they have not achieved at United since January 1988, against the odds will dislodge Manchester United from the third spot. Not too long ago the two sides met at the start of December in a match where Southampton dominated the game and out of nowhere Manchester United scored from both the chances they had to get away with all three points. On current form Manchester United look the stronger of the two teams, and if the brilliant run the team has had at M16 is anything to go by then Southampton would have their task cut out.
Image Source: Mirror and Manchester United Official Website