By Dave Marshall
Manchester United travel to the St. Mary’s stadium on Saturday and will be hoping to continue from where they left off in midweek after a comfortable 4-1 win over Championship side Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup. The Red Devils are currently joint top alongside rivals Manchester City with both teams tied on wins, draws, goals scored and goals conceded.
United’s visit to the St. Mary ended in a draw last season but the Saints are facing a re-invigorated Manchester United and would likely settle for a draw but we have seen United break down compact sides this season.
Last weekend, Southampton won 1-0 away to struggling Crystal Palace who are yet to score a goal in the League this season while United thrashed Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford. However, wantaway defender Virgil Van Dijk might get his first start of the season after coming on as a substitute last weekend against Crystal Palace. We take a look at United’s predicted line-up against goal-shy Maurico Pellegrino’s side.
Spanish international David de Gea has been impressive so far conceding just two goals in as many games he has played for United this season, and would likely retain his spot in goal against the Saints barring any injury.
United’s defence has been impeccable so far this season and would be hoping to maintain their solidity at the back against the Saints. Antonio will likely retain his spot at right-back after scoring a screamer against the Toffees last weekend while in the heart of defence, Jose Mourinho will likely stick to the Phil Jones and Eric Bailly partnership which has been impressive so far this season. At left back, Ashley Young is expected to retain his spot after putting in a good performance against the Toffees last weekend.
With Paul Pogba still out with a hamstring injury, Marouane Fellaini will likely partner Nemanja Matic in a midfield pivot. The 29-year-old Serbian has added steel to United’s midfield since he joined from Chelsea and would be hoping to continue his fine form after assisting Antonio Valencia in United’s opener against Everton last week Sunday.
In attacking midfield, Marcus Rashford is expected to keep his place on the left after scoring a brace in midweek against the Brewers in the Carabao Cup, while in the hole behind the striker, Armenian playmaker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be hoping to continue from where he left off last weekend having scored United’s second goal against Ronald Koeman’s Everton. Although, Juan Mata played 45 minutes for United in their 4-1 win against Burton Albion in midweek he is expected to keep his place on the right side of the midfield.
Romelu Lukaku is expected to the lead the line against Mauricio Pellegrino led side. The Belgian forward has scored five goals in as many Premier League games he has played and would be hoping to continue his impressive form against the Saints.
Probable lineup: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Bailly, Young, Matic, Fellaini, Rashford, Mkhitaryan, Mata, Lukaku.