Manchester United vs Southampton: Preview, TV Channel Info, Team News, Prediction, Betting Odds
The most important match on Saturday sees the battle of the Dutch managers, as Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United prepare to welcome Ronald Koeman’s Southampton to Old Trafford. While Manchester United are on the revival path following a disastrous December, Southampton’s inconsistency has affected their chances of challenging for the European places, something they were successful in achieving last season.
With 3 wins and a draw in their opening four games of 2016, can Manchester United keep their unbeaten run going? Or will the Saints continue to be United’s bogey team at Old Trafford?
Kick-Off and Live Telecast
Channel: Star Sports 4, Star Sports 4 HD
Live Stream: www.starsports.com
Kick-Off: Saturday, 23rd January 2016 – 2030 IST (1500 BST)
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Manchester United have confirmed that Ashley Young will miss a majority of the remainder of the season after suffering a severe groin injury in last weekend’s win at Anfield, something which will require surgery. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones find Saturday’s game coming too soon for their liking as they continue to recover from their respective injuries. Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo are long-term absentees from the squad.
Southampton are set to hand new signing Charlie Austin an Old Trafford debut, with fellow striker Graziano Pelle highly doubtful with a knee injury. Defender Florian Gardos and midfielder Jay Rodriguez are long-term absentees from Ronald Koeman’s squad.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) – De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Lingard, Herrera, Martial, Rooney
Southampton (3-4-2-1) – Forster, Van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand, Soares, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Targett, Mane, Tadic, Long
A winless December has been followed by an unbeaten January, as the Red Devils seek to get their title challenge back on track. Striker Wayne Rooney’s return to goalcoring touch could have not come at a better time for manager Louis van Gaal, whose position at the United hot-seat has been under scrutiny ever since their exit from the Champions League.
With reports coming in that United have approached outgoing Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola to take over at Old Trafford, it is absolutely imperative that Van Gaal engineers a strong finish to the campaign. A pleasing attacking performance at Newcastle followed by a smash-and-grab victory against bitter-rivals Liverpool could well be the catalyst for a successful second half of this Premier League season.
Manchester United fans may be unsure of who their manager will be next season, but one thing is a certainty – a sideways game at Old Trafford will not be welcomed with an air of merriment. More frequent chance creation, purposeful movement of the ball, and most critically – an urgency to win – is what the Old Trafford faithful have been used to experiencing down the years and they will expect nothing lesser than the same when their heroes stride out onto the pitch on Saturday.
Last 5 games: D-W-W-D-W (Last result – Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United)
It would be unfair to say Southampton have been on the decline following their impressive first season under Dutch manager Ronald Koeman. They may be 10th at the moment, but are only 4 points off the European places, and their recent 4-0 demolition of title-contenders Arsenal showed that they are quite capable of competing against the Premier League’s elite.
Their inconsistent run of results has tempted Ronald Koeman to shift from the standard 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-2-1, giving them a compact 3-man defence and more attacking flair going forward in the form of Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic and Shane Long.
The tweak in tactics was evidently working in last weekend’s 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, and with new signing Charlie Austin also available for selection, Koeman hopes that his new assembly will undo a Manchester United defence which has suffered another injury setback in the form of makeshift full-back Ashley Young.
Last 5 games: L-L-L-W-W (Last result – Southampton 3-0 West Bromwich Albion)
1. Southampton are unbeaten on their last 2 visits to Old Trafford. (W1, D1)
2. However, they have won just 2 out of their last 15 Premier League ties against the 20-time league champions – the latest being a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford last season.
3. The Saints have lost 23 Premier League matches against Manchester United, more than against any other opponent.
4. Each of the previous 5 league meetings between Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman have ended in away wins for either manager.
5. Wayne Rooney has scored in each of his last 4 appearances – netting 5 times in total.
6. Ronald Koeman’s side have lost their last 4 away matches in the league.
7. Southampton have scored the most number of headed goals in the Premier League this season (9).
Sadio Mane vs Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
With Ashley Young ruled out, young left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is set to get an extended run in the Manchester United first team. He faces a stern test against Senegalese winger Sadio Mane, whose pace could cause the 18-year old a series of problems on the flank. Whether he will be able to weather the threat of the quick feet of the 23-year old brings to the pitch is a question that will be answered on Saturday evening.
Though Manchester United promise to dominate possession while also offer a fair bit going forward, Southampton’s pace in their attack coupled with Manchester United’s thin defence makes one believe that the Saints will get something out of the game. A draw appears the most likely result at Old Trafford on Saturday, with each side scoring a goal each to share the points.
Predicted score: Manchester United 1-1 Southampton
Betting Odds (bet365)
Manchester United – 5/6
Draw – 5/2
Southampton – 10/3