Date: Saturday 19th October
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick Off: 15.00
The international break is finally over after what must’ve seemed a lot longer than two weeks to many United fans desperate to see their team resemble something remotely like the side Sir Alex Ferguson left behind. David Moyes will be keen to build on the Reds win over Sunderland but a tie against high-flying Southampton, might not be the walk in the park everyone assumes.
Southampton had a minor concern over Luke Shaw, a player who’s actually been tipped with a move to Old Trafford. Left-back Shaw missed the recent win over Swansea through illness but is expected to start against the Champions. Striker Pablo Osvaldo is also expected to have shaken off a recent knock and be fit to face United.
United’s recent win over Sunderland was vital as the Reds had slipped down to 12th in the table prior to the trip to the Stadium of Light, thanks to an awful record of three losses in their previous four league games. Adnan Januzaj‘s – more about him later- brace against Sunderland ended a run that had seen Moyes’s men fail to score from open play since the opening day of the season.
United could have wished for easier opposition if they’re looking improve on their scoring exploits as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side have the tightest defence in the league conceding just two goals in seven games as they’ve stormed into the top four.
With seven goals, Southampton may have scored three less than United, but they’ve had six players get on the scoresheet whereas United have just four men who’ve found the net in the league this season in the shape of Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney & Januzaj- all of whom have netted at least twice.
Players to Watch:
Manchester United- Adnan Januzaj
You may have heard of the young Belgian/Kosovan/Albanian winger who’s international affiliation has made almost as many headlines as his football ability these past two weeks. The academy product saved United from an even more disastrous start to the season than the one they were enduring thanks to a brace against Sunderland in his first ever Premier League start. Not bad for a winger who wasn’t even born by the time Ryan Giggs had won his second title. When Moyes picked Januzaj to start against Sunderland there were a few eyebrows raised, there’ll be even more raised if he isn’t picked against Southampton.
Southampton - Artur Boruc
It may seem odd to choose a goalkeeper as someone to look out for in a game, but let’s face facts this isn’t going to be a quiet day at the office for Southampton’s number one. If Pochettino’s men are to have any chance of victory it’s going to be down to their ability to keep United out rather than just outscore them and Boruc has been a big part of the reason Southampton have only conceded two goals this season.
We may just find out as a United side that boasts the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, fresh from breaking the Dutch national side’s all-time goalscoring record, try to beat the league’s meanest defence. One mistake, or moment of genius may just be enough to see United bag their second home win of the Premier League season.
Manchester United 1-0 Southampton