Manchester United vs Southampton: Preview and Prediction
The anticipated action of Premier League 2022-23 resumes as the top English clubs have returned to the big screens after battling out in European competitions. Manchester United will be gracing the battlefield of the English top-flight football league for the first time since their unforgettable misery at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool. The Red Devils will be summoned by the struggling Southampton side at the theatre of dreams, Old Trafford this Super Sunday.
The Dutch general Erik ten Hag and his boys are storming every competition they’re participating in and are also presenting a strong contention to finish among the Top 3. The recent defeat against Liverpool has still not affected their position in the points table as they are currently standing in third place with 49 match-point from 25 games. Especially after Tottenham’s losing outcome, the Red Devils have a golden opportunity to go seven points clear of them again and reduce the deficit with the local rivals Manchester City as well.
On the other hand, the Hampshire-based outfit is fighting for its existence in the English top division and is on verge of bidding adieu to the Premier League roster after eleven successive seasons. The 2022-23 campaign of the Saints was devastated right from the start as they managed to barge into the Top 10 only on a single occasion till now. They have occupied the second-lowest position in the EPL standings and may suffer furthermore if they fail to attain points in this forthcoming encounter.
Despite suffering an embarrassing 0-7 outing against the Reds in their most recent EPL appearance, the United has somehow managed to regain their form on the European night. The Greater Manchester-based club faced Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League and went on to register a convincing triumph over the Spanish opposition. Bruno Fernandes who contributed one goal and one assist was the star of the 4-1 victory as the Red Devils will be turning up for the away leg of Round 16 with a hefty 3-goal lead.
Meanwhile, the recent form of the Saints has given a ray of hope to the fans of surviving the battle of relegation. Southampton has edged past the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City in the span of a month and is eying to trap yet another English giant on the hunt. A 35th-minute strike from young Argentine playmaker Carlos Alcaraz snatched three crucial points from the paws of the 2015-16 champions.
The rivalry between these two English combatants has been thoroughly dominated by the United side which has won 18 of their previous 30 encounters with the Red and Whites. Meanwhile, the Saints have managed to emerge victorious only on three occasions against the most decorated English outfit across all competitions.
The Red Devils are thriving on an undefeated run against Southampton as their last victory over the EPL elites came back in 2016 when the likes of Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk used to be part of their roster. Over the course of their invincible run, United also registered a historic triumph under the tenure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in February 2021 when they scored past the Saints’ goalie nine times while keeping the clean sheet at Old Trafford.
Earlier this season, Southampton was summoned by Man Utd at Saint Mary’s Stadium where the home team ended up giving away all three points. It was the 55th-minute goal from the Portuguese magician Bruno Fernandes with the assistance of Diogo Dalot which broke the deadlock and eventually turned out to be the winning strike.
Erik ten Hag has recently hinted at the return of Anthony Martial who has also seen training with the first team before their UEL clash with Betis. The French striker may make it to the Red Devils’ matchday squad however, the No. 9 position in the starting XI is still likely to be donned by Wout Weghorst.
The former Real Madrid duo of Casemiro and Raphael Varane were seen holding the United defense in full swing despite the rumors of their fitness fiasco roaming around. Meanwhile, the likes of Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek will continue to work on the recovery route of their injury crisis.
The Scottish forward Che Adams announced his thumping return to action after assisting the solitary goal of the game in the Leicester City triumph. The Spanish teenage sensation Juan Larios remains the only major miss for the Saints as the gaffer Ruben Selles is expected to name an unchanged lineup.
Predicted Starting XIs
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Marcel Sabitzer; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Wout Weghorst
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Gavin Bazunu; Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Ainsley Maitland-Niles; Romeo Lavia, James Ward-Prowse; Kamaldeen Sulemana, Carlos Alcaraz, Theo Walcott; Che Adams
It is going to be an exciting battle between two ambitious Premier League sides who are having a must-win situation at the moment. The Red Devils have not dropped a single point from their last five home fixtures across all competitions and certainly stand with brighter chances to win this forthcoming contest.
However, the Dutchman and his boys should not commit the mistake of underestimating the Saints who are on a hunting run to keep themselves alive in the competition.