Manchester United’s performances against Newcastle United and Liverpool have been contrasting in terms of style and results. Against Newcastle, Louis Van Gaal let his players loose but the entertainment delivered came at a price. Dropped points. United returned to their rigid style at Anfield. It was not pretty but was effective and saw them claim all the points.
There seems to be an acceptance that Man United cannot combine beautiful football and a tight defence. Results like that at Newcastle and Wolfsburg will probably mean that the Man United will favour substance over style.
Manchester United have a strong record against the visitors with seven wins from the last 10 Barclays Premier League games between the sides. However, the Saints were victorious in the corresponding fixture last season. Southampton will hope that Graziano Pelle will be fit in time for the game and hopefully continue his rich goal scoring form against the Red Devils. The Italian striker has netted three goals in three Premier League appearances against the Red Devils.
Ronald Koeman may have won his last two games in the league but his team’s inconsistency means no one knows which side will turn up. This is a Southampton side capable of thrashing Arsenal 4-0 and then going on to lose their next two games against West ham and Norwich City. If they turn up at Old Trafford, they should be able to cause problems for a United side that has won just two of their last six Premier League games at home.
Ashley Young will require surgery on a groin injury and could miss the rest of the season which has now led to a full-back crisis at the club. Bastian Schweinsteiger remains sidelined with a knee injury while Phil Jones (ankle), Antonio Valencia (foot), Luke Shaw (leg), Marcos Rojo (shoulder) and Michael Carrick (knee) are also ruled out.
Charlie Austin is available for the trip to Old Trafford after a £4million move from QPR last weekend. Graziano Pelle is a doubt with an ongoing knee problem while Jay Rodriguez (foot) and Florian Gardos (knee) will miss out through injury.