Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Prediction: Southampton vs Manchester United

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Southampton host Manchester United at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils approach the match joint-top of the table with Manchester City on 13 points from five games.

Southampton

A 1-0 away win at bottom club Crystal Palace last week was enough for Southampton to enter the top half of the Premier League in ninth place. In truth, it was a comfortable victory with the Eagles providing nothing in an attacking sense and it further established the Saints solid start to the season, with only one defeat. Manager Mauricio Pellegrino has managed to construct a strong partnership between centre-backs Wesley Hoedt and Maya Yoshida, resulting in only four goals being conceded, but it is in the scoring department that his team have struggled for consistency.  The Saints have netted in just two of their five games this season and Pellegrino will know his team would be a much bigger threat if they could become more prolific in front of goal. One advantage they do have over Manchester United is their absence from the Carabao Cup this week, meaning they have had a longer break over their rivals and more chance to prepare for the clash on Saturday. Southampton will no-doubt attempt to keep it tight at the back and hope they can come away with at least a draw.

Team News

Virgil van Dijk could make his first start of the season after coming on as a substitute against Crystal Palace last week. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could also return after missing the match due to the birth of his daughter.

Meanwhile, Charlie Austin is a doubt after picking up a knock.

Manchester United

It’s been an exciting start to the season for Manchester United fans with their team joint-top of the league with rivals Manchester City. Even though they made changes to the side that beat Burton Albion 4-1 on Wednesday, they have now scored 11 goals in their last three games in all competitions, and only conceded one in that period. The Red Devils seem to be making a habit of wearing teams out with a steady build-up play before blitzing them away during the final third of the match. This is largely also to do with the fact manager Jose Mourinho has such an array of talent on the bench to bring on against tiring defenders, and whether that is Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford or Jesse Lingard, their opposition must be fearful when they see either of them warming up on the touchline. Not only have Manchester United managed to improve on their goal scoring from last season, they have also seemingly shored up their defensive unit, with four clean sheets picked up in six games. Southampton will arrive to Old Trafford with the proven ability of shutting up shop, so it may be a much tighter game than expected.

Team News

Paul Pogba is out after picking up a hamstring strain in their Champions League clash against FC Basel.

Luke Shaw will also reportedly miss the game after being unable to prove his fitness following injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine league and cup visits against the Saints
  • Four of the last five meetings have contained under 2.5 goals and a clean sheet
  • Southampton have failed to score in nine of their last 11 home matches
  • The Red Devils have scored more Premier League goals in the 80th minute or later than 17 of the other 19 clubs have managed overall
  • Romelu Lukaku needs one goal to equal Louis Saha’s record for most goals scored after six league appearance for United

Conclusion

With both teams managing seven clean sheets between them so far this season, it could prove to be a tight match at St Mary’s. Manchester United could have the edge due to their firepower up front but we can’t see both teams scoring.

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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