The race for a place in the UEFA Champions League has been hotting up in recent weeks, and last night, Manchester United had the opportunity to strike while the iron was hot by taking advantage of defeats for both Leicester City and Chelsea at the weekend. Unfortunately for them, they failed to do so as they were held to a point by a determined Southampton side at Old Trafford.
The game started at a frantic pace with both sides getting their shots in, but in reality, the visitors were the ones who appeared to really be pushing the tempo. Then, with less than 15 minutes on the clock, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men made their pressure count as they took the lead through a nice Stuart Armstrong finish after some good build-up play.
Finding the answers
Of course, as we all know, United haven’t exactly been on a bad run of form in the last few weeks – and they were able to flex their muscles once again here by proving why they’re considered to be so dangerous coming forward. In a matter of minutes, Anthony Martial was able to set up Marcus Rashford for the equaliser before the Frenchman scored himself with a delightful goal to hand the hosts the advantage.
From that point on they were left to face a pretty tense game against the South Coast side, to the point where it was clear to see there was a twist in the tale coming if they didn’t straighten up at the back. Then, in the dying seconds of the game, Michael Obafemi flicked the ball in from a set piece to stun Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his side.
A damaging result
After the game, the Norwegian boss had the following to say to the media.
“The mentality has been brilliant. We have had a few setbacks this season. This is another challenge for us,” said Solskjaer.
“I am very confident in [the players’] mentality. I’m disappointed of course, but you have to take the disappointments as well as the positives. We have learned a hard lesson. We will put it right. I trust the boys in that respect.”
Manchester United’s attention will turn towards a very winnable game away at Crystal Palace, whereas Southampton’s push for a top half finish will see them host Brighton & Hove Albion next.
Manchester United: de Gea (6.5), Shaw (6.5), Maguire (6.5), Lindelof (6.5), Wan-Bissaka (6.5), Matic (7), Pogba (5.5), Rashford (7.5), Fernandes (7), Greenwood (6.5), Martial (8.5), James (6), McTominay (6), Williams (6.5), Fred (6)
Southampton: McCarthy (6.5), Walker-Peters (5.5), Stephens (6), Bednarek (7), Bertrand (6), Armstrong (7), Ward-Prowse (6.5), Romeu (6.5), Redmond (8), Ings (6.5), Adams (7), Smallbone (6), Obafemi (7.5), Long (6.5)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Goals: Rashford, Martial :: Armstrong, Obafemi
Yellow Cards: Wan-Bissaka, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Ward-Prowse
Red Cards: N/A
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