If you had said in August that this fixture will play a crucial part in who qualifies for Champions League football come the end of the season, many Saints fans would have laughed at you. But that is very much the situation that presents itself in this game.
United haven’t set the world alight with their performances but Louis Van Gaal won’t mind that in the slightest as they are still getting results, which is something they used to do so well under the great Sir Alex Ferguson in years gone by.
They are now unbeaten in their last ten games in the Premier League and have suffered just one league defeat in the last 15.
Manchester United’s home record: Played 10 – Won 8 – Drawn 1 – Lost 1
Talking of Sir Alex Ferguson, Southampton have a great manager themselves in the shape of Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman has been a revelation for the South Coast side and any fears surrounding the club at the start of the season following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino have well and truly been washed away.
Since a minor blip that saw them go on a four-game losing streak, Southampton have picked things up again by going four without a loss, winning three and drawing one.
Southampton’s away record: Played 9 – Won 4 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4
This clash promises to be an entertaining affair and is a tough one to call as so much depends on how both sides approach the game.
Southampton boast the best defence in the Premier League this season, and you’d expect them to be a tough nut to crack for Man United. And for all United’s firepower going forward, they still haven’t managed to outscore the Saints this season – both sides have scored 34 goals.
Manchester United’s last five: W/D/W/D/D
Southampton’s last five: L/W/W/D/W
Key stat: Manchester United are undefeated in their last nine Premier League home games (Won 8, Drawn 1).
Key player: Fraser Forster – the Southampton goalkeeper has been one of this season’s outstanding performers and is likely to be called upon to save his team once again.
Score prediction: Manchester United 2 – 1 Southampton