Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Southampton
Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, January 23 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Manchester United 4/5 – Draw 12/5 – Southampton 19/5
Louis Van Gaal’s side sealed an important win at rivals Liverpool last weekend, with Wayne Rooney’s fourth Premier League goal in three games proving the difference in that 1-0 victory.
That result means United are unbeaten in four league games now, although doubts still hang over their top four chances with many pundits still unsure of the team’s quality.
A win against Southampton on Saturday would see United win back-to-back league games for the first time since November and would be a huge boost, given they are just two points off of fourth place going into the weekend.
Southampton will arrive at Old Trafford in good spirits as they are enjoying a good spell, having won three of their last five league games, including victories in their last two against Watford and West Brom.
Ronald Koeman’s side have looked better defensively since welcoming Fraser Forster back from his long spell on the sidelines, while new signing Charlie Austin will look to add more goals to a Saints side that has only scored one goal in their last three away matches in the top flight, and even that was an own-goal.
The reverse fixture at St Mary’s saw United win an entertaining game 3-2, with Anthony Martial and Graziano Pelle both bagging braces that day.
The Saints beat United 1-0 at Old Trafford last season and will hope to repeat that feat here as they look to win a first away league game in five attempts.
Louis Van Gaal will be sweating over the fitness of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Young and Phil Jones ahead of the visit of Southampton as all three are doubts. Schweinsteiger has missed the last two league games but could return to the side here. Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick remain sidelined through injury.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman will still be without Jay Rodriguez and Florin Gardos through injuries, while Maarten Stekelenburg remains a doubt. That won’t matter too much though as Fraser Forster has marked his return to the side with back-to-back clean sheets and has made the Saints a more solid outfit again. Matt Targett will hope to continue to play on the left side of midfield after thriving there in recent games.
Manchester United’s last five: L/D/W/D/W
Southampton’s last five: W/L/L/W/W
Key Stat: Manchester United have not scored a first-half goal at home in the Premier League since September.
Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The United captain has rediscovered his form after what had been a tough run. He has scored five in his last four games in all competitions and will hope to fire the Red Devils to three points here.
Manchester United 0-0 Southampton – This looks set to be a very tight and low-scoring affair between two teams who have struggled with inconsistency all season. United might have won at Anfield last week but finding goals at home remains a problem, and with Fraser Forster back between the Southampton sticks, a 0-0 draw looks likely.