Podcast: Portland, Columbus & Southampton discussed

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast Zack Walford talks to Jamie Ives and Louis East about Week 3’s MLS action, with focus on the Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew’s disappointing starts.

The team then look at Southampton FC and ask whether they have enough to secure European football next term.

As always, comment below or get in touch on Twitter with your thoughts.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Southampton 

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Tuesday, February 2 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 EST)

Match Odds: Arsenal 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – Southampton 18/5

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome Southampton to The Emirates in a key midweek Premier League clash on Tuesday night, with the home side looking for a first league win in four here.

Arsenal come into the game without a win in three after back-to-back draws with Liverpool and Stoke were followed by a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea last weekend. Their title bid is now being questioned and the team need to respond.

They do remain just three points off leaders Leicester and it’s quite remarkable how they are still in the hunt after the amount of injuries suffered to key players over the course of the campaign.

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This is probably Arsene Wenger’s best chance at winning the title in over a decade and so they need to win games like this if they are to be crowned champions come May.

Arsenal’s Premier League record: P23 – W13 – D4 – L5

Southampton will arrive in north London in high spirits after a fine January run. The Saints have kept a clean sheet in their last three matches as the return of Fraser Forster has helped them defensively.

Winning those three matches in the league has helped to fight off questions of ‘second-season syndrome’ for manager Ronald Koeman and he will be relieved to see his side playing confidently once more.

New striker Charlie Austin is an excellent addition to the squad and should add more goals to their season. He got off the mark with a late winner at Old Trafford last time out and would love to follow that up with a goal at The Emirates on Tuesday.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P23 – W9 – D6 – L8

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Southampton thumped Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day and will now be dreaming of completing a league double over the Gunners.

That won’t be an easy task though as Arsenal are unbeaten at home to Southampton in 20 league matches. The Saints last won a league game at Arsenal in 1987.

Team News

Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere are still missing with ongoing injuries. Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky will also miss the clash as they are weeks away from returns.

Southampton are still without Florin Gardos through injury. Graziano Pelle, Jay Rodriguez and Steven Davis are all doubts.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/D/D/L

Southampton’s last five: L/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Southampton have only won once on their last eleven visits to Arsenal in all competitions.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean superstar is back from injury and the Gunners will need him in the upcoming race for the title. He should provide a tough test for goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 1-1 Southampton – Southampton have reignited their spark after three wins on the bounce, much to the credit of returning goalkeeper Fraser Forster. However, Arsenal are a team with title ambitions and will probably end the winning run. Though a hard-fought draw between the pair could be on the cards.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Southampton

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

Match Preview

Manchester United take on Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, with the home side looking to increase their top four chances with a second straight win.

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.

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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.

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction

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.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Arsenal

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, December 26 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 12/5 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 11/10

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Arsenal to St Mary’s Stadium for the final game of the evening in what promises to be a pulsating Boxing Day bonanza in the Premier League.

The Saints are struggling at the moment and a 2-0 defeat at home to Tottenham last weekend extended their run of games without a win to five (D1, L4).

It’s the first time Ronald Koeman has really found himself in this situation since he took over at St Mary’s and he’ll be desperate to turn things round quickly – something they are more than capable of.

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Southampton are unlikely to find themselves in a relegation scrap and will expect to bounce back, although it may not happen here against Arsenal – the Saints have failed to win against any side in the top 13 as it stands (D4, L6).

Arsenal’s crucial 2-1 win against Manchester City on Monday night saw them become favourites for the Premier League title with the bookmakers, despite still trailing first-placed Leicester by two points.

Winning games like this one at Southampton will be imperative for the Gunners if they have any serious hopes of lifting the trophy that has eluded them for over ten years.

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Arsene Wenger’s side have won three on the bounce after a slight wobble in November, which saw them pick up just two points from a possible nine.

The Gunners struggled away at West Brom and Norwich – both of which were fixtures they would have expected to win – so they must avoid a repeat of those disappointments and seek a vital three points here.

The last meeting between these two sides saw Southampton ease past Arsenal on New Year’s Day at St Mary’s with a 2-0 victory after a calamitous performance from then Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Team News

Southampton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg could return to the starting lineup in place of Paulo Gazzaniga after recovering from a toe injury. 

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Arsenal’s squad remains thin on the ground as they are still without the injured Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: L/L/D/L/L

Arsenal’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have failed to win on their last four league visits to Southampton (D3, L1).

Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The Frenchman is continuously questioned and people continue to ask whether he is good enough. But he keeps on scoring goals and producing the performances. He will hope to be on the scoresheet again on Boxing Day.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-2 Arsenal – The Gunners have traditionally struggled at Southampton in recent history, but the Saints are at one of their lowest points for quite some time and come up against a confident and in-form Arsenal side.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, December 19 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Southampton 8/5 – Draw 9/4 – Spurs 7/4 

Match Preview

Southampton host Tottenham on Saturday afternoon in a game between two sides struggling for form as we enter the hectic Christmas period.

The Saints sit in 12th place after failing to win in their last four outings and Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see his side rediscover their best form quickly.

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Southampton were disappointing in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and the home fans will be expecting a much better display against Spurs here.

Tottenham are also looking to bounce back after last week’s shock home loss to Newcastle ended their 14-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino has been praised for the way he has solidified the Spurs team this term and he now needs to get a response from his players at his former club.

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Another Spurs man returning to familiar surroundings at St Mary’s is Toby Alderweireld, who controversially joined Tottenham in the summer after a successful loan spell at Southampton last season.

The most recent meeting between the two sides saw them play out an entertaining 2-2 draw at St Mary’s in April, with Spurs twice coming from behind to earn a point.

The Lilywhites have not lost to the Saints since 2005 and are now unbeaten in their last six meetings.

Team News

Southampton will still be without Maarten Stekelenburg, Fraser Forster, Florin Gardos and Jay Rodriguez. Paulo Gazzaniga will once again start in goal for Ronald Koeman’s side.

Spurs will not be able to call on the services of Alex Pritchard or Ryan Mason as both are ruled out with injuries again. Clinton N’Jie is a doubt as he is struggling with a knee injury, though Moussa Dembele should return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s loss through illness.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/L/L/D/L

Tottenham’s last five: D/W/D/D/L

Key Stat: Tottenham are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games against Southampton (W5 D1), scoring 12 goals against the Saints in those matches.

Key Player: Moussa Dembele – Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven matches when Dembele has played. He missed the loss against Newcastle last weekend but will hope to pick back up where he left off by returning to the lineup here.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-2 Tottenham – This is a huge game for both clubs as they look to keep European hopes alive as we head into Christmas. The Saints have struggled over the last month and may come up short against a Spurs side that have an excellent recent record against them.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Southampton

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, November 28 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Man City 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Southampton 9/2

Match Preview

Manchester City host Southampton in an important Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon with the Citizens looking to win for the first time in four in all competitions here.

The Citizens have struggled after a very strong start to the campaign and come into the weekend sitting in third place, two points behind Leicester City at the top.

They need to win this one and will hope to bounce back from last Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Liverpool.

Manchester City’s Premier League record: P13 – W8 – D2 – L3

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Manuel Pellegrini’s men traveled to Italy in the Champions League on Wednesday and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Juventus so there may be some fitness concerns ahead of the visit of the Saints.

Southampton have stumbled themselves of late with just two wins in their last five. They lost 1-0 at home to Stoke last weekend and now have a difficult task in bouncing back.

Ronald Koeman will be generally pleased with what he has seen so far this term. The Saints sit eight in the table after 13 games and are just six points off City in third.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P13 – W5 – D5 – L3

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Southampton have yet to lose an away game in the Premier League this season but the absence of the suspended Graziano Pelle will affect their chances.

They have not won away at Manchester City since 2004 and will be looking to end a run of three straight defeats against their opponents in this one.

Team News

Manchester City’s injury list will still be worrying Manuel Pellegrini. Joe Hart is the latest name to pick up a knock and he’ll miss out here along with Samir Nasri, Pablo Zabaleta, Eliaquim Mangala and captain Vincent Kompany.

Southampton will travel to Manchester without star striker Graziano Pelle as he is suspended. Fraser Forster, Jay Rodriguez and Florin Gardos all remain sidelined through injury.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: W/D/W/D/L

Southampton’s last five: D/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: Manchester City have won their last five home games against Southampton in all competitions.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The Argentine striker is back in the squad and will hope to fire City to victory in what is an important game for the club this Saturday. He has six goals in his last two Premier League appearances and will hope to keep that run going.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-1 Southampton – This is a close one to call. Neither side looks as sharp as they would hope to be at this stage of the season and so there could be goals here. The loss of Pelle will hurt Southampton and City should just have enough to edge past them.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Bournemouth

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, November 1 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET )

Match Odds: Southampton 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Bournemouth 5/1

Match Preview

Southampton host Bournemouth on Sunday in the first South Coast derby of the season in what should be a great game in the Premier League.

The Saints are unbeaten in four so go into the game as overwhelming favourites as they look to continue their fine form.

Ronald Koeman’s men have been able to fully focus on the Premier League in the absence of European football and with only one loss in their last seven in the Premier League, it seems they are capitalising on that.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D5 – L2

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A 1-1 draw at Liverpool last week was followed by a 2-1 League Cup win over Aston Villa on Wednesday and they look to be in good shape.

Bournemouth approach the derby in a rut having lost 5-1 in each of their last two league games to Manchester City and Tottenham. They then fell 1-0 to Liverpool in midweek League Cup action.

They have lost their last three against the Saints and have never won at St Mary’s.

Bournemouth’s Premier League record: P10 – W2 – D2 – L6

With one win in their last seven Premier League games, it’s tough to see the Cherries picking up any points here. Injuries to Max Gradel and Callum Wilson have hurt the club’s chances of survival but they mustn’t let their heads drop.

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Team News

Southampton will be without long-term absentees Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos through knee injuries. Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are expected to also be on the sidelines as they struggle to shake off knocks. Sadio Mane is facing a suspension following last weekend’s red card at Anfield.

Bournemouth are missing Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson through long-term knee injuries as all three are expected to miss the rest of this season. Tommy Elphick is out until December with an ankle injury.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/W/D/D

Bournemouth’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/D/L/L

Key Stat: Bournemouth have never won away at Southampton.

Key Player: Graziano Pelle – The powerful Italian has been sensational early on this season and the goals keep on coming. Expect him to get amongst the goals at the weekend against a fragile Bournemouth defence.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth – The South Coast derby should be quite a spectacle but it should result in a home win for the Saints. Bournemouth are coming off back-to-back 5-1 defeats and the Saints should take advantage.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Southampton 

Venue: Anfield – Sunday, October 25 – 16:15 GMT (12:15 ET) 

Match Odds: Liverpool 1/1 – Draw 13/5 – Southampton 13/5

Match Preview

Liverpool host Southampton in a key Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon with both sides looking to climb the table.

Liverpool have started life under Jurgen Klopp with two draws in a week. A solid 0-0 at Spurs last week was followed by a more disappointing 1-1 with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday.

Klopp will hope his side don’t suffer from their European commitments here as he will be hoping to see the Reds leapfrog the Saints with a first win in his debut Premier League game at Anfield.

Liverpool’s Premier League record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

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Southampton come into the game unbeaten in their last three league games. A 3-1 win at Chelsea in their last away game will have fueled the players with confidence ahead of this one.

They drew 2-2 with Leicester last weekend but will be confident of picking up at least a point after already impressing against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

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Liverpool have won the last three meetings between the two sides, scoring at least twice in each match. The most recent clash ended 2-0 to Liverpool in February in a game that will be remembered for Philippe Coutinho’s stunning long-range strike.

Team News

Liverpool will still be without Jordan Henderson, Jordan Rossiter, Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings. Daniel Sturridge is a doubt along with former Saints defender Dejan Lovren. Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino are back in contention and could start in Klopp’s first home league game.

Southampton have three injury worries coming into the game as Fraser Forster, Florin Gardos and Shane Long remain out. Jordy Clasie made his debut last weekend but may have to settle for a place on the bench here.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: L/D/W/D/D

Southampton’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: There hasn’t been a draw between these two sides since January 2002 – a run of 13 games has followed, with Liverpool winning eight of them.

Key Player: Graziano Pelle – The powerful Saints forward has three goals and two assists combined against Chelsea and Manchester United this season. Expect him to threaten another big side on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 1-1 Southampton – This is another stiff test for Jurgen Klopp. Southampton are well organised and have impressed against the top sides already this season. Expect a close one with a score draw the most likely result in our books.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Southampton 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 3 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 7/10 – Draw 14/5 – Southampton 15/4

Match Preview

Chelsea will be hoping to finally get their domestic season going after a dreadful start as Southampton make the journey north to the capital on Saturday evening.

After losing in Europe to FC Porto on Tuesday, the onus is very much on Chelsea to get back to winning ways as manager Jose Mourinho is absorbing more pressure with every winless performance.

Currently the champions sit eight points off league leaders Manchester United and that gap could be widened if Chelsea fail to pick up three points on Saturday.

Chelsea’s record in the Premier League: P7 – W2 – D2 – L3

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Southampton were always going to have a difficult task of remaining competitive for the European places following high profile departures in Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin this summer.

However, with the return to fitness of Ryan Bertrand things are starting to fall into place for the Saints.

Southampton’s record in the Premier League: P7 – W2 – D3 – L2

With two wins in their last six, Ronald Koeman’s men will feel that they should be doing better and face a tough task of changing things quickly in this one.

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Team News

Chelsea are only missing one first team player through injury as Thibaut Courtois is still out following a knee injury that could keep him out until Christmas. Diego Costa is serving a domestic suspension so will not feature.

Southampton will be without Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos for the trip to Stamford Bridge as both are still nursing injuries. Jordy Clasie may be able to shake off a niggle in his ankle in time to feature but he remains a doubt.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Southampton’s last five: D/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have only lost once in their last 23 home matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Loic Remy – With Diego Costa currently serving a suspension it will be down to Loic Remy to lead the line. He’s a proven goalscorer and Chelsea need plenty of those at the moment.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Southampton – After another challenging performance in Porto in midweek it will be tough for Chelsea to turn it around but their home form suggests they will just edge this one against a Southampton side that has proven to be inconsistent so far.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Manchester United

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, September 20 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 15/8 – Draw 11/5 – Manchester United 6/4

Match Preview

Southampton host Manchester United in this week’s later Super Sunday clash, in a game that should be a low scoring affair between two sides that will look to keep things tight defensively.

Both sides boast stern defences, proved by the fact that the Saints haven’t conceded in their last three Premier League outings.

Sunday will also see Morgan Schneiderlin return back at his old stomping ground, St. Mary’s, just months after leaving. The French international spent seven years with the south coast side before his summer move to United.

Southampton’s 2015 Premier League Record: P5 – W1 – D3 – L1

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United come into the game off the back of a dismal night in Eindhoven on Tuesday which saw them lose 2-1 to Dutch champions PSV and lose key man, and former Saint Luke Shaw to a horrific leg break.

They will be hoping for a better result on Sunday, and will also be hoping to see another wonder goal from new striker Anthony Martial, after he set Old Trafford alight with a solo effort last Saturday in his United debut against Liverpool.

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Though, should captain Wayne Rooney be fit to start, Martial make have to make an appearance off the bench. The Englishman remains a doubt but could be in line to start.

Manchester United’s 2015 Premier League Record: P5 – W3 – D1 – L1

Team News

Southampton are missing Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand and Florin Gardos with knee injuries. Jordy Clasie and Gaston Ramirez are still struggling to shake off niggling injuries and will miss the visit of United.

Manchester United will be without defenders Luke Shaw and Phil Jones for the trip to Saints. Shaw suffered a double fracture in his right leg in Champions League action on Tuesday night and Phil Jones is still struggling with a blood clot. Wayne Rooney is a doubt with a hamstring injury but could return in place of Anthony Martial.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: D/L/D/W/D

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won on six of their last seven away trips to Southampton in all competitions.

Key Player: David De Gea – After a summer in limbo, Spanish stopper De Gea returned to his frightening best with a stellar display that earned United all three points against Liverpool last week. He remains United’s best asset and will be important here.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 0-2 Manchester United – We’re not expecting it to be as easy as the scoreline may suggest for the Red Devils but we still expect them to take all three points and remain in the early season title chase.