Manchester United play host to the Premier League’s one point wonders Southampton this Wednesday on the back of a comfortable 4-1 against Fulham in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.
Southampton hit the headlines recently when Nigel Adkins was sacked and was quickly replaced by the relatively unknown Mauricio Pochettino in a move which sent shock waves throughout the footballing world. Southampton have become somewhat draw specialists so far this season with eight draws coming from their 23 games including four in their last five Premier League ties.
The two teams played out a thrilling five goal game at St Mary’s earlier on in the season which saw Manchester United come from behind on two occasions to scrape a 3-2 victory with all three goals being scored by the ever reliable Robin Van Persie. So, despite the game being a mismatch on paper, we may be in for another close encounter.
Saints new boss Mauricio Pochettini is set to stick with the same team that got a 0-0 draw against Everton two weeks ago, although former rumored United target Vegard Forren is available after the completion of his transfer from Molde FK. Southampton have also been boosted by the return to fitness of their influential captain Adam Lallana but he is set to start the game on the sidelines. The last time Saints got a point at the Theatre Of Dreams was back in September 1999 when the two teams played out a 3-3 draw.
Manchester United are set to welcome back a host of first team players after Sir Alex Ferguson put a relatively week team out in the FA Cup tie against Fulham. Ashley Young, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Robin Van Persie are just four of the players that are set to feature in United’s starting XI.
Ryan Giggs is expected to be rested for the game after another outstanding and energetic performance on Saturday as Giggs edges closer to earning himself a new contract at the club with his 40th birthday fast approaching.
United’s strike force has so far proved its worth this season with Wayne Rooney scoring seven in his last eight, Javier Hernandez netting five times in his last five appearances and this years main man Robin Van Persie scoring ten in his last ten Premier League games.
With City playing on Tuesday night, United could potentially only have a two point lead over City so nevertheless, three points against Southampton will go a long way to securing that 20th Premier League title.
Predicted Score: Manchester United 3-1 Southampton