Manchester United’s worst away run in 80 years finally ended on the south coast as Erik ten Hag’s team got the better of Southampton 1-0 in Saturday’s early kick-off.
It was a tough afternoon for the Red Devils with the hosts pushing them all the way but a fine Bruno Fernandes strike in the second half proved to be the difference in the end.
United have now won back-to-back contests for the first time since February and this was the first clean sheet of the year for David de Gea.
Anthony Elanga is so ineffective it's frustrating to watch.
Yeah, Man Utd should just pay the €100m and get Antony.
— UtdFaithfuls (@UtdFaithfuls) August 27, 2022
The players had to dig deep to get the three points and two wins in the space of six days will no doubt please the Dutch manager. United are now up to sixth in the Premier League table as a result of the victory.
The winning goal came as a result of some fine play down the flank by Diogo Dalot and the Portuguese full-back’s cross was masterfully swept in by the skipper on the day.
Up against an inexperienced defender in Moussa Djenepo, Ten Hag had hoped that Anthony Elanga would use his pace and trickery to exploit the right flank.
Game tailor-made for Antony
The Saints’ game plan was pretty simple, overload the middle of the park to not allow space to the likes of Christian Eriksen and Fernandes to pick out the killer ball over the top.
And that ploy worked to perfection. United’s wing play was not great as often times Jadon Sancho, who played down the left, found himself being marked by more than two Southampton players.
But Elanga’s performance was really weak as apart from one solitary run in the second-half, the Sweden international failed to stamp his authority at any point in the game.
Ten Hag wants Antony to join as being a left-footed player, he can add much needed balance and his crossing ability is one of his biggest attributes.
Marcus Rashford tried gamely but he lacks the killer instinct of a striker and he never gambled on the ball dropping to him inside the box.
Ten Hag is right to want to strengthen the attack as the Red Devils look to carry forward the momentum in the weeks ahead.