Manchester United vs Southampton Preview

A must win game for Manchester United against Southampton

After a disappointing draw at Turf Moor, Manchester United host Southampton at Old Trafford. This comes at a crucial time for United as they have to start racking up points in the race for Top Four. The Saints came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in a matter of minutes against Spurs on Wednesday. While that made United’s draw against Burnley slightly less embarrassing, it means United will play against a confident Southampton.

The last time Southampton played at Old Trafford, they slumped to a 9-0 defeat under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds around this time last year. I don’t expect anything like that with the way the team is currently playing but United need goals and they need a win. Urgently. Here’s all you need to know:

Match Information:

Teams: Manchester United and Southampton
Date: Saturday 12th February 2022
KO Time: 12:30 GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Ralf Rangnick and Ralf Hassenhuttl
Referee: Stuart Atwell (urgh)

Team News:

Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick confirmed that Fred and Eric Bailly remain out with COVID and an ankle injury respectively. Nemanja Matic is now ruled out with a shin issue and so the midfield options are very bare. Alex Telles is back in training but it’s doubtful whether he’s ready to start with Shaw playing well against Burnley. Harry Maguire was (over)criticised for his involvement in the Burnley goal but Rangnick has confirmed he will start and captain the side at Old Trafford.


Hassenhuttl remains without Alex McCarthy and Lycano with hamstring injuries. Nathan Redmond and Nathan Tella are unlikely to return to the travelling squad with an ankle injury and a groin injury respectively. Moussa Djenepo was back on the bench after his AFCON duty and could return to the starting XI.

Manchester United vs Southampton Interesting Facts:

  • Since the start of last season, Manchester United have scored 13 goals in 3 games against Southampton. This has been with eight different goalscorers.
  • Edinson Cavani missed the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s this season but has three goals and one assist in two games against the Saints.
  • Since losing at home twice to Southampton under Louis van Gaal, United have drawn twice and won three times against the Saints at Old Trafford.
  • There have been 18 goals scored in the last three games between the two clubs at Old Trafford. Manchester United have won twice and drawn once in these games (9-0, 3-2 and 2-2).

Predicted XI:

Expect very few changes. The thinness of the squad limits how much rotation can happen at the moment.

I really, really want to see Dean Henderson play this game as De Gea once again failed to impress on every margin bar shot stopping against Burnley. I also would expect Wan-Bissaka to come in for Dalot who has played 210 minutes in the last seven days and could be rotated for the Englishman who has to take his chance. McTominay and Pogba will return along with Bruno and hope to have a better grip on the midfield than they did in the second half against Burnley.

Sancho and Rashford should keep their place. The issue upfront is, when Cavani came in for Ronaldo, it didn’t have an effect but when Ronaldo came on, he was just as invisible. I think Cavani does offer more as a pressing forward but Ronaldo will score more goals.

If Southampton press, Cavani is a better striker for the game, if Southampton sit back, Ronaldo is the better option. It’s a tricky dilemma but after benching him against Burnley, I cannot see Rangnick leaving Ronaldo out again.

Predicted Team (4-3-3): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Sancho, Rashford, Ronaldo

Predicted Score:

I hope United can bounce back. This won’t be an easy game and it will be full of goals. Southampton will push United but the creativity the Reds have should get them past the Saints. Southampton have a leaky defence and get caught out of their own press. If United can control the game and play out of Southampton’s press, this will be a clear United win.

Predicted Score: United to win 3-1

Author: Arjun Handa

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