Manchester United vs Southampton: 3 things to watch out for

Anthony Martial, Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Anthony Martial, Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

Manchester United will be looking to start February the right way with a big win over Southampton. They have dropped 5 points in their last two matches and have fallen three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race. On the other hand, Southampton are in the middle of a bad run of form themselves as they have lost their last three Premier League matches and currently sit 11th in the Premier League table.

The Red Devils were looking to respond to their midweek loss to Sheffield United on the weekend against Arsenal but were unable to get the three points. Edinson Cavani had two glorious chances in front of goal that he sent begging.

Solskjaer’s side have struggled at home this season only managing 14 points in their 10 matches at Old Trafford, which is a direct contrast to their form on the road.

The matches are coming in fast and furious for the Red Devils as they will take on Southampton and have another home date against Everton on the weekend before the FA Cup resumes. Here are three things to look out for tonight:

Will Anthony Martial be able to find his scoring boots?

It’s been a miserable start to the season for Anthony Martial, who many were expecting to take a step forward after a strong campaign last season. But he has struggled badly in front of goal and seems to be cracking under the pressure of Edinson Cavani breathing down his neck.

Martial has scored only twice this season in the Premier League in 17 matches and if United are to stand any chance of lifting the tile come May, he needs to start chipping in.

The Red Devils will be hoping Martial will be able to put the ball in the back of the net against Southampton, a team he has struggled to score against in his career.

With Cavani playing the full 90 minutes on Saturday and with the quick turnaround in games, Martial will likely take his place back in the starting line up. This could be the game where he needs to get back on track or just lose his starting spot to the Uruguayan for the rest of the campaign.

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Manchester United’s defence against set pieces

United’s defence has gotten better over the last few months but they still have the odd hiccup from time to time. We saw that rear its ugly head against the Blades last Wednesday when they made a mess of a clearance that led to the eventual Sheffield United game-winner.

While Southampton doesn’t have eye-popping goal scoring record this season, they do have some players that can cause havoc. The Red Devils will have to keep Danny Ings in check as he has 7 goals in 15 matches but also has 17 shots on target while only taking 24 shots in total.

Southampton has not scored from open play since December 16th, when they scored against Arsenal. If United can withstand their attack and try to stay away from conceding cheap set-pieces as much as possible, they have a good shot of getting all three points

Marcus Rashford back on the left flank

Against Liverpool, in the FA Cup, United used Rashford on the left wing along with Luke Shaw and it gave them fits. In the last two games, however, Rashford has drifted to the right side of the pitch and hasn’t had the same impact against the defenders.

With Kyle Walker-Peters missing the game tomorrow this would be the perfect time to put Rashford back on the left flank, linking up with Shaw once again. They should be able to have their way against back-up full-back Van Vallery, who is expected to start.