Manchester United have proved a revelation since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became interim manager in December. The Red Devils are unbeaten at home under him and he set a new record points haul for a manager in their first 10 Premier League matches after United’s 0-0 home draw with Liverpool took him on to 26. His side have since extended their unbeaten league run under him to 11 following a comprehensive 3-1 away success at Crystal Palace in midweek. They face a Saints side currently languishing in 17th place with just 27 points to their name. They have won only five of their 27 games this season – losing in 13. United, who are currently fifth in the table, need a victory to keep up their bid for a top four finish but the visitors have a decent record against them so it will be no pushover
Manchester United vs Southampton Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Southampton
Southampton have a good recent record at Old Trafford and will be hoping United’s lengthy injury list helps them to continue it. In their last five visits they have won twice and drawn on two occasions. However, the hosts are now playing attacking football under Solskjaer and are far more solid at the back – keeping clean sheets in three of their last four Premier League games.
That suggests that, on current form, United should be capable of beating Southampton without conceding. In what is likely to be a hard fought battle we therefore predict a 2-0 win for United.
Our recommended tip: United win to nil
Manchester United are red-hot favourites to win and it’s easy to see why. They are currently 12 positions and 28 points above their opponents. That’s why they are 1/2 with BetVictor to bag another three points. However, backing them to win to nil at 5/4 with the same firm looks far better value given that the Saints front line lacks any cutting edge. United’s defence is now very solid under the leadership of world class goalkeeper David De Gea and it’s very hard to see Southampton being able to break it down given their current form.
The head-to-head stats reveal that United have won 52 times in 103 league matches against the Saints. Southampton have managed 25 wins and there have been 26 draws.
As previously touched upon though, Southampton do have a decent recent record in this fixture having achieved two 1-0 wins and a couple of low-scoring draws in their last five visits.
That gives their supporters some hope that they can come away with a point at least. The problem is that United are now a real force again and on a roll so this may well be a case where recent stats don’t matter.
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Players to watch: Romelu Lukaku & Ryan Bertrand
Manchester United: Romelu Lukaku
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has scored in the last two games against Southampton. He comes into the game having bagged a brace against Crystal Palace in midweek, netting in each half. That will have done his confidence the world of good and he is likely to start up front again due to United’s current injury list. His physical presence could cause the Saints defence all sorts of problems and create vital space for teammates to exploit..
Southampton: Ryan Bertrand
Left back Ryan Bertrand was a regular threat in Southampton’s comfortable midweek 2-0 home win against Fulham. He was very solid in defence but also a real driving force going forward. It was his super delivery which won the corner that led to the opener and overall he put in a terrific 90 minutes. He will need to put in a similar shift if his side are to come away with anything in this encounter.