Southampton vs Manchester United Predictions, odds, best bets

Southampton vs Manchester United Predictions

Manchester United must now build on their first win of the season

It seems instinctively hyperbolic to call August games ‘to be won’, but it sounded like an accurate description of Manchester United’s meeting with Liverpool on Monday. After suffering humiliating back-to-back defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in their opening two games of the campaign, the Red Devils were desperate to stand out against their rivals.

A defeat for Jurgen Klopp’s side would have sent them bottom of the table and led to fresh questions over the direction of a club nearing the 10th anniversary of their last Premier League title.

A swallow doesn’t make a summer, and no one should get carried away with a slim victory over a below-average Liverpool side in the face of an injury crisis. The main problems at Old Trafford – absent and inadequate landlords, a questionable recruitment model and a general lack of concerted thinking – remain unchanged. But the manner of winning as much as the result itself will give United fans hope that they can achieve something this season after all. On Monday’s evidence, a top-four challenge shouldn’t escape this team.

There was a lot to admire in United’s performance. The lack of leadership, aggression, intensity and desire was evident to all in Brentford’s 4-0 thrashing nine days earlier. United looked like a completely different team on matchday three. They were energetic and focused, working hard off the ball and playing effectively with it.

Erik ten Hag deserves credit for changing his approach. The short goal kicks that proved so disastrous against Brentford were largely abandoned, playing from the back was less of a priority; the four defenders focused on destruction rather than construction. And the two big calls from Ten Hag staff paid off, with Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo starting the game on the bench.

Southampton Hope Youthful Exuberance is a winning ticket

After a loss to Tottenham Hotspur and a draw with Leeds United, Southampton also secured their first win of 2022/23 last time out. Club fans must have feared the worst when James Maddison put Leicester City 1-0 up at the King Power Stadium, but Southampton dug deep to turn the game around thanks to two goals from substitute Che Adams – a feat that will almost certainly earn him a start against United.

Ralph Hasenhuttl entered the campaign under pressure after a poor end to term. Southampton have won just one of their last 12 games and lost five of their last six. The club responded by sacking several members of Hasenhuttl’s back office staff. Had the Saints lost to Leicester last weekend, the Austrian might have been on his way out himself.

However, Southampton should probably stick with Hasenhuttl. He has proven himself to be a shrewd manager and his all-action style of play suits young players well. Southampton have signed plenty this summer: three of the four arrivals on the pitch are aged 20 or younger, with Joe Aribo, 26, the oldest signing.

The switch to youth has led some to predict imminent relegation for Southampton this season, but they have enough quality in the ranks to stay put.

It’s another huge game for Erik Ten Hag and Man United

It will be fascinating to see how Ten Hag approaches this encounter. For starters, he has a huge selection decision to make: will he bring Cristiano Ronaldo back, or will he stick to the more fluid frontline he deployed against Liverpool? As of this writing, United’s stance on the Portugal international has not changed, but if he is left out of the starting line-up for the second game in a row it would surely spell the end of his second spell at the helm. Old Trafford.

At the other end of the pitch, Maguire looks set to miss once again despite being the club’s captain. Raphael Varane is fully fit again and Lisandro Martinez impressed in the team’s first win of the season, so Maguire could struggle to get back into the XI.

More broadly, United’s game plan will have to be different here. Playing so reactively against Liverpool has worked, but the same approach won’t be possible against weaker opponents like Southampton. The defense will have to push higher up the pitch, for example, and the Saints’ forwards could have opportunities to run behind.

United have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and Leicester are the only team in the division to have conceded fewer goals. Turn Ten Hag’s team around to make it two wins in two – but a clean sheet might be beyond them.

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How to watch Southampton v Manchester United

Teams Southampton v Manchester United
Location St Mary’s, Southampton, England
Time Saturday, August 27, 2022, 7:30 a.m. EST
How to watch US Network, fuboTV
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