Harry Elliott (@harry94elliott) previews Friday night’s match up: Manchester United vs Southampton.
This will be Jose Mourinho’s first home league game at Old Trafford, and coming off the back of a reasonably comfortable 3-1 win at Bournemouth which propelled the Red Devils to the top of league, Mourinho’s new look United side can cement their place at the top of the English football pyramid with victory over Claude Puel’s Southampton side. Puel’s men enter this fixture after a Jekyll and Hyde like performance in their 1-1 draw versus Watford. There was little in the way of positives for Saints fans for the most part of an hour before new boy Nathan Redmond’s equaliser sparked some life and attacking intent into the red and whites.
From a Manchester United point of view the next two fixtures, starting with Southampton under the Friday night lights of Old Trafford, present a great opportunity to pick up some wins and build momentum before a Manchester derby on September 10th. Following the home clash versus the south coast club, United travel east to the East Riding of Yorkshire to take on Hull City, fresh from a surprise opening day victory versus champions Leicester City. If the Red Devils were to win the next two fixtures (which some fans are expectant of) then nine points from nine heading into Jose and Pep’s first Manchester derby certainly gets the pulse racing.
Focusing on the immediate 90 minutes however, here is how @OTFaithful predicts United to line up versus the Saints:
Some fans believe they can already see the benefits of a Mourinho side compared to the negativity of a LvG XI, highlighted in this interview from @FullTimeDEVILS :
As @PeoplesPerson_ points out, this game will be the first that record signing Paul Pogba can be unleashed (or should that be re-leashed?):
“With world record new signing Paul Pogba, after weeks of sizzling anticipation, now finally able to pull on the red shirt, Jose Mourinho can now unleash his four new signings all in one go.”
“Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have made rip-roaring starts to their Manchester United careers, whilst Henrikh Mkhitaryan – last year’s Bundesliga Player of the Season – has had a limited role so far, coming off the bench for short cameos.”
“But as Jose Mourinho and Co step onto the hallow Old Trafford turf for the first time this season, the Theatre of Dreams promises to be a cauldron of noise and excitement as Man United host Southampton. And there is no better time to see all four of the 53-year-old’s summer acquisitions play together for the first time.”
From an away fan’s perspective, Southampton will likely be happy with a point from this clash, but make no mistake, the Saints aren’t fearful of a trip north to Old Trafford. The Hampshire outfit have not lost at Old Trafford since January 2013, with a 1-1 draw and two successive 0-1 away wins in their last three outings to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. In the video below @theuglyinside boys preview Friday’s match, and give their opinion on how the Saints might fare (also features a wild Frisbee):
In conclusion, with the sheer attacking options at Mourinho’s disposal it is hard to look past a United victory. However, that is dependent on the new boys all gelling and forming chemistry immediately. Southampton did not do enough to convince me last weekend, and for that reason I am predicting a 2-1 win to Manchester United, ending Southampton’s run of wins at Old Trafford.