English Premier League 2019-20 preview: Southampton vs Manchester United – Saturday 31st August 2019 – St Mary's Stadium – 12:30 hrs BST
If Southampton fans were looking forward to the same magic that new coach Ralph Hasenhuttl created when he led a nondescript RB Leipzig side to a runners-up finish in the Bundesliga in their first season, they were bitterly disappointed.
The season started for the Saints with a 0-3 thrashing at the hands of Burnley. But Hasenhuttl's men seemed to have got their bearings back when they lost narrowly at home to a rampaging Liverpool 1-2.
But last week's game away at the Falmer stadium where they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 should give the Saints some confidence going into August 31st's clash against Manchester United.
Hasenhuttl emulated the 4-2-2-2 formation he used to use at Leipzig properly for the first time, a system that requires the physicality of Che Adams along with the guile and energy of his upfront partner Danny Ings.
Manchester United Form
It genuinely seemed like a new Manchester United side on the opening day of the EPL season, as big backline summer signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka came up really good against a youthful Chelsea attack, while the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford and the ability of Paul Pogba to thread a ball and launch a counter-attack shred the Blues to pieces.
Solskjaer's men won 4-0 and looked a different proposition to the side that limped to sixth last season.
But the same old ghosts reared their head in the previous two games with defensive errors at one end and lacklustre finishing on the other, the upshot of which was a solitary point against the Wolves and a humiliating home loss to Crystal Palace.
Roy Hodgson's game plan at Old Trafford of sitting deep and starving United of the ability to play on the counter was effective and provides a blueprint for similar smaller Premier League sides looking to keep frustrating the Red Devils.
New signing Dan James has scored in two of three appearances so far this season and could be given a start as injuries are gradually beginning to bother Solskjaer.
Anthony Martial looks doubt for Saturday's St. Mary's clash while Alexis Sanchez has been shunted off to Italy on a loan-move to Inter Milan. So, it could be an opportunity for the young James to start alongside the likes of Juan Mata on Saturday.
Southampton vs Man United Prediction Stats
Southampton are winless in their last eight home Premier League games against Manchester United (W0 D3 L5) since winning 1-0 in August 2003.
Manchester United have won more away games at St. Mary's than any other side (10 wins). So, on paper, the visiting Red Devils look the favourites to take three points from Saturday's fixture.
(Odds subject to change and correct as of 28/08/2019)
Manchester United to win: 11/10
Southampton to win: 29/10
For a draw: 12/5
Southampton vs Man United Predictions
Manchester United's only clean sheet from their last 14 Premier League games was their 4-0 win over Chelsea. The Red Devils have conceded at least a goal in every other game.
Hence the odds of both teams to score are high at 3/4
In fact, there's a feeling among many that Hasenhuttl's high-tempo tactics could derail a shaky United defence. A hard-fought game could be on the cards.
Recommended correct score predictions: 1-1 at 6/1
Other correct score line predictions & odds worth looking at are
Man Utd 2-1: 17/2
Southampton 1-0: 12/1
Draw 2-2: 14/1
Man Utd 3-1: 16/1
First goal scorer odds:
Marcus Rashford: 9/2
Anthony Martial: 5/1
Paul Pogba: 6/1
Danny Ings: 15/2
Man Utd predicted XI:
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Young, Pereira, McTominay, Pogba, James, Mata, Rashford
Southampton predicted XI:
Gunn; Valery, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Danso; Romeu, Hojbjerg; Ward-Prowse, Redmond; Adams, Ings