We return to Premier League this weekend after a break for the Fa Cup and Manchester United face Southampton at Old Trafford, with the match kicking off at 4pm on Sunday. Manchester United won 2-1 against Southampton at St Marys earlier this season, in a game that every single Manchester United fan will agree that they were very lucky to win having only had two shots on target in the game and scoring through both of them thanks to a double for Robin Van Persie.
The defeat for Southampton was a third straight defeat for them, after they had previously lost to Manchester City and Arsenal. After the defeat to United, Southampton also lost games against Burnley and Sheffield United in the League Cup, since then though the Saints have found their form again and are on a five game unbeaten run with three wins and two draws with an impressive 3-0 win over Everton and a 1-1 draw Chelsea and in their last League game they beat Arsenal 2-0.
The victory at St Marys for Manchester United was a fifth win in six games in their recent run of six straight wins. United are unbeaten in ten games in the Premier League and after their victory over Yeovil in the Fa Cup last game they are unbeaten in eleven games in all competitions. This recent run for United has seen them into 3rd place in the Premier League and into the 4th round of the Fa Cup, a competition they will be trying their hardest to win having not won it since 2004 and have just the League and Fa Cup to concentrate on this season having failed to qualify for this seasons Champions League.
Going into this game both sides are neck and neck in the Premier League table, with United sitting 3rd in the table, sitting one position and one point above Southampton. Both teams will be looking for the win to cement their positions in the top four. A win for Manchester United would see them put a gap of four points between themselves and Southampton, while a win for Southampton would see them move above United and that would see regain 3rd place in the League, a position they lost in the return of this fixture at St Marys. Both teams have similar records this season, with both clubs scoring 34 goals in the League, while Southampton have conceded 5 less goals than United, this is probably down to Southampton have a more settled defence than United. Both teams top goalscorers have 8 goals each, Rooney and Van Persie for United and Pelle for Southampton.
We all know the injury problems United have faced this season, suffering over 50 injuries and we are only half through the season. This has forced Louis Van Gaal to use over 30 players this season, while most of the other Premier League teams have probably used no more than 20 players. Given that Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United fans must think their dreaming to have only one player injured going into this game, that being Ashley Young, who won’t be back for a good few weeks after suffering a hamstring injury against Stoke on New Years Day. Louis Van Gaal won’t have seen as players on the training ground as he has this week in his short as Manchester United manager.