Manchester United VS Southampton Prediction
First game on “The Theater of Dreams” for season 2016-2017 comes in Friday night when Manchester United welcomes Southampton in round 2 of new English Premier League season. Man Utd and Southampton are with new managers and this makes their encounter even more intriguing as we’re on the eve of Jose Mourinho’s first official match at “Old Trafford”, while on other side we have Claude Puel who made his Premier League debut last week.
Southampton appointed the 54-year-old Frenchman who was previously coach of several domestic teams – AS Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice, so his Premier League move is a new chapter and respectively challenge for Puel. His Premier League debut for “The Saints” was against Watford last Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t successful, as Southampton couldn’t won at its “St Mary’s Stadium”.
Jose Mourinho’s Premier League debut as a red devil was marked by a bow for all supporters since “United” were solid in their 3-1 win against Bournemouth. However, there is still enough work to be done and experienced Portuguese manager realizes it.
This time Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba are present for selection after missing the first league game of the season through suspensions. Anyway, neither from them will start against Southampton as their pre-season has been disrupted but Pogba is more likely to mark his “Old Trafford” comeback, eventually starting from the bench. Daley Blind and summer signing Eric Bailly are expected to form the centre-back duo once again, while Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini are both suspects who can form same midfield duo as in the first leg.
Juan Mata, who surprisingly started on the right wing, and he even opened Manchester United’s scoring account this season, is in contention with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and final decision is up to Jose Mourinho. Otherwise everything else looks clear and Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all set to form Man Utd’s attacking line.
Southampton travels to Manchester without injured Florin Gardos and Ryan Bertrand but this times expectations are that both UEFA Euro 2016 champions will start – José Fonte looks close to return, while Cédric Soares already made his debut in the first round.
All other players will probably keep their positions in Claude Puel’s starting selection and as Puel already revealed, chances for Fonte to start in Friday night are really good. So he’ll probably started at the expense of Maya Yoshida while Virgil van Dijk will retain its starting spot.
Shane Long was far from his best shape in the first round but we believe that player with his efficiency and dedication will be among the starting XI again.
EPL: Manchester United vs Southampton – Squads and Betting Tip
Southampton are unbeaten at “Old Trafford” in their last three visits which will inevitably increase their confidence as they have beaten Manchester United in both of their last two visits, making their streak even more remarkable.
This leaves “The Red Devils” without home victory over “The Saints” since end of January 2013 when they won with 2-1 and Jose Mourinho is surely not impressed by these stats. His character looks only ahead and we believe that Manchester United will provide enough effort for winning their first home match in season 2016-2017, but we also expect tight defending and solid resistance by Southampton.
All quality players who have arrived in Manchester last summer and money spend on the transfer window are requiring proper results. That’s why our pick goes for “Manchester United to win and Both teams to score” – United are absolute favorites here and everything else will be huge surprise. However, we think that Southampton can also score since there’s still enough work for the overall look of United’s defense, something which “Saints” can use, especially when they’re in role of underdogs.
Venue: “Old Trafford”, Manchester.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Possible starting squads of Manchester United and Southampton
Manchester United: David de Gea – Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia – Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera – Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (4-2-3-1)
Southampton: Fraser Forster – Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett – Steven Davis, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse – Dusan Tadic – Shane Long, Nathan Redmond. (4-3-1-2)