United v Saints Preview
The quest to leave Manchester City trailing in our wake as we seek to regain the Premier League crown continues this Wednesday evening when we welcome Southampton to Old Trafford. On paper it looks a fixture that we should win an don our current run of form it seem shard to pick a winner other than United, but we all know how this crazy game of ours sometimes goes, don`t we!
Southampton, under Nigel Adkins were doing, we thought okay. Adkins had taken them to consecutive promotions and the side were starting to pick up some form. But the axe was wielded and Adkins is no more. Instead the owner has appointed the Argentine, Mauricio Pochettino, to manage the side, something Sir Alex Ferguson (just like the Southampton supporters) has found hard to understand with our boss commenting ahead of the game,
"I don`t know a lot about him to be honest."
"Nigel spoke to me the day before he was sacked. You cannot understand these things."
"Their form had picked up, two defeats in 12 games. I have to be careful what I say about their chairman but apparently he`s a work of art."
I`d love to witness a meeting between the two, wouldn`t you?
United Team News:
Having rotated his squad for the recent FA Cup tie with Fulham, we fully expect Sir Alex to play his strongest side on Wednesday night.
Amongst those expected to return to the starting eleven are - Robin Van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Nemamja Vidic. Unfortunately, Ashley Young and Jonny Evans are not available for selection due to ongoing injury problems.
Player to watch: Rio Ferdinand
Now with Nemanja Vidic back alongside him the veteran central defender is getting back to his best and some are, although Rio has ridiculed such claims, suggesting he could get a recall to the England squad.
Southampton Team News:
Southampton have just returned from a winter break. Their new manager Mauricio Pochettino, took the squad to Barcelona on a bonding exercise.
For this fixture though, Pochettino will be without Jose Fonte and Guly Do Prado, both have knew injuries. But there is a chance that the club captain, Adam Lallana, may be back after a significant period of absence with a knee ligament injury.
Player to watch: Rickie Lambert
If United are susceptible to the powerfully built forward, someone in the Benteke mould; then Rickie Lambert will relish a chance to test our defence. Doubted by some, Lambert has gone on to show that he can score in the top flight and our defenders will need to keep a close eye on him.
Match Facts & Stats
Southampton have an appalling record at Old Trafford. In their last
Southampton last beat United back in 2003, on their own pitch, courtesy of a goal from James Beattie.
However, Southampton arrive at Old Trafford on their longest top flight unbeaten run since 2003, of six games.
The officials appointed for this fixture are:- Referee - L. Mason Assistants - R. West and S. Bennett Fourth Official - P. Tierney
I`m going for a United win, which probably doesn`t surprise you. Having gotten over the trait of conceding the first goal and having to chase games, I just feel that our attacking prowess will be too much for a Southampton defence that isn`t quite up to Premier League standard. As for a score-line, I`ll go 3-0!
Our next fixture is against Fulham, at Craven Cottage, this weekend.