The Red Devils visit St. Mary’s Stadium for their next Premier League clash against Southampton. United needs to get in order if they want to challenge for the Premier League title, especially what happened last week against Palace.
Last weekend’s game against Palace was the best game that Palace has had against United. Their first win against the Red Devils in over 30 years. Ole Gunnar’s boys were left red-faced after the boys from London scored twice, once in the first half and second in Fergie time.
There was a lot written about the performance of the men in red, much of which had to do with the worst conversion ratio, with over 10 different shots on the Palace goal, through either a corner kick or from a free-kick outside the box, and United could not capitalize on any of these opportunities and convert a goal, even with Maguire in the box, United were outclassed. The only saving grace coming from the young James who managed to score an equalizer which revitalized the home crowd, only to be silenced a few minutes later.
So, who was at fault for either of the goals that United conceded. If the first goal was the fault of Lindelof and Maguire playing further up than they needed to, losing possession and De Gea rushing for the ball and getting beaten, the second goal was squarely the fault of the Spanish Goal-Keeper, who has not been having a rather spectacular form in front of the goal. If he does not return to his mid-season form from last season, things will be difficult for United.
Lingard was again a non-factor in the game, the player did not touch the ball upwards for 20 minutes and when he did touch the ball, he gave it quite easily. That seemed to be the common thread with none of the United players having the hunger to chase the ball into the net.
It was disappointing to see a team of United’s caliber not produce a single chance in front of the Palace goal. With Pogba playing again in a defensive position, he could not be active enough to create chances, a repeat of what the problem was against Wolves.
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Ole again continued his baffling process of not making substitutions when the players weren’t playing at their peak. One does not understand what the manager is thinking when he is making such a protracted substitution.
Towards the end of the match, United suffered another blow in the form of Anthoy Martial suffering an injury. Meanwhile, Luke Shaw suffered an hamstring injury in the first half and Ashley Young replacing the left-back. Their injuries effectively ruled them out from the game today against Southampton.
The only positive from the game was that Maguire seemed to take control of the team and asserted himself into the match, showing that he might be a future Captain.
Today, against a resurgent Southampton that lost a close game against Liverpool and won against Brighton & Hove Albion, Ole will again field the same team with the exception of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial. Replacing them will be Ashley Young as the captain and either Greenwood or Pereira filling in for Martial on the wings while Rashford becomes the lone striker.
Rashford will be joined by Lingard and James, though one does hope that Lingard will be made to sit out against Southampton and both Greenwood and Pereira will be allowed to start the game. Pogba will resume his duties as a defensive midfielder, even though he would be better used as an offensive player, alongside McTominay.
The backline will be complete with Wan-Bissaka, Macguire, Lindelof, and captain Ashley Young. The goalkeeper as always will be De Gea, who will need to perform much better against Southampton than how he did against Crystal Palace and the first two Premier League games.