The Southampton vs Manchester United game ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw away at the Saint Mary’s Stadium. The Red Devils had the chance to build on the momentum after thrashing Leeds United 5-1 last week but failed to capitalise on the chances as the Saints earned a fully deserved draw. Mason Greenwood saved the day for Ole’s men with an impressive equalizer after Fred’s own goal in the first half.
Before we set our sights on the next match, here are five key things that we learned from the Southampton vs Manchester United clash.
1. United Are Still Showing Some Undesirable Elements From Last Season
United are currently enjoying an unbeaten run of 27 games away from home. However, most of those away games last season were marked by early goals from opponents and late comebacks and equalizers by the Red Devils. The away game at Southampton on Sunday was also a vague reminder of this.
The Saints took an early lead in the 30th minute, albeit from an own goal by Fred and though United equalized through Greenwood, they failed to score a winner. Despite managing to keep the unbeaten streak going, traits of their game like a slow start and occasional sloppy play are undesirable elements from last season that are still visible this season.
We find out the ones who impressed and the ones who disappointed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side… ⚽️https://t.co/CSSfRZe3vW
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) August 22, 2021
2. A Fred And Matic Partnership Is Ineffective
In the Southampton vs Manchester United game, Ole decided to drop Scott McTominay in favour of Nemanja Matic. However, Ole learned his lesson the hard way that Fred and Matic do not make an effective pair as they failed to establish a strong presence together in midfield.
Unlike the McFred duo that we saw against Leeds, the duo of Fred and Matic seemed to lack solidity and flair in the middle. Though both the players improved their play in the second half, their first-half shortcomings overshadowed them.
3. United Still Need Improvements From Set-pieces
Things looked positive at the start of the season when United announced the signing of their new set-piece coach, Eric Ramsay. However, it looks like the Red Devils still have plenty of work to do when it comes to set-pieces. United had several chances to score against Southampton and take the lead through wide free-kicks but failed.
Both Lindelof and Pogba failed to capitalize on their headers despite both getting first touches on the ball. Pogba squandered another great chance to score from a great cross by Shaw. These shortcomings in the Southampton vs Manchester United game show a lack of decisive finishing skills despite high quality passes from set-pieces.
4. Martial Continues To Underperform
Ole handed Anthony Martial a surprising start against the Saints, but he failed to seize the opportunity. The Frenchman had a disappointing 20/21 season, plagued by injuries and low-quality performances. With Rashford sidelined due to injury right now, this is the right time for Martial to step up and reclaim a starting role in the team, but he failed to impress at St. Mary’s.
‘Lightweight’ Man Utd star Anthony Martial slammed by pundits after ‘shocking’ performance during Southampton draw https://t.co/AhW1i4QzSE
— The Sun – Man Utd (@SunManUtd) August 23, 2021
The Frenchman barely displayed any presence or attacking threat going forward and was outdone by Jack Stephens on several occasions. His under-performances are a continuation of last season and it brings to light whether Ole should have agreed to the £50m bid from Inter for the player.
5. David De Gea Still Has It In Him
David de Gea has had a great career at Old Trafford and has been single-handedly responsible for saving the team on numerous occasions. However, his recent outings, particularly around last season, showed a dip in performances, which put his position as the number one choice for the keeper in jeopardy.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 23, 2021
There were many debates over whether the player would continue as Ole’s first choice between the sticks, especially with the rise of Dean Henderson to challenge for the role. However, in the Southampton vs Manchester United game, the Spanish shot-stopper again showed that he still has something to offer to the team with some brilliant saves to make up for some sloppy defensive errors.
What else do you think needs to be added to this list? Do give your opinions in the comment section below and follow ArseDevils for more Manchester United Matchday updates.