Man Utd vs Southampton – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Sunday 12th March 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we look at Southampton’s visit to Old Trafford. A huge midweek Europa League win over Real Betis lifted the mood at United – can they build on it? Read on with our Man Utd vs Southampton prediction.
Man Utd vs Southampton Match Preview
What a difference a few days makes. While the spectre of Manchester United’s 7-0 defeat against bitter rivals Liverpool will linger on at least until they next meet with the chance for Ten Hag’s men to atone for such an embarrassing defeat, an impressive 4-1 victory over Real Betis in their Europa League round of 16 first leg match has gone some way to changing the immediate outlook for the club. While United survived a nervy ending to the first half with the scoreline at 1-1, their second half performance was much improved as they dominated their Spanish visitors with 9 shots on target to one.
That this second half display against a very capable team could follow such a terrible second half display against Liverpool on the weekend serves to showcase both the unpredictability of football but also that within this Manchester United side there are still frailties and glaring ones at that. We speak about bottom levels for players i.e. how low can their performances go as a measurement for consistency – Paul Scholes for example was referred to as having a particularly high bottom level. Using this concept to evaluate Man United, a 6-0 second half deficit against an inconsistent Liverpool side and a 3-0 hammering of Real Betis in the second half on Thursday demonstrates the chasm between United’s best and worst levels.
Southampton’s fight to stay in the Premier League has received a couple of timely boosts of late, both in terms of the 1-0 victories over both Chelsea and Leicester but also in the timing of the fixtures. What we mean by this is that Chelsea were, frankly, a mess going into that home fixture against the Saints, who did what they had to do while Chelsea continued their recent trend towards profligate finshing. Leicester have been abject since their mini-revival against Spurs and Villa, so while the three points were clearly welcome, it wasn’t a particularly big shock.
We don’t say this to be unkind in any way – surviving a relegation battle is all about putting points on the board, so to speak, and Southampton have now closed the gap to Leicester and Bournemouth which now stands at just three points. The point is, while Southampton have been doing what they need to do, it’s difficult to use those games to announce that Southampton can fight their way clear of relegation, particularly as sandwiched between those victories was a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to fellow relegation candidates Leeds United.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Martial, Sabitzer
Will Not Play: Eriksen, Van de Beek
Might Not Play: Alcaraz
Will Not Play: Larios, Livramento
Man Utd vs Southampton Lineups (Predicted)
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Varane, Martinez, Dalot; Casemiro, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Antony; Weghorst
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Maitland-Niles; Ward-Prowse, Lavia; Sulemana, Elyounoussi, A. Armstrong; Adams
Man Utd vs Southampton Analysis
Every Game is a Clean Slate: Part 2
As raw and visceral that their 7-0 capitulation to Liverpool was, it was still only three points, plus some goal difference considerations. Had United then carried that over to the Real Betis game (which, in fairness at the end of the first half, they could’ve gone 2-1 down), then that derby hammering could have had a greater psychological impact on today’s proceedings. This isn’t a reductive analysis – confidence and morale are important factors when it comes to predicting a team’s performance in any given match. Sometimes, overconfidence and a lack of recent adversity can also play a part, as United failed to show any ‘fight’ in their second half drubbing at Anfield.
That said, it’s unlikely that Southampton will be able to apply that kind of pressure, particularly at Old Trafford where United have generally been impressive this season. Southampton haven’t scored more than once since their FA Cup victory over Blackpool at Saint Mary’s Stadium, and their away victories this season (there have been no draws) have come at times where their opponents were obviously struggling. Chelsea (as we mentioned), Leicester, Bournemouth, Everton, Crystal Palace (terrible 2023) and Cambridge United are their positive results away from home. Had there been no midweek game for United to navigate, we might be tempted to suggest that Southampton could test United’s character early on.
Southampton Could Make this Scrappy in Midfield
Under Ralph Hassenhuttl, Southampton were known as a high-energy, hard-pressing team whose primary asset was making life difficult for their opponents. Some feel the German was unfairly sacked, as the fact of the matter is that Southampton lack the playing resources to match many of their Premier League rivals. It’s not that the players at their disposal are necessarily poor players for this level, it’s that they buy for potential rather than their current ability and younger players tend to make more mistakes.
Why are we mentioning this as a talking point? It’s noticeable that Southampton since dispensing with Nathan Jones’ services have reverted to their previous tactical approach. One of the criticisms of Southampton under Jones was that they were too passive and too rigid in their phases of play and, most of the time, they were easy to play against as a result. While United have improved under ten Hag, they don’t yet have the degree of control in the middle of the park that Manchester City, Arsenal or even Brighton have.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in certain matches – United revel in constructing sweeping, counter attacking moves that are difficult to combat – this is where they are in their element, which is hardly surprising given the characteristics of their playing staff. Without Eriksen, United have turned to this approach more and more. If Southampton can press and disrupt United in midfield as they have done down the years and indeed, in the reverse fixture in which United won 1-0 but Southampton played fairly well, they could have some measure of success.
It’s difficult to look past Southampton’s current predicament for this one. Yes, United lost 7-0 to Liverpool at the weekend and ordinarily a team such as Southampton, who are starting to become more difficult to play against, would jump at the chance to play them. However, the second half display against Real Betis will go a long way to restoring lost confidence in Ten Hag’s men.
While results have improved in the short term for the Saints, Leicester are an incredibly wasteful team and Chelsea couldn’t seem to buy a goal under Potter at that time. Therefore, with their derby humiliation behind them if not yet banished from their memories, we expect that United will emerge with a routine home victory. Some may feel that a 3-0 prediction is overcooking it, but United will be conscious of the need to put in a convincing victory on home soil against a side that has struggled mightily for much of the season.
Man Utd 3-0 Southampton
Man Utd vs Southampton Betting Tip – Man Utd -1 (win by 2 or more) Odds:
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