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Manchester United 0-1 Southampton: Woeful Reds deservedly beaten

Manchester United's lack of injuries failed to help them as they put in a pretty miserable display in a deserved defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Aren't you glad to be almost injury-free? With Falcao, Angel di Maria, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Rafael all available, Manchester United put in a pretty awful performance and were well beaten by a fine Southampton team and performance.

Van Gaal's decision to persist with a back three perhaps suggested his ideal eleven, but there was still no room for Falcao in the team or, infuriatingly, Ander Herrera in the starters.

Southampton started as they meant to go on, beginning with a ferocious pressing game which United struggled to cope with, and ended up looking more like the away side. Yet clear chances failed to materialise for either side and the half ended up fizzling out into a largely dull affair.

United continued to battle away, but the introduction of Dusan Tadic soon changed things for Southampton as he struck the visitors ahead, pounding after Graziano Pelle had hit the post to fire home the rebound, taking advantage of some statuesque defending from United.

The rest of the game was a familiar and depressing tale  cross, cross, cross. Fellaini replacing Angel di Maria did little to aid that, with the diminutive Juan Mata getting all of the remaining chances, and skying two very decent opportunities over the bar. In the end, though, United's pressure was nowhere near sufficient and Southampton were able to hold on.

There are a few conclusions to draw here, but surely the first and most glaring is that the three-at-the-back system really isn't working. I asked on Twitter exactly who this system was getting the best out of. The two most popular answers were "David de Gea" and "Southampton." It says it all.