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Southampton 1-1 Manchester United: James strikes but Reds drop more points

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United turned in another underwhelming performance on Saturday.

Southampton FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester United have still not won a Premier League game away from Old Trafford since February. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side turned in a disappointing performance at Southampton in Saturday’s early kickoff, held to 1-1 draw. Daniel James opened the scoring early in the first half, only for the Saints to pull level early in the second. In spite of a late red card, the hosts held on for a point.

Southampton stroked the ball around well in the first few minutes, but had no answer when James burst into the box and rifled a rocket into the top corner after 10 minutes. The defending should’ve been better, but that right-back Cédric backed off and backed off until it was too late is surely a marker of the fear James is capable of striking into the hearts of opposition defenders.

James’ goal changed the pattern of the game, and henceforth it was United with all the sterile possession. Tidy touches from Juan Mata in the final third threatened to open gaps in the Southampton defence, but Angus Gunn remained largely untested for the remainder of the half. A rising effort from James on the edge of the area required a tip over, but it never looked likely of finding the net.

The hosts offered little on the counter, with the biggest scare coming shortly before the interval. A deep cross from Danny Ings found Sofiane Boufal lurking, though the the Moroccan attacker’s curling shot was well-blocked by the covering Scott McTominay.

United started the second half with a worrying complacency, and soon Southampton were back on top. It took them less than a quarter-of-an-hour to level the scoring, with Jannik Vestergaard leaping above Victor Lindelöf to nod an inviting Kevin Danso cross home. Solskjær switched things up in a bid to regain the momentum, with Andreas Pereira and Mata yanked for Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matić. Neither had offered a great deal in attack, though there was little confidence that their replacements would prove any more effective.

More immediately useful was Danso’s ejection for a second bookable offence, awarded for an ill-advised hack at McTominay out on the touchline, though United struggled to convert their numerical advantage into goalscoring chances. Southampton were clearly content with the point. Marcus Rashford was denied from a tight angle by Gunn, shortly before Mason Greenwood drew a good save with a curling effort.

The sortie came too little, too late, and the Reds were made to settle for another disappointing draw. Perhaps the only good news is that James is looking less like a flash in the pan, and more like the real deal.