Everything that you need to know ahead of Monday’s match:
(1) Manchester United will put their seventeen game unbeaten streak on the line on Monday when Southampton come to Old Trafford. With no new injuries to report, don’t expect Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to shake things up with his starting lineup — he has named an unchanged side in the last four Premier League matches and will likely keep it the same for Southampton, too.
(2) On Thursday, United breezed past Aston Villa 3-0 behind goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, and Paul Pogba. Besides extending their impressive unbeaten run, the Reds also equaled a Premier League record: most penalties awarded in one season.
(3) In the 79th minute of the Aston Villa win, Solskjaer subbed out Anthony Martial and the Frenchman seemed less than pleased with the decision. Ole liked the reaction, though:
Anthony’s getting fitter and fitter and he could have lasted the game of course and he’s starting every game. I’d be more worried if he wanted to come off. Everyone wants to be a part of the team, be on the pitch, and he’s put a shift in, so that’s fine. It’s great for me to have him available to start every game.
Sounds like Martial will be back leading the line against Southampton.
(4) And for good reason, as the 24-year-old no longer has to get on the scoresheet to make a big impact.
He didn't score but Martial had a good game overall. He was solid in attack but off the ball too both defensively (closing passing lanes, pressing and interceptions) and offensively (dummy runs, arriving into duels in good positions and good in-box runs).— UtdArena (@utdarena) July 9, 2020
It was valuable. pic.twitter.com/Pv3irCdjej
(5) Victor Lindelöf shrugged off his back injury and was back in the starting lineup for the Aston Villa game. That leaves just Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones on the injured list. With matches coming twice a week for the rest of the month, Solskjaer couldn’t ask for a better injury situation for the run-in.
(6) The same can’t be said for Ralph Hasenhuttl and Southampton. Center back Jannik Vestergaard (thigh injury) might make the bench, but Sofiane Boufal, Moussa Djenepo, and Yan Valery will all miss out. In better news, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg returned from injury to make a brief appearance in last week’s 1-1 draw at Everton and should be back in the starting eleven on Monday.
(7) It’s been a drastic turnaround for Southampton after they spent much of the first half of the season languishing around the relegation places. The Saints hit rock bottom with a 9-0 loss to Leicester City in late October, but they now look likely to finish in the top half of the Premier League. In fact, Southampton have only lost once in five matches since the restart. What a resurgence.
(8) There are plenty of goals in this Saints team. Danny Ings leads the club with 19, but lots of others — James Ward-Prowse (5), Nathan Redmond (4), and Stuart Armstrong (4) — chip in, too. Che Adams, who joined from Birmingham last summer, just scored his first goal of the season and looks far more settled since the restart.
Che Adams’ first Premier League goal was like the first sip of a pint in the pubs - worth the wait pic.twitter.com/QoUBxZNtWz— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) July 5, 2020
(9) Hasenhuttl on facing Manchester United:
They have, at the moment, an unbelievable run and this is exactly what we like the most because then we can see how good we are and we can go into this challenge and be competitive against such an opponent. This is exactly the challenge we need. If we want to get better, we need to challenge against such teams. We can learn a lot.
Against Manchester City, we learned a lot about how good they are in possession and what they can do — we need these games. I once said that if you want to be a lion, then you have to fight with lions. I think this is exactly what we are looking for.
(10) Champions League update: Manchester United still sit fifth, but have managed to significantly close the gap on both Chelsea and Leicester City. And, after Chelsea lost 3-0 to Sheffield United on Saturday, and Leicester lost 4-1 to Bournemouth on Sunday, the Reds could end up in third with a win against Southampton.
(11) A parting message from the boss:
Ole on continuing #mufc's form: "Don’t believe in the hype or criticism. Do your job. Go home, recover, come to work tomorrow morning, recover again for Southampton who probably run the most in the league & if there is one thing I don’t want to see, it’s my team being outworked.” pic.twitter.com/GYCqVdyDZx— ً (@utdrobbo) July 10, 2020