Aiming to stretch their winning run at Old Trafford to five matches in all competitions, Manchester United host Southampton in Sunday’s Premier League battle.
Erik ten Hag’s men thumped Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, while the Saints most recently edged Leicester City 1-0 to move off the foot of the table.
Seemingly trying to prove a point by putting out the same 11 players who capitulated in their 7-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, Ten Hag got exactly the reaction that he wanted against Betis, who felt the full force of the Red Devils’ affinity for goalscoring at the Theatre of Dreams.
Marcus Rashford’s 25th goal of the season preceded a well-taken Ayoze Perez equalizer before the break, but Man United came out for the second half a different beast, as Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst gave the Red Devils a three-goal cushion to take into next weekend’s second leg.
While Ten Hag’s crop have one foot firmly in the quarter-finals of Europe’s secondary competition, the EFL Cup champions can surely consign any faint hopes of a Premier League title charge to history, as last weekend’s humiliating Merseyside mauling left them 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal in third place, albeit with a game in hand.
Nevertheless, with crisis club Tottenham Hotspur still four points behind having also played a game more, Man United’s podium spot is in no real danger for the time being, and few foes have come away from Old Trafford with anything other than their tails tucked between their legs.
Indeed, victory over Betis stretched Man United’s unbeaten run at the Theatre of Dreams to a staggering 20 games, and they have scored at least two goals in each of their last 15 home matches, but visiting managerial novice Ruben Selles has previous when it comes to defeating Big Six sides on their own territory.
United midfield duo Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are continuing their lengthy recoveries from knee and ankle issues respectively, while Anthony Martial is back in full training from a hip problem but is unlikely to be considered for selection from the first whistle.
Ten Hag must also assess the fitness of Marcel Sabitzer, who was unavailable against Betis due to a knock, and it would not be a shock to see the hosting manager consider a couple of alterations given that his side have fewer than 72 hours to recuperate.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia could both threaten to disrupt the harmony in the full-back areas, and unless Harry Maguire comes in for a rare start, Fernandes will continue to don the captain’s armband after redeeming himself on Thursday night.
Premier League schedule
It’s a 2:00 PM kickoff in the UK, which translates to 10:00 AM on the east coast of the U.S.
Premier League channel
Those in the UK will need Sky Sports Premier League or the accompanying streaming services such as Sky Ultra to watch the game. Those Stateside can only watch the game on the Peacock streaming service. For Spanish language coverage head to the NBC Universo channel. Everyone else, head on over to LiveSoccerTV to find your viewing options.
Premier League streaming
The Sky Ultra, Sky Sports Main Event, or Sky Go Extra App is the place to be if you’re in the UK. In the States, you can watch the game on the NBC sports streaming app or go to the NBC sports website. If you’re in Canada, you can stream the game through DAZN.
Manchester United possible starting lineup: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst