Friday, February 3, 2023

Factors That Could Shape The Outcome When Manchester United Host Southampton Tonight

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester United face Southampton on Friday as Old Trafford waits to welcome the new era in United’s history. The Red Devils again look like a formidable team and the players and manager associated with the club presently have a distinct Manchester United aura about them. With no disrespect to the likes of Moyes and the rest, the Red Devils were a floundering lot in the last couple of seasons and Mourinho is here to change that.

United won their first match comprehensively swatting aside Bournemouth 3-1 as the likes of Ibrahimović and Rooney got off the mark. They face a Southampton team next and recent history suggests things will not be the most straightforward as many are expecting. They have failed to win any of the last three home Premier League games against Southampton. It will be interesting to watch whether Mourinho unleashes Paul Pogba from the start or not.

We look forward to three key battles likely to shape the outcome of the match.

FONTE VS IBRAHIMOVIC

The Southampton defender has been strongly linked with a move to the Red half of Manchester and the Saints would be desperate to keep the player. He is fresh from a Euro triumph and will be bristling with confidence. Both have impressive physicality and the manner in which Fonte handles Ibrahimović will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the match. And with Swede having a ridiculous record of 11 Ligue 1 goals against Claude Puel managed Nice, the manager will know very well what he is up against.

TADIC VS BAILLY

Eric Bailly made an impressive start to his Premier League career and blended into the United set-up seamlessly. He was calm, composed and tackled hard when needed. Though Southampton will not be his hardest test in the League, they will provide much more threat than the Bournemouth attackers. And Tadic will be the man likely to cause the United backline trouble as he will be pulling the strings behind the front two of Redmond and Long. His trickery and quick feet will pose a greater threat and will test Bailly comprehensively.

SOARES VS MARTIAL

The Portuguese right-back will be tasked with nullifying the threat of Anthony Martial who will be looking to get his rhythm back. Martial hardly got a look in the star-studded France line-up and will be eager to show the damage he could have inflicted had he been given a proper chance. And ironically he will be facing France’s opponents in the finals- Portugal’s right-back who got to lift the trophy. Martial is under pressure from Depay for his starting spot and will look to put in an impressive shift in the first home appearance of the season.

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