Manchester United face off against Southampton on Friday in what will be their first appearance at Old Trafford this season. United comfortably saw off the challenge posed by Bournemouth as the Red Devils emerged 3-1 winners in the opening game week. Southampton, on the other hand, are coming off a 1-1 draw against Watford in what was Claude Puel’s first competitive match in charge. The Saints were pegged back by an early Capoue goal but recovered and hit back with a goal on debut for summer signing Nathan Redmond to share the spoils at the end. They face an even daunting task at Old Trafford where the heavyweight hitters of Jose Mourinho will be waiting for them.
We look at 3 things to look forward to in the match.
WILL JOSE UNLEASH POGBA FROM THE START?
Paul Pogba’s name was arguably the most uttered word in England after the Queens’ for the last month or so. While the player enjoyed a long and refreshing vacation with his agent, the press and fans over here lost their heads in anticipation. While Pogba was suspended for the opening match, it might have been a blessing in disguise as the superstar player needs a superstar stage to start off with and what better place than Old Trafford to announce his name in the starting line-up over the PAS. It will also be interesting to see the player Jose retains in the midfield if he names the Frenchman in his team.
JOSE FONTE’S IMPACT
Fonte has been linked with a move to Manchester United for a few weeks now with Mourinho supposedly eager to add to his defensive ranks with doubts over Phil Jones and Smalling’s injury record. Fonte has been an absolutely immense and faithful figure at St Mary’s Stadium over the years and the club will loathe to lose him.
While he sat out of the opener, it is expected Puel will rely on his services to keep the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimović and Rooney at bay. He will be of particular interest to both sets of supporters and the kind of treatment he gets will give an insight to the player’s future.
DID WE JUMP THE GUN REGARDING MATA?
Mata was one of the first names expected to leave the club after Mourinho’s arrival as the duo’s past experience at Chelsea pointed to just that. Jose’s cryptic comments and non-committal replies on the subject has only added fuel to the gossips. But less than two weeks for the window to shut, there hasn’t been any step towards the exit door for the Spaniard. He has played regularly throughout pre-season and started the first match and ironically scored Manchester United’s first goal of the 2016-17 season. He has looked like a man on a mission and the fans would hope the pair repair their somewhat frosty working relationship.