Southampton welcome Manchester United to St Mary’s in the first of a Super Sunday triple header in the Premier League.
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Saints can go third with victory for at least a few hours whilst Man Utd can go seventh with a win until late Sunday evening.
Will Smallbone is set to be available for Southampton after recovering from a quad injury which had sidelined the midfielder in recent weeks.
Mohamed Salisu (fitness) could also feature but Nathan Redmond (hamstring) and Danny Ings (knee) remain absent.
Man Utd could have a host of players back from injury, including Jesse Lingard who has been absent for the last couple of months with a hip injury then has had to self-isolate after making contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus.
Eric Bailly (muscle), Victor Lindelöf (back), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (ankle), Paul Pogba (ankle), Scott McTominay (unspecified) and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) all face late fitness tests pre-match to determine whether any are fit enough to start the match.
Luke Shaw (hamstring) and Phil Jones (knee) won’t feature but are expected to return in time for Christmas.
- Southampton are unbeaten in four of their last five meetings against Manchester United (D4, L1).
- Man Utd are unbeaten in their last nine league trips to Southampton (W5, D4).
- Southampton failed to convert their only penalty kick in 42 previous Premier League meetings against Man Utd
- Three of Bruno Fernandes’ six league goals for Man Utd this season have come from the penalty spot.
- Southampton have scored 17 goals in their opening nine league matches this season compared to nine goals across same period last season.
Southampton will be relieved to have come away from Wolves with a positive point but man marking was barely evident in that game which worries me because man marking will be crucial against Man Utd at all times, especially with Bruno Fernandes in midfield providing not just goals but assists too so quietening him will be key for the Saints.
Man Utd meanwhile will be happy to be on the road because for some reason, they seem to relish away league games this season with ten goals in three away trips, although they have to show more of the quality seen in midweek against Istanbul Basaksehir because if the Utd team that scraped a win over West Brom last weekend turns up then Southampton will fancy their chances.
Either way, I feel that Southampton’s man marking and finding a way to silence Fernandes will be key if the home side want a win otherwise I can see Man Utd continuing their strong away form.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Manchester United
Result: Southampton 2-3 Manchester United