Match Review: Man United 0-1 Southampton

Manchester United were finally back to a mostly healthy squad today with Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, and Daley Blind all back in the first team today with the strong Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney duo to work with as well. The only player’s left on the Injured list are Ashley Young, who has (Contrary to my pre-season predictions) proved his worth at Man United, as well as the young Tom Thorpe. Luke Shaw was joined in the back by Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, as well as Chris Smalling. Juan Mata and Michael Carrick completed the starting XI with one missing name that had the twitter-sphere in a frenzy. Radamel Falcao was out of the lineup as well as off the bench today, while Louis Van Gaal confirmed he was not injured but is just being rested for upcoming matches.

The first half was fairly uneventful, strong challenge’s and some smart defence from both clubs resulted in a lot of attacking play’s being cut short from tackle’s and interceptions. There were a few chances for United to go ahead but none that took shape and turned into a goal. It’s safe to assume that LVG wasn’t too pleased with the play during the first half, and probably had a good talk with the player’s in the dressing room. United would have wanted to improve their passing plays with some stronger and smarter crosses, as well as give a reality check to the attacker’s who weren’t taking smart chances and weren’t even on target with a majority of their shots. It does have to be taken into account that Southampton were playing smart defensively, with some strong marking on the threatening United attackers, leaving the attacker’s with little opportunity to get a solid shot on goal.

The first goal arrived in the 69th minute and it wasn’t for United. Graziano Pellè hit the right post with his shot from the center and the ball was deflected back into play for Dusan Tadic to do a simple shot into the bottom left side of the goal. David De Gea did the best he could to make the save but was unable to get his arm out in time but LVG will be mostly frustrated at his defenders for allowing the deflection to get into the possession of an attacker. This has been a struggle that LVG has been trying to solve all season long with the amount of injuries as well as lack of experience with Chris Smalling being United’s oldest defender at 25 years old and isn’t a leader amongst the team. This lack of a veteran status player leaves a big gap in that defence with almost no leadership on the pitch for the young defenders.

United were unable to equalize and the game finished at 1-0 with Southampton leaving Old Trafford with three points and United fans going home frustrated with the defence. It would have been a helpful win as it would have shrunk City’s lead over us on the PL table to 7 and Chelsea’s down to 9 points. Instead we are 10 points out from second and 12 points away from first. United have a good chance to rebuild their squad and improve their defence with a favourable list of fixtures that are upcoming such as QPR next week, then Cambridge in the FA cup, then PL matches against Leicester, West Ham, Burnley, and Swansea City.