Ahead of the first real test of his Manchester United career, Jose Mourinho has been handed an unlikely boast by the injury to Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand. At 27 years of age, Bertrand has rightly earned the reputation of being one of the best full-backs in the League.
Thus, with Bertrand not playing on Friday, Antonio Valencia could take a deep breath of relief. With no offence to the Colombian, the absence of Bertrand should make life easy for our full-back.
Although we were able to enjoy a comfortable win against Bournemouth, there were spells within the game – especially in the first half, which could have turned the match against us. Thus, if Mourinho wants to make a perfect home debut, the Red devils’ should exert more control over the game right from the first whistle.
Remember, Bertrand was injured during Southampton’s pre-season training. As a result, he wasn’t able to take part in their Premier League opener against Watford last weekend. Despite his absence, the Saints’ faithful were expecting to see him back in action this Friday.
Had that happened, Valencia would have been in for a scary night in front of the Old Trafford. While I’m not denying his class, Valencia isn’t one that fills me – and other Manchester United fans, with confidence. He might be brilliant going forward, but on the back and you never know what’s going to happen next.
Talking about the game vs Southampton and despite the reputation of Southampton – which has been pretty solid in the last few seasons, I reckon this match should be an easy one for us.
In addition to being reeling with the departures of manager Ronald Koeman and star player Sadio Mane, the Saints are still adapting to life under manager Claude Paul. And with this fixture coming early in the season, Manchester United should make it 2 wins in 2 on Friday.
In the absence of Bertrand, young full-back Matt Targett is expected to take his role in the Saints XI. While he is a one who has loads of potential, the likes of Anthony Martial could exploit the lack of weakness of the young left-back.
Moreover, if Mourinho decides to include the likes of Pogba and Mkhitaryan, the new coming duo could both of their attacks from the right-hand side. Thus, while our last 2 home meetings with the Saints ended in defeat, this game offers us a perfect chance of getting some revenge.