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Ahead Of Our Game Against Southampton…

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Wouldn’t it be nice if the last minute errors at White Hart Lane a few weeks ago could be erased with a victory against Southampton tonight? Of course, the gap could have grown to nine points had we not conceded that late equaliser but I will be more than happy with seven points separating us from everyone else.

After looking dead certs for relegation not so long ago, Southampton are on a great run for them, drawing five and winning one of their last six, against the likes of Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal. They’re now three points away from the relegation zone and will likely come to Old Trafford with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude.

If anything could warn us that this game won’t be a walk over it is the performance they put in against us at St Mary’s. We went behind twice and were losing with five minutes left to play, before Robin van Persie completed his hattrick .

There have been no new injuries since our last league game, which is quite an achievement for us these days, so it will be interesting to see which players the manager starts with. We play Fulham again at the weekend, this time away from home, before a nice eight day rest until Everton.

You would expect to see Tom Cleverley brought back in the side for tonight’s game and I wouldn’t mind seeing him alongside Anderson. The two of them are never fit long enough to really show what they can do as a midfield pairing. The boss doesn’t seem to like resting Carrick but this might be a good opportunity to give him a break ahead of the gruelling run in. Kagawa dropped back in to central midfield at the weekend and is getting a lot of games under his belt at the moment, so he’s always an option. Giggs has been playing well down the left wing but tonight could serve as another opportunity for Valencia and Nani to sort themselves out on the wings and give Giggs’ almost 40-year-old legs a rest.

The next issue is who will play up front, with Wayne Rooney now dropped from penalty duty, but scoring a great goal against Fulham in the Cup. It was like Rooney of old the way he turned and smashed it in, so you would imagine the manager will keep him in the starting line-up, but who with? Ferguson has spoken this week of the ‘dilemma’ that Chicharito poses him, with Robin van Persie often chosen ahead of him.

“Sometimes I leave him out to bring in Robin van Persie but, as I explain to him, we regard him so highly,” he said. “He’s a fantastic professional, unbelievable attitude to the game, never stops running or working and every training session is the same.”

We really are spoilt for choice up front, with Danny Welbeck also an option. As well as wanting to stay in cup competitions for the obvious reason, it’s important for us to last as long as we possibly can so there are as many games as possible to keep our squad players happy.

You have to fancy a United win tonight, particularly after the incentive City gave us with their surprising draw against QPR. But you have to expect that Southampton will give us a real game and just turning up won’t be enough to get us the three points tonight.

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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205 Comments

  1. WeAreUnited says:

    @FItB

    I doubt he’ll be playing Welbeck, who knows, but I think he’ll either play a stranger formation to stop Ronaldo, or Just put Valencia there to cover Rafael. I would again prefer the latter :D

    @slim

    tell me about it , I expected that this season Valencia and Nani would put a great show, and our both wingers have been out of FORM, though Valencia played some good games. I am glad that Young has raised his game, but now he’s injured.

    We should have a bit more of posession of course with thelikes of Kagawa, rooney, rvp, carrick, cleverley, and we do have, but sometimes it ddrys off and suddenly we’re defending.

    But oru posession is there, it’s just the rush hour moment like I have stated, so don’t expect anything more than this ,and lets be happy with the 3points and forget the performance, the season is half-way so it’s a bit late to complain about our gameplay.

    We have 13comebacks with only 1 tie of them and leading with 7points. Against big teams apart of tottenwho, we have done very good. So why the Madrid gaame should be different?

    peace.

  2. slim says:

    Goat

    Its a blurry line btw execution and formation- at least where United is concerned
    Execution of the way we set up,more to the point the way we stopped doing the positive things . Oe rather found it difficult to pull off. Need to find a method or ethos that for example in tonights fame, gwts Ando and Kagawa first to any second or at least be in more favourable starting position.
    That requires a certain degree of control.

  3. fergie is the boss says:

    slim – squads positions cycles comes full circle, I feel its the wingers turn now, it is a position that has gone stale, with zaha signed, and I still would not be shocked if ronaldo was signed up, its a change in the wind. Valencia’s injury’s have finally caught up with him, Nani’s hole he has dug is too big to get out of,, so the chess pieces are on the move again. I think fergie is relieved to hell, that jones and smallen are getting over their injury problems, he does not have to rebuild that position in one summer. And with the frontline in safe hands for the next 4 years, the squad is in good shape for a few more PL titles up to 2015

  4. Daniel88 says:

    @ fergie is the boss

    I never called the Madrid players great (several are great) but when you are being outplayed and outfought by Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork, Jason Puncheon and Rickie Lambert being against Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema might be a little bit different.

    Lets not condemn others record against La Liga teams as ours is less than stellar.

    All teams need to do is put pressure on us and the weapons you speak of dont want to be anywhere near the ball. We just spent 55 minutes at OT against relegation fodder playing the long ball.

  5. Robbo2Keano says:

    if we are going to play with 2 CMs, one winger that rather be a AM and a forward posing as a winger i would hope that we support those CM better and provide an outlet to relieve the pressure. I can count several times when carrick had the ball and there wasn’t anyone in a red shirt within a 3-5 yard radius. he is getting suffocated by SH, yet no one supported him, everyone seems to run away from him. that is OK when there isn’t pressure, which gives him the time to look up and pick a pass. whenever a team pressing us we look silly. it seems like the lads don’t know how to help each other and they simply hoof it forward or give it away cheaply trying to make a 10 – 15 yard pass when the time requires a simple ball and players making themselves available. after all didn’t we all play triangles at academy level

    since this sparked the ando VS cleverley debate i will say that cleverley makes himself more readily available than ando especially in the latter stages of the game.

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