Southampton welcome Manchester United to St. Mary's on Saturday evening for what is a hugely important Premier League clash for both sides.
The hosts have been in dire form of late and have slipped into the relegation zone following a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Fulham last weekend. The heat is being turned up on Mark Hughes as his side were also eliminated from the EFL Cup in midweek - making Saturday's fixture a potentially job saving fixture.
There is a similarly negative atmosphere currently surrounding Jose Mourinho's Manchester United having limped to a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace last weekend, followed up by a lacklustre display against Young Boys in the Champions League. There is a growing discontent at Old Trafford due to current results, but perhaps more so at the lack of attacking football that's been historically synonymous with the club.
Check out 90min's preview for Saturday's clash below
How to Watch
|When is Kick-Off?||Saturday 1 November|
|What Time is Kick-Off?||17:30 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||St. Mary's Stadium|
|TV Channel?||BT Sport 1|
Mourinho does not have any fresh injury concerns following their Champions League fixture in midweek. The in-form Luke Shaw is free to return after serving a one-match suspension against Crystal Palace, whilst Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku will also be pushing for recalls after they were benched against Young Boys.
However, the Red Devils will be without Swedish centre back Victor Lindelof who picked up a muscular injury last weekend with Mourinho has since confirmed he will be 'out for a while'. Fellow defenders Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian have also been absent from training and are unlikely to feature at St. Mary's.
Mark Hughes will be sweating over the fitness of star man Danny Ings who has been missing for the Saints' previous two fixtures, but is expected to be least named in the matchday squad.
The Liverpool loanee has four Premier League goals this campaign and would be a huge miss for Southampton if unable to take part. Captain Ryan Bertrand is also free to play after serving his one game ban last weekend against Fulham, and is expected to slot straight back into defence.
Left back Matt Targett is a doubt for the hosts after being substituted against Leicester on Tuesday following a head injury, but with Bertrand available again, Hughes will not be too concerned. Otherwise it is a clean bill of health and Southampton and they will need everyone to pull together to dispel thoughts of relegation.
|Southampton||McCarthy; Cedric, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Lemina, Redmond, Armstrong; Austin, Ings.|
|Man Utd||De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Matic, Pogba, Fellaini; Martial, Lukaku, Rashford.|
Southampton and Manchester United have a long history of fixtures dating way back to 1897, since then they have met 123 times and, unsurprisingly, the Manchester club have a much better record having won 64 of those matches.
The Saints have claimed 28 victories and will be hoping to make that 29 as they appear to have 'caught' the Red Devils at a good time, amid their current form. If recent history is anything to go by, Saturday's clash may not set the world alight as there has only been one goal scored in the previous three games - coming by the way of Romelu Lukaku.
Southampton have been in woeful form of late and Mark Hughes is under real pressure to turn things around. The Saints last victory in the league came on September 1 against Crystal Palace, and things won't be getting easier any time soon. Games against Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham form three of their next four fixtures - meaning getting a result on Saturday could be imperative for confidence, as well as Hughes' future in the job.
The Saints currently sit in 18th place in the table with only goal difference separating them from the foot of the table.
Man Utd's performances in recent weeks have been uninspiring to say the least. The growing negativity surrounding the club is worrying, even when they win - as they did against Young Boys on Tuesday - the mood surrounding the club is very flat due to the lack of adventure and creativity in Utd's attacking play.
Mourinho will be concerned that his side have played two games at home in the space of a week, against Crystal Palace and Young Boys respectively, yet David de Gea is the man taking the plaudits after saving Utd time and time again. The Red Devils currently sit seventh in the Premier League - 14 points behind neighbours Manchester City - and are desperate for a convincing win to build some momentum heading into the manic festive period.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five matches:
|Leicester 0-0 Southampton (27/11)||Man Utd 1-0 Young Boys (27/11)|
|Fulham 3-2 Southampton (24/11)||Man Utd 0-0 Crystal Palace (24/11)|
|Southampton 1-1 Watford (10/11)||Man City 3-1 Man Utd (11/11)|
|Man City 6-1 Southampton (04/11)||Juventus 1-2 Man Utd (07/11)|
|Southampton 0-0 Newcastle (27/10)||Bournemouth 1-2 Man Utd (03/11)|
In years gone by, this game would have been a banker away win. However, with both teams struggling for form and goals, expect a tight affair that could be settled by a single goal. With Utd grabbing a late winner on Tuesday - qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League in the process - they have some momentum and it should be enough to get the better of the Saints.
Southampton will need to pick themselves up after two defeats in a week at the hands of Fulham and Leicester.
Prediction: Southampton 0-1 Man Utd