Southampton ended 2017 on a high after managing to leave Old Trafford with a point.
Mauricio Pellegrino made changes to the side that was humiliated by Spurs at Wembley on Boxing Day. Fraser Forster was dropped after 76 straight starts and Alex McCarthy made his Premier League debut for Saints. Matt Targett was dropped and Sam McQueen was brought in. The other changes were Nathan Redmond and Mario Lemina out for James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic.
Prior to this fixture, Manchester United salvaged a draw against Burnley and surely this would’ve given Southampton confidence knowing that their counterparts had weaknesses in their side.
Manchester United had the first opportunity after five minutes through Romelu Lukaku after he headed the ball over the crossbar from Juan Mata’s cross. But, it was Southampton who had the best chance two minutes later after Sofiane Boufal’s pull back was met by Ward-Prowse, who forced David De Gea into a superb save.
Ten minutes later, Ward Prowse made De Gea work again from a free-kick, which was heading in at the near post, but ultimately the Spaniard made a comfortable, routine save.
Shortly after, Wesley Hoedt found himself free in the box from Ward-Prowse’s corner but his header went wide, although he should’ve found the target.
McCarthy made a good, reflex save from Mata’s low shot after the ball bobbled around in the box to eventually make it’s way to the Spaniard, but the English ‘keeper made the save.
Five minutes into the second half, Shane Long forced De Gea into another quick save after the Irishman beat a slow Victor Lindelof to the ball and struck the ball low, but ultimately straight at De Gea and the ball went over the crossbar.
Ashley Young has been charged by the FA for violent conduct after elbowing Tadic in the stomach intentionally from a corner.
The rest of the game was a story of Manchester United possession and long ball forwards, but Southampton’s defence held firm and kept the clean sheet, with Wesley Hoedt picking up the man of the match award. Also, Pierre Hojbjerg topped the majority of the midfield stats including passing accuracy, number of passes and interceptions.
This was a much needed point as Southampton linger above other relegation candidates worryingly but thankfully, reinforcements and a breath of fresh air seem to be coming in, in January with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Alfie Mawson being linked with a move to the South Coast after the £75m sale of Virgil van Dijk.
Saints next host Crystal Palace on Tuesday. The London side just ended Manchester City’s 18-game win streak and they even missed a stoppage time penalty.