|Ole Gunnr Solskjaer has led Manchester United on an 11-game unbeaten Premier League run since taking over the manager’s position in mid-December. The Red Devils’ form has improved drastically under the former striker.
They are just one point off the top four heading into the weekend, and if Manchester United continue playing well while Tottenham do not, they could reach as high as a third-place finish.
Southampton have everything to gain with a solid performance at Old Trafford. Ralph Hasenhuttl has won five of 13 matches since joining Southampton in December.Southampton have secured 18 of 39 points under the Austrian manager’s leadership. If he can steer Southampton away from relegation and gain survival, there are high expectations that Hasenhuttl could greatly improve the Saints next term.
But first, Southampton must survival their current relegation fight. They are out of the relegation zone currently thanks to their 2-0 win over rivals Fulham in midweek. Now, two points safe, Southampton need to continue their upward trajectory.
The Saints are undefeated in six of their last eight league matches. They have scored nine times and conceded seven goals during that run. Scoring has been a problem for Southampton all season with just 30 goals being scored. It is the sixth worst goals scored record in the Premier League. Meanwhile, they have allowed the sixth most goals with 46 conceded.
Under Solskjaer, Manchester United are attacking first and defending second. It has led to some big scorelines. The Red Devils are +19 in goal difference having tallied 55 strikes; the league’s fourth best total.
Manchester United drew 2-2 with Southampton in their previous meeting. That fixture came just weeks before former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked. Southampton last won at Old Trafford in the league in 2016. Since then, Manchester United have won three and drawn three games against Southampton in six fixtures in all competitions.
In just two of those last six meetings, there were over 2.5 goals. With the poor goal scoring record Southampton currently have, it is unlikely that this fixture will see more than 2.5 goals scored.
Solkjaer has had plenty of injuries to worry about in the last week. Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Marcus Rashford were in training on Thursday, however. Lingard may not be risked as he came on as a substitute last Sunday against Liverpool only to last 19 minutes before injury forced him off.
Manchester United were able to get a win over Crystal Palace even without their preferred players. Saturday will see the Red Devils post another victory, but this time, Solskjaer will have some of his top performers back in the side. Manchester United will win at home with fewer than 2.5 goals scored.