|These two teams may well have a considerable distance between them in the Premier League table going into this game, at the same time though it is fair to say that this is a must win fixture for the managers of both Southampton and Manchester United.
For Mark Hughes who leads the Saints into battle this Saturday, it is looking like that he is on borrowed time when it comes to staying in the St Mary’s hotseat. A situation that has only worsened after losing to Fulham last weekend, a tie that many were already deeming a ‘six pointer’ in terms of trying to stave off the threat of relegation.
While could the same be said about Jose Mourinho, even though Manchester United find themselves in the relative safety of seventh in the table going into this fixture. A position that many would be happy to settle for, unfortunately that is not the case for the Red Devils.
For a club of United’s stature lying in seventh is simply not good enough and with every negative result that current manager Jose Mourinho resides over, then the target on his back only seems to get bigger.
Last weekend they were held to another frustrating draw in front of their own fans.This time it was Crystal Palace who managed to turn the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ into something of a nightmare as they held their hosts to a 0-0 draw.
Strangely enough that point actually moved United up the table, but at the same time these draws are almost of the same value as defeats when you consider what their crosstown rivals are doing in the blue half of Manchester.
United now find themselves a staggering 14 points behind the league leaders with only one third of the season in the history books and although there is still a lot of football still to be played there is little to suggest that their performances will improve anytime soon.
To be fair to their opponents Southampton, they did look better even though they lost away to Fulham last Saturday and the fact that they only lost by a solitary goal, may well have just bought their manager Mark Hughes a little more time in charge.
At least as far as this weekend anyway, had they been heavily beaten in West London then that may well have been the impetus for the Southampton owners to roll the dice and look for a new man to take the helm.
As it stands that is all nothing more than conjecture with Hughes’ men starting the weekend in the bottom three. However, with two points separating the bottom six sides at present, then a win will change their outlook completely.
They will take inspiration form the likes of Huddersfield and Newcastle who have finally got their seasons underway after a decent run of form and they know that sooner rather than later they will have to get their own campaign underway.
Neither manager can afford to lose this one as should they do so, it could very well be their last game in charge. The form guide suggests there won’t be many goals, but United might just nick this one and heap more misery on Southampton.