In the first Friday night kick off of the season, Manchester United host Southampton. The Saints have found some success against their hosts in recent seasons but the new look United will be looking to restore the ominous fortress status to the Theatre of Dreams in their first home game of the season & second game in league play.
With another week of training under their belts, the fans are brooding with excitement to see the team build on last weekend’s opening day victory. Hopefully a clean sheet is in the cards for today’s game. The battle must be won in midfield as most on the pitch battles tend to be and I’m still waiting to see who emerges as the leader in United’s midfield. It’s an area that definitely demands a leadership role, something that we witnessed with Schweinsteiger when he was fit, but unfortunately does not seem to be included in the new gaffer’s plans. Paul Pogba is expected to see some playing time today & should be warmly welcomed back by the fans. I don’t expect any changes to the starting eleven that took all the points vs Bournemouth but it’s not outside the realm of possibility to see some changes. Especially if that means adding more speed to United’s attack, with options such as Lingard, Mkhtaryan & Rashford.
Killer instinct in front of goal is the order of the day. That means a quicker game in terms of play & decision making from an overall team point of view but I’m also speaking directly about Wayne Rooney & Marouane Fellaini. Take a page out of Daley Blind’s book if necessary. Just be smarter with the ball and play with purpose. This will hopefully put United on the path to a more fluent offensive style with loads of combination & link up play among the front six. Add to that the likes of Luke Shaw & Antonio Valencia flying up the flanks & we should be in for an entertaining night at Old Trafford. Credit to Southampton if they find an effective strategy to thwart United but I sincerely, hope not.
Starting XI: De Gea, Valencia, Bailley, Blind, Shaw, Herrera, Mata, Rooney, Martial, Fellaini, Zlatan.