Manchester United travel to the south coast on Monday night knowing that a win over Southampton can propel them to third in the Premier League standings. The Red Devils come to this clash are on the back of four consecutive victories and Louis Van Gaal would know that this might be the best time to play Southampton. After a superb start to the season, Ronald Koeman’s side have lost their last two games against Manchester City and Arsenal but the Saints would surely be up for the challenge in front of their vociferous home fans at St Mary’s.
Here are three key Pre Match Tactical points that could well shape up the result of the clash:
Saints will expose United’s make shift full backs: Hull and Stoke City weren’t able to expose United’s lack of defensive abilities on the wings but expect Koeman to take full advantage of United’s full backs in Ashley Young and Anton Valencia. Neither of the two wingers are great defenders and with Dusan Tadic and striker Graziano Pelle constantly drifting wide, United’s defense will be stretched time and again. Nathaniel Clyne too makes superb runs from his right back role and there is no doubt that Young will have a tough 90 minutes ahead of him.
Wayne Rooney’s return will be the key for United: Rooney is surely expected to start after being declared fit for United’s trip to the south coast. The club captain missed the game against Hull City after picking up a knee injury. It will be interesting to see where he starts from whether i the number ten role or as a striker up front. Moreover Van Gaal will also have to fit in Ander Herrera and Juan Mata so he must decide what his formation will be.
United’s strike-force and Van Gaal’s big call to make: Louis Van Gaal will have a huge decision to make as he names his starting eleven. With Rooney back in the starting eleven, the Dutch manager would be tempted to throw the fit again Radamel Falcao right from the start. But will he hand a starting spot for Robin Van Persie who isn’t in his best physical shape and has struggles with his form this season. Or should he play youngster James Wilson, the 19 year old who dazzled against Stoke City and could have scored after their brilliant mazy run from midfield.