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The odds for Southampton vs Manchester United are provided by the Caesars Sportsbook
|Match Result and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
|Southampton and Yes||+600
|Tie and Yes||+380
|Manchester United and Yes||+230
The Red Devils’ defense has struggled throughout the early weeks of the season, and Southampton can find the back of the net here. Overall, though, we fancy Erik ten Hag’s side to get the job done.
Back Manchester United to win and both teams to score (+230)
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It instinctively feels hyperbolic to call matches August ‘must-win’, but that felt like an accurate description of Manchester United’s meeting with Liverpool on Monday. Having suffered humbling back-to-back defeats by Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in their opening two games of the campaign, the Red Devils desperately needed to get off the mark against their arch-rivals.
A defeat by Jurgen Klopp’s side would have sent them back to the bottom of the table and led to fresh questions about the direction of a club that is approaching the 10th anniversary of its last Premier League title.
One swallow does not make a summer, and no one should get carried away with a slender victory over a below-par Liverpool team dealing with an injury crisis. The major problems at Old Trafford – absent and inadequate owners, a questionable recruitment model, and an all-around lack of joined-up thinking – are unchanged. But the manner of the win as much as the result itself will give United fans hope that they can achieve something this season after all. On the evidence of Monday, a top-four challenge should not be beyond this team.
There was plenty to admire in United’s performance. The absence of leadership, aggression, intensity and desire was clear for all to see in the 4-0 thrashing by Brentford nine days prior. United looked like a completely different team on matchday three. They were energetic and focused, working hard without the ball and playing efficiently with it.
Erik ten Hag deserves credit for altering his approach. The short goal-kicks that proved so disastrous against Brentford were largely abandoned, Playing out from the back was less of a priority; the four defenders focused on destruction rather than construction. And Ten Hag’s two big personnel calls paid off, with Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo beginning the match on the bench.
Following a defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and a draw with Leeds United, Southampton also picked up their first win of 2022/23 last time out. The club’s supporters must have feared the worst when James Maddison put Leicester City 1-0 up at the King Power Stadium, but Southampton dug deep to turn the game on its head thanks to two goals from substitute Che Adams – a feat that will almost certainly earn him a start against United.
Ralph Hasenhuttl went into the campaign under pressure after a poor end to last term. Southampton won only one of their last 12 games, and lost five of their last six. The club responded by sacking several members of Hasenhuttl’s backroom staff. Had the Saints lost to Leicester last weekend, the Austrian might have been on the verge of an exit himself.
Southampton should probably stick with Hasenhuttl, though. He has proved himself to be an astute manager and his all-action style of play is a good fit with young players. Southampton signed plenty of those this summer: three of the four outfield arrivals are aged 20 or younger, with the 26-year-old Joe Aribo the most senior recruit.
The shift towards youth has led some to predict imminent relegation for Southampton this season, but they have enough quality within the ranks to stay up.
It will be fascinating to see how Ten Hag approaches this encounter. For starters, he has a huge selection decision to make up front: does he bring back Cristiano Ronaldo, or stick with the more fluid frontline he deployed against Liverpool? At the time of writing United’s stance on the Portugal international has not changed, but if he is left out of the starting line-up for the second game in a row it would surely spell the end of his second spell at Old Trafford.
At the other end of the field, Maguire looks set to miss out once more despite being the club captain. Raphael Varane is fully fit again and Lisandro Martinez impressed in the team’s first win of the season, so Maguire may find it hard to break back into the XI.
More broadly, United’s game plan will have to be different here. Playing so reactively against Liverpool worked, but the same approach will not be possible against weaker opponents like Southampton. The defense will have to push higher up the pitch, for example, and the Saints forwards could have opportunities to run in behind.
United are yet to keep a clean sheet this term, and Leicester are the only team in the division to have conceded fewer goals. Back Ten Hag’s side to make it two wins in two – but a clean sheet could be beyond them.
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|Teams||Southampton vs Manchester United|
|Location||St Mary’s, Southampton, England|
|Time||Saturday, 27 August 2022, 7.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||USA Network, fuboTV|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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