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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Manchester United v Southampton: United can land another high-scoring win

Manchester United v Southampton: United can land another high-scoring win

Andrew Atherley expects goals at Old Trafford on Monday night when Man Utd host Southampton...

Manchester United v Southampton
Monday 13 July, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports

Winning formula

Manchester United have roared into contention for a Champions League place with 13 points from a possible 15 since the restart, plus they have progressed to an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea next Sunday.
The good form was brewing before lockdown and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is developing a fast, youthful and dynamic team that could well throw down a title challenge next season.
Solskjaer has been keen to stick with a winning formula and looks set to go with the same starting XI for the fifth league match in a row.

Top-six form

Southampton have been safe in mid-table for some time, having come a long way from their abysmal form in the first half of the season that kept them in the bottom three until just before Christmas.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have been more like a top-six outfit in the second half of the season and they have resumed with three wins and a draw from five league games, losing only to Arsenal.
A key factor has been the form of striker Danny Ings, who is on 19 goals and still has an outside chance of the Golden Boot.

Fernandes makes the difference

United have been one of the form teams since the restart and, more pertinently, since the transformative signing of Bruno Fernandes in January.
Their record with the Portuguese playmaker in the starting line-up is W10 D4 L0 in all competitions (W7 D3 L0 in the Premier League) and they average 2.3 goals per game in the league matches played by Fernandes.
Solskjaer's side now look much more like the title-winning United of old in that they have the intricacy to unpick deep-lying defences around the penalty area plus devastating speed on the counter-attack.
Doubts are still raised about whether United's defence is strong enough, although they have conceded in only three of the 10 Premier League games since Fernandes' arrival and that run has included wins to nil against Manchester City and Chelsea.
Southampton are unlikely to fold easily and their own counter-attacking capability should not be underestimated. Ings has scored in nine of his last 14 away league games and can be relied on to score if a chance comes his way.
Hasenhuttl's side have lost only one of their five games since the restart (2-0 at home to Arsenal) and were resolute enough to hold out under siege from Manchester City for a 1-0 home win settled by Che Adams' goal from 40 yards.
That is their only win in their last five matches against top-half sides, however, and all the others have been defeats with at least two goals conceded each time.
An away win is not out of the question but United would need to have an off night at both ends of the pitch and it looks unlikely on current form.
The bet that appeals most is United to win with over 2.5 match goals at 5/6 with Betfair Sportsbook. That has occurred in five of United's seven wins since Fernandes' arrival and the two exceptions were against top-four sides.

Attack on fire

United have ranked quite low on goals for much of the season but their attack has caught fire since the restart and they have scored at least three in each of their last four league games.
Only Wolves, Everton and Tottenham have restricted them to less than two goals in 10 league games since the start of February.
Southampton rank high for away games with over 2.5 goals (65%) and that is not just a legacy of their defensive struggles in the first half of the season.
Six of their last nine away games have gone over 2.5 goals and the three exceptions all had two goals, with the Saints scoring in eight of those last nine trips.

Opta Stat

Southampton have won only one of their last 23 away Premier League games against 'big six' teams (D5 17), winning 2-0 at Chelsea in December 2019. The Saints are 10.50 to win.