Wasteful United Held On By The Saints To Remain Fifth

1. You just cannot win them all. United are still unbeaten since the restart of the Premier League, winning four and drawing the other two. But while the draw away at Spurs was acceptable, as we came from behind against Mourinho’s team, today was nothing but a kick in the teeth, for a number of reasons. First, it somewhat slows down the momentum that the team had built and which was seeing us drifting past teams with relative ease while playing some exciting attacking football. Second, it will make the United players think that they might not be good enough if they are held by Southampton at Old Trafford and that maybe luck is not favouring them given the injury time equaliser. Third, United lost a golden opportunity to jump into third place alone, ahead of Chelsea and Leicester, with three games to go. Ole and his management team will need to work their magic on these players in the next three days and motivate them to spring back with a win against Palace on Thursday.

2. The writing was on the wall. I’ve commented in my article on the match against Aston Villa that the team was under-par, mostly because a few key players were not at their usual best and seemed that they needed a rest. I mentioned Wan Bissaka and Fernandes in particular and I sincerely thought that Ole would have been brave enough to start without them and Matic in midfield against the Saints and played Williams on the right from the start and Pogba pushed in the whole with Fred and McTominay holding the midfield behind him. Indeed, Wan Bissaka and Fernandes played below their usual levels once more and Pogba suffered the pressing of the Southampton players big time. The forward five players of Southampton formed a cage around Pogba and attacked him at will when he had the ball. I can see what Ole was thinking prior to the match. United had the chance of moving to third with a win and had that happened, his main objective of the season would have been within touching distance. So he fielded the best team again and it backfired because now he finds himself with an even bigger decision to make for the next match. Does he refresh the team or does he persist? At this point, I would persist. Those players are suffering at the moment and I am backing them to play like a wounded animal on Thursday.

3. As good as Martial and Rashford were today, we continue to waste glorious chances. The good think is that we are creating them. But when you waste chances like Martial and Rashford missed today – particularly when you are not playing at your best – then, at some point it will come back to bite you. I am convinced that we still need another striker to come in and provide something different to the team. We need a finisher, someone who would pounce on a loose ball and maybe improve our aerial play in the opponent’s box. Take a look at this guy when you have 5 minutes – Alexander Sorloth, owned by Crystal Palace but on loan in Turkey. He is 6 feet 4 and has a great left foot. Would be a good buy.

man utd southampton

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