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Red Devils scrape past Saints

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

After claiming their first win of the season against Liverpool on Monday, Manchester United followed up with another crucial win away at Southampton.

United were desperate to pick up another three points at the St. Mary's Stadium, something they had done just once since December 2018 (P4 W1 D3 L0).

Erik ten Hag named an unchanged team from the impressive performance against United’s bitter rivals at the start of the week, with new signing Casemiro only named on the bench alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire.

The afternoon sunshine on the south coast produced a contest low on quality from both sides involved in the lunchtime kick-off. This was a second outing in United's hideous lime green kit, following the debacle at Brentford two weeks back. Once again United's players blended in with the pitch, which in Saturday's case was sub-standard for a Premier League ground.

United were sloppy and lacked sharpness throughout, but particularly in the early stages. On 19 minutes they spurred four goal-scoring opportunities in the same passage of play which, somehow, saw the ball not hit the back of the net. In the span of five seconds Bruno Fernandes (twice), Anthony Elanga and Christian Erisken all saw their efforts diverted away within six yards of the goal-line.

Eriksen then whizzed a sumptuous ball across the face of goal but Fernandes arrived too late and didn't manage a connection. At the other end, Saints defender Armel Bella-Kotchap skied his shot inside the six-yard area after a James Ward-Prowse corner kick.

The sides couldn't be separated at the break but neither Ten Hag nor Ralph Hasenhüttl made any changes for the second period.

United found the breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half following some profound build-up involving Elanga and Jadon Sancho down the right channels. Sancho found Diogo Dalot in space and the Portuguese perfectly picked out countryman Fernandes, who delicately placed a first-time volley into Gavin Bazunu's bottom right corner.

Ronaldo replaced Sancho for the final quarter of the 90, but the 37-year-old only amassed 15 touches and lost possession nine times in his 22-minute cameo. Ten Hag introduced Casemiro for his United debut and despite featuring for just 10 minutes, the Brazilian injected much-needed composure into United's game.

Casemiro made one tackle, one block and a clearance, as his experience and expertise helped United to see out the result. The Red Devils held on for the victory, ending a run of seven away defeats on the bounce.

F/T Southampton 0 - 1 Man Utd

This was United's first away win since February (against Leeds Utd) and their first clean sheet in 13 Premier League away games, stretching back to December 2021. In addition, this is just the third time in 2022 that United have won back-to-back games. Stand-in skipper Fernandes bagged United’s first goal after 380 minutes without scoring on their travels.

The result at St. Mary's has taken United from 14th up to 7th on the Premier League table, but they could drop to 10th depending on Sunday's results. Next up for United is a trip to the East Midlands for a clash with strugglers Leicester City, who have taken a single point from their opening four matches.

Ten Hag will be looking to capitalise on the Foxes' lack of form and confidence, and the manager could be inclined to make tweaks to his starting XI given United have three games in the space of nine days including Saturday's victory over Southampton.

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