TEAM NEWSVirgil van Dijk could make his first start for Southampton since January, having returned to competitive action as a substitute last weekend.The Dutch defender will be assessed after playing for the Under-23 side on Monday night, but Matt Targett is a doubt because of an ankle injury. Manchester United pair Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial pushed their claims for a starting role by scoring in the League Cup win over Burton.
Marcos Rojo and Paul Pogba remain out.MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTESJonathan Pearce: “Every time I climb up to the St Mary’s gantry a Saints fan asks me: ‘Will we be okay this season?’. I’ve always reassured him. In all honesty I can’t do so right now.”Any side that has scored just one home goal from free play in 725 minutes, with eight home scoring blanks in nine matches, is bound to find trouble. They have to get Charlie Austin fully fit and firing.”Manchester United look far too strong for them. They average three goals a game. Romelu Lukaku alone has more than the whole Southampton side. Jose Mourinho looks like the cat that got the cream.”It’s 14 years since a Saints home win in this fixture. I can’t see that hoodoo being broken.”WHAT THE MANAGERS SAYSouthampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino: “When we play against the biggest team in the world, it allows us to draw some conclusions about how we are. “This is for me the nice challenge and we have to strive for this.”Playing against Manchester United is one of the most beautiful things. I will live this opportunity, I will live this game, and now we have to try to enjoy this game.”LAWRO’S PREDICTIONI am expecting United to dominate this game and create lots of chances. Eventually they will find a way through.Prediction: 0-2Lawro’s full predictions v Kingsman actor Mark Strong Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game. MATCH FACTSHead-to-headSouthampton’s 24 Premier League defeats in this fixture is their worst record against any opponent. Manchester United have won 16 of the last 22 meetings, losing just three.Saints could equal their longest Premier League winless streak at home against a single opponent. They have gone seven games without victory against Middlesbrough (1998-2004) and Liverpool (1994-2000).SouthamptonSouthampton have failed to score in eight of their last 10 Premier League matches at St Mary’s, and managed two home wins in 11. However, they have kept three clean sheets in five games this season.An 11th league defeat of the year against United would match their total number of losses in 2016 – with 15 matches still to play. Southampton were winless last season in all 12 matches against sides who finished in the top six (D4, L8).Former Valencia boss Mauricio Pellegrino failed in his four attempts to beat Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid (D2, L2). Manchester UnitedA fifth victory in six matches would give United a club record-equalling 16 points at this stage of a Premier League campaign. However, the Red Devils have triumphed only once in six away league fixtures (D3, L2).They have scored nine goals in the 80th minute or later – more than the total goal tally of 17 Premier League rivals.A league-high eight players have scored for United this season. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has already been involved in six Premier League goals this season – one more than throughout the previous campaign.Romelu Lukaku could become the first Premier League player to score at St Mary’s for three clubs, having already done so for Everton and West Brom. SAM’s verdictMost probable score: 1-1Probability of draw: 26%Probability of home win: 24%Probability of away win: 50%SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.
Source: BBC Hampshire