Feb 23

EFL Cup Final: Manchester United vs Southampton Preview & Predicted Lineups

Tag: Manchester United @ 8:05 am

Manchester United vs Southampton Preview and Predicted lineups ahead of Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

Manchester United vs Southampton
EFL Cup 2016/17
Date: Sunday, 26th February
Time: 16:30 BST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London

Jose Mourinho has always given an extra importance to the League Cup as he sees the competition as a stepping stone for bigger success. He has won this competition (overall three times) in both his spells at Chelsea which shows that the Portuguese indeed takes the tournament seriously.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that he is looking to emulate the same feat in his first season at Manchester United as well. A lot of surgery is still required to take the club to its old glory, but winning a trophy certainly isn’t a bad way to start the rebuilding process.

Although anything can happen in the course of 90 minutes, United are still favourites for this tie. If you are in the mood to back the Red Devils for this one, don’t forget to check sign up bonuses for exciting offers.

After a stuttering start to the season, Mourinho’s team has turned the tide around, playing not only an attractive brand of football but also picking up important results. They are on a six-game unbeaten run (at the time of writing) and could extend it to seven games if they manage to win or draw against Saint-Etienne.

United’s EFL Cup journey has been equally impressive, as they defeated the likes of Manchester City and West Ham on their road to the final. The only blemish in an otherwise perfect campaign has been their second leg 2-1 defeat to Hull City.

Manchester United Team News: Wayne Rooney is yet to recover from the muscle injury he picked up during United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City at the start of this month. He is doubtful for this tie.

Mourinho said that Henrikh Mkhitaryan (hamstring) and Michael Carrick (calf) have “no chance” of being fit for the EFL final clash after the duo limped out at Saint-Etienne. Likewise, Phil Jones could miss out through injury as well.

Manchester United Predicted XI: De Gea, Bailly, Smalling, Blind, Valencia, Pogba, Mata, Herrera, Rashford, Ibrahimovic, Martial.

Southampton, 11th in the Premier League, will be looking to stand toe-to-toe against United and give them a fight to remember. It is a huge occasion for them, and from past experience we know that mid-table clubs can often raise their game to a different level when they face a top level side.

The Saints have done all the hard work to reach this stage, and Claude Puel will be looking to create history with his team. They have beaten the likes of Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal, and Liverpool on their way to the final, and Peul can take great pride in his achievement so far.

The only chink in the armour is that they have been very inconsistent this season. They have lost three matches in a row, following their heroic victory against Liverpool. However, it is a brand new game, and they are heading into this tie with extra motivation and full confidence after beating Sunderland 4-0 in their last game.

Southampton Team News: Moroccan international, Sofiane Boufal, is still out with an ankle injury, and he is doubtful for this tie. Virgil van Djik and Charlie Austin are long term absentees.

Southampton Predicted XI: Forster, Soares, Yoshida, Bertrand, Stephens, Davis, Tadic, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Gabbiadini.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-2 Southampton 

Saikat Mandal on Twitter
Saikat Mandal

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