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Midweek Premier League clash sees United host in-form Southampton

RvP Soton away Sep 2012 Hat-TrickMake no mistake, tomorrow night should not be taken for granted for a minute, although many will. Think Wigan away last season, think Everton at home. These are games we (and I’m sure the team) will find themselves constantly reminding each other of as the season draws to what will hopefully be a title winning close.

Tonight United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford knowing a win could extend their advantage back to seven points after local and title rivals City slipped to a meagre 0-0 draw at Loftus Road last night.

Despite United’s history of excellent looking results against Southampton (unbeaten in their last 17 league matches at OT) since 1988, Southampton have been known to spring the odd surprise on United and rarely give them an easy game. In fact, Southampton have failed to score at OT just five times in those 17 matches Betegy accordingly make United 52% favourites to take all three points with a both teams scoring.

Take the reverse fixture of this way back in the first week of September 2012 when it took an extraordinary hat-trick from the then ‘new man’, Robin van Persie to secure a win for United who conceded the first goal of the game (and fell behind twice) at St Mary’s for the third game on the spin (all three opening fixtures), it was an early season trend that needed to be bucked but it took until Christmas, and the not-so-coincidental return of Nemanja Vidic, to rectify it. United have taken the lead in their six most recent league and cup games.

Southampton arrive at United in decent form having not been beaten in their last six fixtures. Admittedly five of those results were draws but when you consider Stoke away, Arsenal at home, Chelsea away (2 down at HT) and also a visit from Everton; that’s no mean feat for sure.

Despite the positive results and current encouraging league position [15th] AND the teams fightback from two goals down two days earlier at Stamford Bridge, Southampton bizarrely opted to sack Nigel Adkins in favour of little known Argentinian, Mauricio Pochettino a little over a week ago.

After viewing his first match in charge (at home to Everton) it’s difficult to see Pochettino changing too much or attempting to shut up shop. With players like Ramirez, Schneiderlin and Lambert he has players at his disposal who can hurt United as they proved at St Mary’s.

Anderson v Fulham 2013 JanUnited have no fresh injury worries after their win against Fulham in the cup on Saturday. The performance from Anderson must surely give him a good chance of starting his first Premier League game for a while. Rooney and Hernandez looked sharp in RvP’s absence so the gaffer could keep his strikeforce unchanged for this with RvP waiting in the wings if necessary.

United v Soton Jan 2013 Betegy

As per usual, predicting United’s line-up is tricky, but with City dropping points last night, an almost fit and healthy squad beginning to hit top gear, I have to imagine Sir Alex will play a strong team but will spring one or two surprises with one eye on an even trickier away trip to Fulham on Saturday.

United v Soton Jan 2013 FormationFor this fixture Betegy are going with a 3-1 home win but their stats will heavily take into account our early to mid-season form and result whilst almost ignoring our return to form and purpose as a defensive unit. It’s for that reason I’m predicting a more satisfactory 2-0 victory with a confident, composed and well deserved cleansheet for our merits.

What’s your prediction? What team do you think Sir Alex will go for, what formation?

Will Southampton pose a goal threat or are they likely to park the bus and hope for the best?

Have you registered for free with Betegy yet? Their results are impressive; predicting not only outcomes but correct scores also. You’ll have access to all the major European leagues by registering for solid betting advice at Betegy with no hassle and no mithering!



  1. The_Philosopher

    30 January 2013 at 13:10

    I like your line up.

    I would substitute Giggs for Nani in the 60th minute.

    And Yes Wigan definately surprised us last season

    And to draw a game when we’re 4-2 up against Everton with very little time on the clock was suicidal.

    But this season I’m a lot more optimistic. With two of the world’s most lethal strikers (van Persie and Chicharito) in our squad I find it difficult to believe that Southampton will be able to resist our offensive game.

    City slipped last night and dropped 2 points. QPR is a different animal under Redknapp. They know how to shut up shop and just park the bus. They’ll be a tough nut to crack when we play them later (in February I think it is)
    Now they must just start winning games. I really hope they stay up. Tony Fernandes has spent so much on that team.

    I would like to reiterate: Adel Taarabt looks like a quality quality player. He is so good. I watched him play against Chelsea and against Man City (the top players in the league) and he was outplaying all those so-called superstars. Only thing is he needed some support. This kid isn’t smalltime. He is a class act and I would by him in a second. And he is only 23 years old.

    How about a straight swap with Ashley Young 😈 !!!

    A win tonight puts us back into a 7 point lead. City is losing Baloteli and they’re finding life hard without Yaya Toure again. This is their first title defence in 40 odd years so they are definately still learning all about it.

    Yes Southampton gave us a tough game in September but as you said since the return of Nemanja Vidic our defense is a lot more solid. I doubt they can put three past us again tonight.

    They have also been destablised by the sacking of Nigel Adkins so their still learning their new coach. And so is Sir Alex as he prepares for the tactical battle.

    Southampton are no push overs but our squad is peaking at the right time by the looks of things. Our defense is shaping up and Anderson is back. Rooney, Kagawa and Nani are making appearances. Ryan Gigs is one of the better left wings in the squad. There’s a positive buzz in the camp. We’re in good nick. We should be a handful for Southampton.

    I have no idea what the score will be so I won’t predict. But I would love to see Chicha and van Persie both bagging a goal or two. My dream result would be 4-0 to United.

  2. Racs

    30 January 2013 at 21:55

    I maintain my strong view that we have NO CLUE on how to play against teams who adopt a high pressing game along with a possession based approach…..Even Southampton are better than us technically which says alot! Our problem now seems to be our 2nd half performances which have become dreadful! And i was hoping for a boost to our goal advantage tonight!!!!

    Fair play to Southampton for completely dominating the 2nd half, they showed some real character and grit but we also defended well which is positive going into the league run in!

    End of the day we got the 3 points which was crucial!


    • Warzycha

      31 January 2013 at 00:09


      “Even Southampton are better than us technically which says alot!”

      WTF man? Seriously… W T F ?

      • Racs

        31 January 2013 at 09:10


        Whats wrong with that comment? I’m not saying Southampton are a better team than us, I’m just stating the mere fact that they are technically better than us in general! Any team that favours possesions football along with high pressing will be, in my view, much better prepared technically. Look at our performances against Barca and Bilbao, we were in no mans land against them.

        I can name you 5 more premier league teams who are better than us technically and its just the way it is. Our style of play has always been direct, fast paced counter attacking football something which SAF has been used to and I doubt very much he will move away from that. We have never been a possession based team therefore our technically ability is not required to be top notch although I beg to differ especially how the game is played nowadays. We were technically sound around the time when we had Queiroz as assistanct during our spell of dominance dommestically and in europe from 2007 – 2009.

        • The_Philosopher

          31 January 2013 at 10:10

          @Racs: Yeah its not our style.

          Thats why kagawa seems lost sometimes in games because he is make tikki takka type runs while everyone else is making direct runs.

    • The_Philosopher

      31 January 2013 at 07:36

      @Racs: I agree with you Racs. Our passing game is lacking.

      In the second half we couldn’t get more than 2 passes strung together. And the saints were all over us.

      I was surprised to see Kagawa taken off instead of Welbeck. I guess because Welbeck was doing a lot of important leg work.

      But Kagawa would have done a decent job putting passes together if he had been allowed that central role in the second half.

      What we needed was someone to link the passes together and keep us in possession.

      I was even crying for Scholes to come on in the second half just so that we could get on the ball and pass it around a bit.

      We were just lobbing longballs to the front by the end without trying to build moves up slowly.

      We don’t know how to shift gears and hold the ball when we need to. We don’t know how to play possession football. I agree with you Racs.

  3. Opti

    30 January 2013 at 22:13

    On a round when City (@QPR), Chelsea (@Reading), Tottenham (@Norwich), Arsenal, and Liverpool all draw, United keep winning. 7 pts ahead of City, 13 ahead of Chelsea. 14 games to go. Dare I dream of #20?

    RvP got his point-blank header saved magnificently by Boruc (whom Grognard said should join United a couple years back, no?). He then wasted a shot with a poor back-pass.

    Welbeck three good chances this game to score/assist:
    1) He make a nice move past defender and shoots straight at Boruc from 8 yards.
    2) Is 6 yards away from goal and fumbles with the ball instead of taking a shot
    3) Have a wide open rooney on the counter and his pass is too weak.
    RvP may have missed some good chances as well, but has scores 20+ goals this season. What exactly has Welbeck done besides running at speed and a couple nice first touches? I heard Chicharito had a mild injury today… but otherwise, I cannot justify his non-selection. Does Welbeck have intimiate photos of Fergie… I don’t get his continuous selection.

    On Southampton’s goal: I don’t see how commentators can blame De Gea. It was a blatant high back-pass by Carrick, De Gea has three chances once he decided to come out of goal, without using his hands:
    A) Slide in and hope to win/kick ball away — risking penalty/red card
    B) Jump in and head away — risking penalty/injury
    C) Come out and try to kick ball away — risking Rodriguez first touch…
    I thought he picked the right option and was unlucky not to get there first — staying in goal and playing the angle is equally risky. I blame Carrick 99%. De Gea 1%.

    De Gea’s save on Lambert freekick was pretty slicks too… maybe a bit extravagant but very important.

    • Warzycha

      31 January 2013 at 00:21


      Yes, De Gea did no mistake. He took a risk but he was “outgunned”. Carrick really exposed him.

      RvP was silent for one game and thank God he wasn’t really needed to ensure three points.

      Smalling, Jones, Vidic is surely a selection that gives us physical presence when defending against freekicks. Our midfield is full of shorties and we need some tall defenders.
      Welbeck showed no signs of improvement. I mean he gave his heart once again but when it comes to end product he is not good. He has to mature and be more accurate and of course play with real passion and DETERMINATION.
      Rooney and Kagawa were the engines and the keys to winning the match. Anderson and Carrick seemed like they were out of breathe in the second half. Very slow midfield. Sometimes it’s SO OBVIOUS that we are missing the strong and physical (No.6) kind of player.

      P.S. I love every free-kick RvP takes. His technical abilities are a joy to watch.

      • RMJ

        31 January 2013 at 01:08

        @Warzycha: i think you are spot on in regards to De Gea and the goal. But I think we learned two things from this game. The pitch is a bitch and I hope none gets injured as a result this season. Secondly, we suffered a lot because of how deep we played at the back and its even worse when we play with Vidic as it is with Rio. This conversely has effected how we approach the game and the added pressure de gea is under.

        • The_Philosopher

          31 January 2013 at 07:42

          @RMJ: I am just wondering.

          Do you think Ferguson plays the defense deep because Vidic and Ferdinand lack pace and could get exposed if the line was too high up?

    • AndyCR7

      31 January 2013 at 05:52

      @Opti: Welbeck runs hard and he is committed. Gives 100% (does not matter if his 100% is not good enough for United). That’s all it takes to be a United player 😉

      I hate the long balls from our CBs. They are always miles off.

      • The_Philosopher

        31 January 2013 at 07:50

        @AndyCR7: Yeah we need to learn to pass the ball through the middle.

        We need to learn to play up from the back instead of hacking over the heads of the midfielders and letting the forwards wrestle for it.

    • The_Philosopher

      31 January 2013 at 07:48

      @Opti: RVP was so close.

      But did you see how Rooney crossed the ball in to him for the second attempt when RVP was ruled off-sides?

      He passed it with the outside of his RIGHT foot because he couldn’t get the same accuracy with his left.

      Frank Ribery does that on occasion at Bayern was well.

      We need a naturally left footed winger. Crossing from the left with your right foot is awkward at best. A left footer is a lot more comfortable and therefore a lot more effective.

      Patrice Evra has had a lot of great assists this year from that left flank. He would not have those assists if he was right footed.

      What a headed cross from Patrice for Rooney’s second. My goodness!

      Evra is quality.

  4. Redrich

    31 January 2013 at 04:00

    When United play with no wingers and with Carrick supported by Anderson and Kagawa there is always a wrinkle that can be pressed.
    As much as I’ve liked MC this season, he cannot handle being pressed on the ball – not in this game nor any game he’s ever played. Carrick needs a moment to compose himself, before making a pass, Soton didn’t give it to him and we surrendered midfield like little lambs.
    He also gave DDG a difficult (and poorly played) back pass which DDG decided, from the moment that it was played, this was not his problem and shied away from any contact with the striker. If he went in hard toward the ball he could have either (i) saved it, (ii) given up a penalty, (iii) given up a penalty and got sent off, or (iv) got hurt doing any of the above. All of which wouldn’t have resulted in a goal right there. As a good shot stopper it was probably a better option to get a second chance at it if he avoided the RC.
    Great players always show great courage and clearly that is not a strong suit for him.
    Rooney checked in for the first half and then found the pace hard as the game progressed. Evra was very good tonight, Smalling was careless and Anderson was…, well…, as Anderson does. 🙄

    Not a great showing by United but 3 points bagged, back up by seven points and one less game left on the schedule. I hope we don’t have to tick off the games like a prisoner in his cell waiting for his release. I’m hoping for some growth and for some spectacular open play and not the feeling of an excruciating wind down to the remainder of the year.

    • Onkar

      31 January 2013 at 06:49

      @Redrich: I saw this in case of Berba as well. There were some people on here who had only ONE aim and that was to slot berba… I find it amusing that the same is happening with DDG. I mean you can say in your own assessment that there was a possibility of getting the RED CARD if he would have committed to the challenge and then you say it wouldn’t have resulted in Goal.
      Now if I am given a Choice between conceding the Goal and Conceding the RED CARD i would accept the Goal rather than RED CARD specially if its a 3rd minute of the game and Not the 93rd minute of the game. I am sure it always better to go 1-0 down with 11 players rather than going down to 10 men in the Third and also concede a penalty (which might resulted in goal as well as a substitution of some out field player resulting in the whole game plan for the toss as early as it was).
      I dont know how some one even say that DDG needs to take blame even 10% for yesterday’s goal it grossly MC’s mistake nothing else. I know DDG has few short comings but then he cant be blamed for every goal conceded.

    • The_Philosopher

      31 January 2013 at 08:15

      @Redrich: Yeah Carrick can get shut down at times.

      I would like to see Ferguson go with a risky midfield in a 4-4-2 again. Cleverley+Anderson or Anderson+Carrick.

  5. The_Philosopher

    31 January 2013 at 08:13

    Nani should have started on the left instead of Welbeck (Maybe Ferguson is keeping him for Fulham on the weekend)

    Nani, RVP and Rooney up front would have been my selection.

    Kagawa, Anderson and Carrick in the middle was fine. Kagawa should have had a more central role however.

    Adel Taarabt. I am so impressed. We need this kid.

    David De Gea is a great goalie! Leave him alone.

    Nani needs to start shining on the left.

    Cleverley was being saved for Fulham. So he should be fresh.

    Three more points in the bag on a difficult night out. Go United.

    Bring on Fulham!

  6. The_Philosopher

    31 January 2013 at 08:53

    With all the game time Welbeck is getting do you think Ferguson is preparing him for Madrid?

    What ever happened to Nick Powell?

    • RMJ

      31 January 2013 at 13:56

      About your previous question about the back line, i don’t think Fergie started that intentionally. one of the blatant things Southampton was trying to do was do a long ball through the middle which they did to good effect in the second half. Throughout the game, Smalling was pushing forward but Vidic was dropping back, and at times De Gea was asking everybody to push up and we did not because of this and kept loosing possession cause of it. The Southampton manager at half time changed things in light of this and Fergie saw it and decided to take the safer route and pushed the entire back line back when Rio came on. Southampton kept going at it till the end even after we made the sub and by then it meant that we were geared for it. But by then the whole team was pushed into our half cos of it. I think we are moving to a high line defense as well as its important for us to do so in light of Europe and also because of the defense to offense transition we like to play with. AVB is trying to do it in Spurs and he along with Rafa and De Mettio had all sorts of problem with it at Chelsea especially when you consider that your two main center backs are immobile there. The game against Fulham and some of our early performances in the 2011 season are an indicator of that especially when you consider tne team personal for the game down the middle and in defense during that time.

  7. ash is the man

    31 January 2013 at 10:27

    rooney is hitting form at the right time, well done wazza, the engine of united 😉
    also i belive that was the perfect line up to start against Madrid, but maybe nani in for welcbeck

    • Opti

      31 January 2013 at 15:56

      @ash is the man: I would like a line up such as:

      ——– De Gea ———-
      ——– Carrick ———-
      –Anderson —- Kagawa—
      —–Rooney— RvP——


      ——– De Gea ———-
      ——– Carrick ———-
      -Nani–Anderson — Kagawa-

      • ash is the man

        31 January 2013 at 18:12

        @Opti: i like the second one more, because of the balance

        • Opti

          31 January 2013 at 18:44

          @ash is the man: what about Chicharito? Suber Sup 😀

      • dgame

        1 February 2013 at 21:44

        @Opti: The first one is dope#..and the second one is a killer two except for Nani’s inconsistency so I’ll go with the first

  8. One United

    31 January 2013 at 22:17

    Phew! We won, cant say we deserved it though and thats why i couldn’t begrudge spurs their equalizer last week. I think we will step up against Real Madrid though. I really cant wait- those fantastic European nights are priceless

    A few thoughts

    1. Zaha- i cannot see any of our wingers leaving just because Zaha is brought in. if a higher profile winger was bought, then i could see a winger being sold. Zaha was bought to be an understudy not a starter. He is way too young and way too inexperienced after all he is not the mercurial talent like Ronaldo, Messi or what Rooney was! I would equate his signing, possibly his talent to that of Walcott and Oxlade. None of them were bought to automatically command a starting eleven place. lets hope he surpasses them both. Walcott has always been overated, however Oxlade does have potential.

    2. Signings- If i were to have my pick, i would have have signed a midfielder this winter break (probably Wanyama). How Fletcher can be ruled out for the season, possible indefinitely and Fergie doesn’t feel the need to bring in a replacement is beyond me. I really cant be bothered about the champions league this season , so yeah Wanyama is fine and he can play center back. Our priority should be the League, however should fergie decide to give the champions league a good crack, then i suppose Strootman would have been the better bet.
    Moving on- We seem to be getting overun in midfield and as a result, our defence is being exposed. I have an on going issue with nullifying Yaya Toure and is one of the reasons why i opted for Wanyama, a player who could match the Fellainis and the Toures for physicality.
    As for the summer, i would break the bank for BALE, Adel Taarabt and Strootman/Wanyama/Fellaini. Bale because there is no better left winger in the world. His drive and power and physicality is Ronaldoesque, his delivery from the wings beckham/giggs esque. AS for Taarabt, well reportedly, he is willing to sit on the bench for fergie. WHAT AN OPTION TO HAVE OFF THE BENCH EH! When i watch him, he is everything i had expected Wayne Rooney to be! this kid is something special and with discipline, he is getting better and under fergie he would be world class. he is young, he is fast, he is strong, he can dribble, he is composed under pressure and he can throw a pass. He can also play center mid, supporting striker or from the wings. We all know why we need Wanyama/Strootman/Fellaini, from what i gather Strootman is the best passer of the three and is most similar to carrick. Its not inconceivable to acquire these players, well BALE kinda is. I wouldnt have minded Leighton Baines, but with Evra picking up, Fabio coming back from loan and Buttner learning his trade, i dont see any room for him. Even Fabio and Rafael fighing for the right back role seems good!

    Considering Giggs, Scholes and Fletcher are on their way out, would it be so ridiculous to have Carrick, Cleverly, Anderson, Wanyama, Taarabt vying for our midfield slots. I was at Old Trafford for the West Ham cup tie and watching a 39 year old winger cum central midfielder dominating the game was brilliant yet embarrassing. its about having a young squad capable of growing together, then in two years talk of us winning the Champions League but for now, we should just focus on the league

    i can dream eh!

  9. The_Philosopher

    31 January 2013 at 23:46

    One United you took the words straight out of my mouth.

    Adel Taarabt is exceptional on the ball! the kid has talent. Under Ferguson he would be awesome. And I find it hard to believe he would do too much bench time. the kid is ready to go right now.

    It would be nice to convert him as well into a box to box central midfielder. Him, Cleverley and Kagawa could develop an awesome chemistry. And Nick Powell and Anderson.

    I saw Taarabt go toe to toe with the likes of City and Chelsea and the kid could hold his own.

    Totally took the words out of my mouth. Bale as well because he is a left footed world class winger.

    Strootman looks like a good option.

    Gareth Bale would complete our team. he is the one signing that would takes us back to the top of world football.

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