EPL Betting Preview: Manchester United vs. Southampton – Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018
Matchup at a Glance
When: Saturday, December 1, 2018, at 12:30 PM
Where: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England.
Odds: Southampton +306, Draw +235, Manchester United -119 @ MyBookie
Quick Pick: Manchester United -119 @ MyBookie
Following a midweek drama in Leicester, Southampton returns to their St. Mary's Stadium where The Saints will take on Jose Mourinho's Manchester United on Saturday, 1 December 2018.
Southampton finds themselves in the relegation zone and manager Mark Hughes is under huge pressure after all disappointing results over the past months.
Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, could take a breath of fresh air when Marouane Fellaini scored a late winner for the 1-0 win over Young Boys on Tuesday, which saw Manchester United qualifying for the Champions League last-16.
Head-to-Head Stats (H2H)
Southampton was a thorn for Manchester United's ambitions last December when the squad still led by Mauricio Pellegrino managed to earn a point at Old Trafford – a goalless draw. This was the second goalless game between the two sides in their last three Premier League meetings.
And if Manchester United can boast three victories in their last five meetings with the Saints (2 draws), including the 2017 League Cup Final, Southampton's last win against United came in January 2016 when they've won 1-0 at Old Trafford.
H2H Balance in their last 10 meetings: Manchester United – 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 wins for Southampton.
Moreover, Southampton have not won at home against Manchester United in their last 10 attempts, losing 8 in that period. Their last home win over the Red Devils was in late August 2003 – 1-0, with James Beattie snatching a late winner.
The Saints are winless in their last nine Premier League matches and Mark Hughes is running out of time to save his position at St. Mary's Stadium.
With Mark Hughes on the brink of sacking, following an awful run of form, Southampton have reportedly held talks with Paulo Sousa, the former QPR, Swansea City and Leicester City manager.
The Portuguese manager is understood to have attended Southampton’s 3-2 away defeat to Fulham last weekend and has emerged as their preferred successor should they choose to sack Hughes, which is very likely if they lose once more here.
The former Manchester United striker, now Southampton manager, made wholesale changes in the dramatic midweek loss (after a penalty shootout) and should restore his usual formation against United.
Vice-captain and left-back Ryan Bertrand missed last weekend's Premier League round due to suspension and is now a doubt with a back injury that has prevented him from training during the week. Matt Targett should deputize once again if Bertrand is not fit enough.
Forwards Shane Long and Danny Ings are the only other notable injury concerns for Southampton this weekend, with the latter running out of time to prove his fitness. Thus Charlie Austin, who scored the winner at Old Trafford in 2016, is expected to lead the attack, although he is yet to score a goal in the league this season.
Manchester United experienced the bitter taste of not winning against a struggling Crystal Palace side last weekend and Jose Mourinho's men simply can't afford another setback.
They're already seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and despite their Champions League progress, the Red Devils have been underperforming throughout the season. Furthermore, Jose Mourinho's side (currently 7th) could be as low as ninth by the time the match kicks off.
Left-back Luke Shaw missed the drab draw with Crystal Palace through suspension but is available again and is expected to feature from the outset. Ashley Young, who was rested in midweek, should replace Antonio Valencia at right-back here.
Victor Lindelof was injured last week and Phil Jones should keep his starting position as a result. The Sweden international is expected to return for the extremely busy festive period.
Paul Pogba and Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku were dropped to the bench against Young Boys on Tuesday night but will more than likely be reintroduced to the lineup. Fred and Marcus Rashford will drop out of the starting XI, respectively.
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez could be out for a “long time” with a hamstring injury – Jose Mourinho has stated. The 29-year-old Chilean forward suffered the injury in training on Thursday.
Sanchez is yet to have a scan to determine the extent of the damage but Mourinho said he was “screaming” in pain.
We won't be surprised if Lukaku leads the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation, being supported by Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and top scorer Anthony Martial from the second position.
Possible Starting Lineups of Southampton and Manchester United
Southampton: Alex McCarthy – Matt Targett, Wesley Hoedt, Maya Yoshida, Cedric Soares – Mario Lemina, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Nathan Redmond, Stuart Armstrong, Manolo Gabbiadini – Charlie Austin. (4-2-3-1)
Manchester United: David de Gea – Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw – Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba – Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial – Romelu Lukaku. (4-2-3-1)
Manchester United Should Prevail In What Shouldn't Be A High-Scoring Thriller
There has been only one goal scored in the last three matches between these sides and considering current circumstances, we don't expect a high-scoring thriller again.
The Red Devils have only won by more than a one-goal margin on two occasions this season and both were on the road in September – 3-0 vs Young Boys in the Champions League and 2-0 vs Burnley in the Premier League.
Since the glorious tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson, United have won only four of their 10 Premier League games against Southampton, having beaten them in nine of the last 10 under the Scot.
The Saints have led in five Premier League matches this season but won just one of them – 2-0 away to Crystal Palace which remains their only Premier League success so far. The 10 points they have lost from winning positions are more than any other Premier League club.
We have all reasons to believe that Manchester United have the potential to defeat Southampton. Expect something like 1-0 or 2-0 for the away side.