Manchester United seem to be losing the plot, at the top of the table, as they are now just a point above Chelsea, who are in the 3rd place, 20 games into the season. They are now winless in their last three games in all competitions and Jose Mourinho will be desperate for all three points when his side take on Southampton at Old Trafford this weekend.
The Saints succumbed to a 5-2 loss against Tottenham Hotspur in the previous round and will look to put in a better defensive performance against a side struggling to find consistency. Playing at home, Mourinho’s men are favourites to take all three points and here is the predicted lineup Manchester United might field for this tie:
Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia are all ruled out for this game by the manager. Chris Smalling is also nursing an injury and might not be available but Anthony Martial and Matteo Darmian are back in training and are up for selection.
Expected lineup (4-2-3-1):
David de Gea has not been able to save United in the last few games and honestly, has not been at his best. He will hope to have an easy game against a Southampton side, struggling for goals. Antonio Valencia’s absence could see Matteo Darmian play at right-back while Ashley Young, who had a superb outing in the game against Burnley at right-back, could shift to the left-back role.
The absence of Bailly and Smalling will see Phil Jones partnered with Victor Lindelof, pushing Marcos Rojo, who had a nightmare against Burnley, onto the bench for this game.
Jose Mourinho has not been comfortable resting either of his first choice midfielders. Both Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba have been involved in every game they are available and this game will be no different. However, both players will have to step up their game if the Red Devils are to take all three points from this tie.
Juan Mata has not been consistent enough this season and needs to dictate games more regularly. He could be dropped for this game after a dull display against Burnley and should be replaced by Marcus Rashford, who was one of the best players for United in the previous game, playing on the left flank. Young Jesse Lingard has been United’s best player in the last couple of weeks and he should keep his place in the side as a CAM.
Anthony Martial’s return will be a huge boost for Mourinho, who should start him straight away this weekend. He should start on the left side of the attack while Romelu Lukaku will lead the line against Southampton which will see Zlatan Ibrahimovic dropped from the side.
Here is how they might line up: