Football News: Southampton v Man Utd Match Preview

 

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Southampton v Man Utd Match Preview
Image from: silvertrophy.com

Wednesday 17th May 2017


Southampton v Manchester United Premier League 7.45pm

In normal circumstances, a game like this would have nothing riding on it, with Saints sat in safe midtable mediocrity. However, with rumblings of discontent over Claude Puel's tactical approach, the French coach really needs a good end to the season if he is going to be at the club next season. On top of that is a chance for revenge for the defeat in the EFL Cup final and away game earlier in the season. Whether that will be enough to shake off the lethargy, that has seen Soton lose three and draw two of their last six matches, remains to be seen. Even that may not be enough to save Puel, who has failed to endear himself to the fans with his laregly negative approach to games.
Most important player: Fraser Forster. Almost impossible to pick a player right now, as Puel is swapping the team around by the game. Which makes Forster even more important to the team, as one of the few constants.

These final two games have become almost a hindrance in Jose Mourinho's quest to win the Europa League. The same Europa League that he very sniffily dismissed on his return to Chelsea. Speaking in 2013, Mourinho, who had just succeeded Benitez as Blues boss, told the BBC: "I don't want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me. I don't want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition." Now Jose says it is everything, that he does not even want to play the final few Premier League matches. How the mighty have fallen. None more so than the Red Devils themselves, after spending obscene amounts of money in the summer, including a world record (and possibly a hell of a lot more than officially announced) fee on one player, Paul Pogba. All of that money on transfer fees, the obscene wages, especially Zlatan Ibrahimovic's, to take the club from FA Cup winners and 5th place all the way to League Cup winners and 6th place, with the possibility of winning the Europa League. Jose Mourinho's arrival was meant to take the club to new heights. The spending was meant to bring a league title challenge, but Premier rather than Europa.
Most important player: Jose Mourinho. While not a player, it is his negative, play to avoid defeat rather than going for the win, philosophy that has left the club in the place it is. All those draws have cost the club badly, and now his insistence that the league is irrelevant has set the tone for the final few games. Is this really the actions of a Man Utd manager, to concede defeat in any match before kick off? What happened to pride in the shirt?

Defining Battle: the main battle will be in the players' heads. Who has the most pride in their career and the shirt they are wearing? Which will overcome the negative approach that the managers of both teams set out and try and win the game?

Editors' Predictions:
Ed004 - 1-1
Ed007 - 1-1
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 2-0
Ed033 - 1-1

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