Manchester United vs Southampton: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United have the chance to end 2017 on a high and respond to galling draws with Leicester City and Burnley against Southampton on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s men now lie 15 points behind Manchester City and have no hopes of winning the title, but they will need three points against Mauricio Pellegrino’s men to ensure they hold onto second spot.

Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling have not recovered in time to face the Saints.

With that in mind, here are three players Mourinho must start on Saturday.

Luke Shaw

The left-back has continued his resurgence under Mourinho, producing a disciplined display against Burnley, and supporters will want to see him given another opportunity in defence against Southampton.

Man United have suffered from a left-back conundrum for some time and Shaw – fully fit and miles ahead of Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind – has a real chance to make that place his own over the next few weeks.

Jesse Lingard

While those around him dwindled and faded against Burnley, Lingard stepped up to save the day for United, sending an emphatic message to Mourinho after he labelled his finishing against Leicester as ‘childish’.

That kind of mental resolve and execution has been hard to come by in recent times and supporters will expect to see him turn out at No.10 once more.

Ashley Young

With Valencia still on the sidelines and Shaw impressing at left-back, it only makes sense to move Young over to the right hand side – especially with Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand set to miss the encounter through injury.

The 32-year-old can be a potent threat when given the space to send crosses into the box – as seen for Lingard’s first goal on Boxing Day – and Mourinho would benefit from attacking Southampton’s left flank from minute one.

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