Manchester United face Southampton at Old Trafford tonight knowing that they will need to finish in the top four of the Premier League, or win the Europa League, in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Today’s news that Manchester City’s two-year UEFA ban has been overturned means that the Red Devils’ current fifth place will not be enough to qualify. However, a win tonight will allow the Reds to leapfrog over both Chelsea and Leicester into third.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can once again count on an almost full-strength squad despite Victor ‘The Ice Man’ Lindelof having injured Paul Pogba’s face in training, with Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe remaining the only absentees.
The Saints will give Jannick Vestergaard a late fitness test but are otherwise also in good shape other than long-term absentees Moussa Djenepo, Sofiane Boufal and Yan Valery.
Tonight’s referee will be Chris Kavanagh and kick off at Old Trafford is at 8pm BST.
Here are the Peoples Person team’s predictions for the match:
Sam Peoples: Man United 3-1 Southampton
Today is the day where we see whether this is a new Man United or the same old we’ve seen in the last few years, a team who fails to capitalise on key opportunities to take advantage when rivals slip. But, it’s different this time and honestly that is pretty much because of Bruno Fernandes. That’s why I am going for a 3-1 win. I expect it to be a tighter game and think United will have the quality to punish Southampton when they are chasing the game. Danny Ings will likely score but with Bruno in the team, I don’t think United’s complacency will haunt us like it has previously – Bruno won’t let that happen. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m putting too much on Bruno’s shoulders but maybe I’m not…and I’m predicting the latter.
Marwan Harraz: Man United 2-1 Southampton
Lots of pressure on the boys to pick up probably the most important three points of our season and it feels like they’re starting to run out of gas which is why I went for just two goals. Southampton also have a goal in them and I expect the United team to be feeling nervous. If I had to guess, the goal would probably be a defensive error on our behalf but I expect United to have enough firepower about them to squeeze through with a win.
Red Billy: Man United 5-1
I’m going for a big win today because the lads should be up for it with the chance to go third beckoning. Southampton have little to play for sitting in mid-table so hopefully they won’t be too defensive and cynical. That may also mean we leak a goal, but surely with confidence sky high we have enough talent to put a few past a team that has let in 56 goals in the Premier League this season.
One concern I have is whether all the hype around Mason Greenwood will start to affect him, but I’m banking on him keeping his feet on the ground and continuing to do the business. Another possible issue is tiredness, with Ole choosing not to rotate much (assuming he doesn’t), but hopefully the adrenaline will more than compensate for that.
18-year-old Mason Greenwood has been setting the world on fire for Manchester United this season. But how much do you know about other teenage stars that have played for the Red Devils over the years? Take our quiz below to find out.