Dubai: In Sunday’s Premier League encounter, Manchester United will be aiming to extend their winning streak at Old Trafford to five matches in all competitions when they host Southampton.
Erik ten Hag’s men secured a dominant 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, while Southampton’s most recent triumph was a 1-0 win over Leicester City, which helped them move off the foot of the table.
Ten Hag seemingly aimed to prove a point by fielding the same 11 players who suffered a crushing 7-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. His tactics worked to perfection as United ran riot but on the domestic front they currently sit 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal in third place, albeit with a game in hand.
Few teams have managed to come away from Old Trafford with anything other than a crushing defeat. The team’s unbeaten run at the Theatre of Dreams currently stands at 20 games, and they have scored at least two goals in each of their last 15 home matches. However, Southampton manager Ruben Selles has a history of defeating Big Six sides on their own turf, having beaten Chelsea.
12 of their 21 points this season have come from playing away and the Saints will look to turn their fortunes around and end United’s unbeaten run over them, which stretches back to 2016.
United’s Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are still recovering from knee and ankle injuries, respectively, while Anthony Martial is back in full training but unlikely to start. Marcel Sabitzer’s fitness is also in question, and Ten Hag may consider making a few changes since the team has less than 72 hours to recuperate. Meanwhile, Selles expects Alcaraz to be fit leaving only Valentino Livramento and Juan Larios as the team’s two injury absentees.
Despite the possibility of an upset, United are expected to maintain their winning streak at Old Trafford and keep their faint title dreams alive.