Manchester United are looking to make history by picking up their 4th consecutive away win of the Premier League season in as many games against a dangerous Southampton side. They did so in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 0-2 deficit to win 3-2 and keep his insane away form going.
United started the game in dominant fashion but fell behind in the 23rd, when Southampton scored against the run of play – with Jan Bednarek heading in a terrific corner from James Ward-Prowse.
Ward-Prowse was at it again ten minutes later when his excellent free-kick droved past David de Gea to double the Saints’ lead! United turned their pedal on the attacking wheel and after a number of attempts finally pulled one back in the 60th minute, with Bruno Fernandes plucking the ball into the net from close range.
The Red Devils were pumped by that and equalized in the 73rd, when Edinson Cavani expertly headed in Bruno’s attempt into the back of the net. And then the comeback was complete in added time when Cavani struck another exquisite header past the goalkeeper to complete a stunning second-half performance. It was a game of two halves, but in which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side showed the spirit of a Sir Alex Ferguson side to get a huge win.
Manchester United Player Ratings vs Southampton
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0) –
Solskjaer took a risk playing the 4-4-2 diamond which worked so badly against Arsenal last time around, but his instincts worked out perfectly in the end. The first half was frustrating, but he made the substitutions perfectly, especially to bring in Cavani early in the second half to orchestrate the comeback.
Ole’s tactics to press Southampton high up, nullify their midfielders and capitalize on their sloppiness worked really well. Deserves his own praise for the comeback, despite Cavani’s excellence.
David de Gea (5.5) –
De Gea couldn’t really do much about the first because of the number of bodies in the box. Tried his best to save Ward-Prowse’s perfect free-kick goal but ended up injuring himself with that. He tried playing on with that problem, but had to be subbed after the break.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.5)-
Wan-Bissaka looks uncomfortable defending against Djenepo and Bertrand on the right side with little support. Not convincing with his challenges and his shakiness is encouraging Southampton to attack through that side. Started showing more enthusiasm in the second half and played a role in United’s first, cleverly winning the ball back and teeing up Cavani to assist Bruno’s goal.
Puts in a decent cross to set up Cavani’s chance in the 68th. Became the defensive warrior he’s known for in the second half and shut down Southampton’s flow through that side in expert fashion.
Harry Maguire (6.5) –
Maguire faces a difficult test against some speedy attackers but looked pretty comfortable in the first half, regaining possession with some decent challenges in the first half. Maintained his composure in some threatening fast breaks in the second half, making some superb challenges to deny Southampton a third. Nothing spectacular, but he did his job well today.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
The Swede passes a late fitness test to start this today. Made a few clutch clearances to shave away danger in the wild first half. Like Maguire, he also got the job done in the game and made some clutch tackles to deny Southampton a chance to finish off the game in the second half.
Alex Telles (6.5) –
With United playing narrower than usual, Telles is being given more freedom to roam forward. Played a slick through ball to create Gerenwood’s big chance early on. Kept his cool defensively and made some necessary clearances to stear away danger, while his delivery was pretty menacing as well.
Fred (7.5) –
Fred wasn’t at his houndish best and struggled to impose himself properly in the game. It was his clumsy foul on Djenepo which led to Ward-Prowse’s free-kick goal as well. But like many others, he regained his fiery nature in the second half in excellent fashion.
Won back the ball in key areas numerous times and drove United forward really well with his clever forward passes. Helped dominate the midfield and channel the spirit required to make the comeback.
Nemanja Matic (8.0) –
Matic looks really comfortable in the deep role and is making clever interceptions & tackles to help get back possession and moving his side forward. He showcased his superior experience all game long, winning back the ball 15 (!) times. He also made 5 interceptions and 4 tackles in an amazing defensive showing, while his distribution was solid too. Maintained the perfect balance in midfield for United.
Donny van de Beek (7.5) –
A first start in the Premier League for Van de Beek! Causing trouble to Southampton with his clever off the ball movement early on. His link-up play has been slick but the Dutchman looked a bit uncertain in the final third in the first half.
Worked extremely hard in the second half, winning back the ball and moving the ball around in tight areas expertly. His clever passing had Southampton in the ropes and despite not being involved in any goal, Van de Beek’s positive attitude kept his teammates galvanized to complete the comeback.
Bruno Fernandes (9.0) –
Fernandes has been the central figure to United’s away wins since arriving and needs to be on point today to inspire his side. Got a clear shot on goal from afar in the 15th, but his shot deflected wide. Gets an even better one in the rebound of Alex McCarthy’s save from Greenwood’s shot but his attempt was expertly kept out.
Makes an excellent through ball to create Rashford’s chance early in the second half. After lacking the clinical touch, he finally displays it at the hour-mark with a clever finish beyond the keeper from close range. He then sets up Cavani’s strike with his powerful attempt being headed in by Cavani. Despite being frustrating on occasions, Fernandes again puts in another match-winning performance and continues his dominance in the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford (7.0) –
Rashford is causing difficulties to the hosts with his movement but his close control has been poor early on. Lost mark of Bednarek, allowing him to head in the opener. Got a huge chance to pull one back for United in the 51st after being sent through on goal, but his shot was saved well by McCarthy. After a frustrating game, he put a brilliant cross to assist Cavani’s winner in added time.
Mason Greenwood (5.0) –
Greenwood’s back into the starting line-up, replacing Martial. Got a huge chance to score the opener in the 7th, but took too many touches after rounding the goalkeeper inside the area before hitting his shot in the side-netting! Gets another scoring chance when McCarthy passes the ball straight to him in open play in the 30th, but shot was saved well.
The teenager lacked his deadly finishing skills today and lack of game-time resulted in a frustrating performance. Subbed after the break for Cavani.
Dean Henderson (6.0) –
Henderson makes his Premier League debut for United, coming on for the injured De Gea. Makes a solid save off Walcott’s attempt in te 46th. Made a few good saves to deny Southampton a third and his distribution was good too. Will probably start a few now that De Gea is injured.
Edinson Cavani (10) –
Cavani added a spark of positivity in United’s attack with his impressive link-up play and got a big chance to score in the 56th, when his shot from close was deflected out. Picked out Fernandes perfectly to assist his goal. Almost got his own goal in the 68th when his header dipped agonizingly wide.
But he got his deserved goal minutes later, hitting a brilliant diving header to score his second PL goal. And his hunger to complete the comeback saw him beat every defender with another terrific header in added time to get his brace. Probably the best supersub display from a United player since Chicharito in the Sir Alex era. A performance worthy of a United No.7!
Brandon Williams (6.0) –
Williams came out late for Alex Telles and kept things very tidy on the left, making some necessary challenges to help United get the job done.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cavani was the biggest reason behind that second-half comeback and showed the spirit of a true No.9 which United have lacked for a long time. Deserves the MOTM for his excellent performance off the bench.