Manchester United visit Southampton on Sunday looking to build on a stunning first game against Leeds.

After an enthralling 5-1 victory to begin the season, expectations are high.

A word of caution, that this game is away from home and eight travelling teams lost last weekend, with fans back in stadiums having a positive early impact for home sides.

Southampton have often given United a tough game at St Mary’s, and last season was no different.

United needed a last minute goal from Edinson Cavani to seal a 3-2 comeback win after going 2-0 down.

The return game at Old Trafford ended 9-0 to United, which could have a big bearing on this game if Solskjaer’s side can get an early goal and dent the confidence of the home side.

United were outstanding against Leeds and can lay down a marker with an away win here, which would also equal the all-time English football record for away games unbeaten.

Manchester United v Leeds United - Premier League
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

So how will Solskjaer set United up?

While United have a huge squad and a bench of fresh players who did not feature last weekend, expect minimal changes here.

It is even possible Solskjaer sticks with the same XI which started against Leeds, he has form for keeping a winning side intact.

Earlier this week we asked four questions Solskjaer would be asking ahead of the game, so let’s go through what we predict will happen.

Will Raphael Varane start? Varane may be available but don’t expect him to start this game.

Varane did not feature in the warm-up match in midweek, and Eric Bailly did, which may suggest fitness-wise he is ahead.


A full week of training will have benefitted Varane of course. Even so, the best he can likely hope for here is a place on the bench with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to start.

Any changes in midfield? Fred and Scott McTominay starting against Leeds was a little of a surprise considering both players had minimal pre-season action.

Fortunately the pair were outstanding and there is a strong case to keep them together to start this game.

Both Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic could be rotated in, but we sense Solskjaer will be reluctant to change the core of a team which dominated the opening game.

Will Jadon Sancho start? Paul Pogba will likely be out on the left again which means Solskjaer has to choose between Dan James and Jadon Sancho on the right.

This decision will all come down to fitness, and how sharp Sancho has looked in training.

He did play in the training game in midweek and we are going to be bold and say, yes, Sancho will be picked for this game ahead of James and start his first competitive Manchester United game.

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Will Edinson Cavani be ready? After a lengthy summer break, Cavani has only just returned to training.

We would not expect Cavani to start, and in any case Mason Greenwood has earned his place while Anthony Martial also scored the in midweek friendly.

At best, Cavani will be on the bench, and could provide a psychological blow to Southampton simply be seeing him there, potentially causing panic if he is thrown on with 10 minutes to go if United need a goal, after last season.

Also under consideration… Expect Jesse Lingard to be back on the bench and potentially come on. United are keen for the midfielder to feel valued if he stays, and this is an opportunity to demonstrate that.

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