Manchester United needed an escape act in their last meeting with Southampton.
Back in November, United were 2-0 at half time at St Mary’s thanks to goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse.
The resulting comeback to win 3-2 was thrilling but there’s no doubt United have some lessons to learn in order to avoid falling behind tonight.
We’d all take another 3-2 win, but here’s three ways Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might ensure a less stressful evening tonight.
Improve at set pieces
Bednarek’s goal was a front post header from a corner while Ward-Prowse beat David de Gea direct from a free-kick.
Solskjaer said yesterday that the Premier League delegates report admitted Sheffield United’s opening goal last Wednesday shouldn’t have stood – but United still didn’t defend that situation very well.
Ward-Prowse is one of the best dead-ball specialists in the division and Southampton attack the ball well.
United cannot afford to slip behind to a set piece again. There has to be greater organisation and desire to attack the ball.
Shaw from the start
Alex Telles started the game at St Mary’s, but looked flat against Sheffield United.
Shaw has emerged as an attacking weapon for United this season, with his raids down the left.
They might be especially potent tonight, given Southampton’s struggles at right back.
Kyle Walker-Peters is a doubt for the game and central midfielder Ward-Prowse had to fill in for him against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Southampton set themselves up to play narrowly which should give United the chance to attack down the flanks.
Shaw can take full advantage of that against his old club.
Cavani leading the line
The away match at Southampton saw Edinson Cavani properly announce himself to United fans.
He was a supersub on that occasion, coming on at half time after some fiddling around with his boots.
Tonight, he has to lead the line from the start. His movement transforms United’s backline.
He could have had a double at Arsenal on Saturday and Solskjaer will hope he is ruthless in front of goal tonight.
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