If Southampton want to challenge for a spot in a European competition this season, they must try and find a way of taking points off the teams who hold similar ambitions.
The strong start the Saints have made to the Premier League season is threatening to unravel as they endure a nightmare run of games at the most football-heavy time of year.
Losses against Manchester City and Arsenal in consecutive outings haven’t quite derailed the south-coast club’s top-four status, but has allowed for the chasing pack to narrow the gap in the standings.
Now Manchester United come to town, boasting a strike force glittering enough to threaten the Saints’ stellar defensive record and with a strong head-to-head record to boost their confidence.
You have to go back to 2003 to find the last time Southampton beat Manchester United, with the Old Trafford club claiming victory in eight of the next 10 meetings in all competitions since then.
Both teams have scored in all bar three of those 10 games, which bodes well for those who wish to back a United triumph with goals for both sides.
Ladbrokes have boosted the price of that outcome from 7/2 to 9/2 and it’s a bet that certainly looks like copping considering Saints’ poor record and Man United’s dodgy defence.
Both teams have scored in all but six of Louis van Gaal’s matches in charge of United in all competitions, while Southampton only kept two clean sheets against last season’s top seven and have just one to their name against the top seven this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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