Southampton make the long trip to Old Trafford knowing that a Manchester United victory will see them restore their seven-point lead at the Premier League’s summit.
The Red Devils have been ruthless on their own patch this term and, with the chance to lock Manchester City back in another sleeper hold heading into February, it’s just a question of how many they will win by.
Nothing supports this argument more than a price only a shade above 1/1 – 27/20 to be exact – for United to get the job done with a two-goal handicap hindering their score, though with an incredible 15 wins from 17 attempts at the Theatre of Dreams, these short odds are still well worth lumping on.
Those who fancy things to get messy for Mauricio Pochettino on his first English road trip can dump another peak on the mountain United have to climb to win here; a three-goal handicap applied to United offers an increased reward of 33/10.
Likening Southampton’s chances in this game to that of a sinful feline ever finding himself on a gondola down the river Styx is not meant as detriment to them; more an appreciation of United’s brilliance. Similarly, the south coast club’s dismal track record in the red half of Manchester lends support to placing your faith in the handicap markets.
Even the best teams have poor records at Old Trafford so lets not hold that against the Saints, but with 13 defeats from 14 visits – the anomaly being a 3-3 draw in 1999 – history tells us they’ve got almost no chance of pulling off a shock result.
They can, however, take encouragement from a four-match unbeaten run on the road, the latest result of this streak being a 2-2 at Stamford Bridge. An area of concern is that, despite not suffering a single loss, they shipped six goals in these four games and if they bring a fraction of this generosity into this game then United will take them to the cleaners.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date