After opening their Premier League account with a famous victory at Old Trafford earlier in the week, Manchester United managed to keep up that momentum on Saturday lunchtime.
Edging past bitter rivals Liverpool five days ago as they claimed a 2-1 win on home soil, Erik ten Hag’s side made it back-to-back victories against Southampton here.
Putting in a largely rugged display on the south coast, the Red Devils eventually left St. Mary’s with a 1-0 win as Bruno Fernandes produced a sublime finish 10 minutes after the restart.
Pushing their way into the top-half of the Premier League table, what did we learn from an enjoyable showdown on Saturday lunchtime?
Ten Hag’s approach is paying off
Opening the 2022/23 campaign and ten Hag’s tenure with back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford, it was no secret that Manchester United found themselves in the midst of a Premier League nightmare.
However, shocking former Premier League champions Liverpool on Monday night as they snatched a stellar 2-1 victory at Old Trafford, the ex-Ajax boss has made it clear that stability is key.
Once again making the decision to leave both Harry Maguire and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, it appears that the English giants are edging in the right direction.
Putting in a gritty display at St. Mary’s, ten Hag has quickly gained a reputation for his no-nonsense approach to life in Manchester – something that United fans have been crying out for.
Making each of his players report for additional training following their woeful 4-0 drumming at the hands of Brentford on August 13th, the 52-year-old is desperate to fully implement his philosophy.
Still hoping to complete a deal for Ajax’s young talisman Antony, it appears that United finally have something to cheer about.
United can do it away from Old Trafford
Last seen away from Old Trafford earlier in the month when suffering that infamous 4-0 defeat against Brentford, ten Hag would have been more than aware of United’s public struggles on the road.
Eventually scrapping their way to a top-six finish prior to the summer break, the former Premier League champions had almost become known for their extended problems outside of Manchester.
Signing off the 2021/22 campaign with a 1-0 loss away at Crystal Palace on May 22nd, United had remarkably lost each of their last seven appearances away from Old Trafford prior to Saturday’s showdown.
With their 1-0 victory here drawing a line under the worst away run in the club’s history, the ex-Ajax boss will be desperate to prove that this was not just a minor boost.
With it looking like the duo of Raphael Varane and summer arrival Lisandro Martínez have cemented their spot as ten Hag’s number one partnership, United will be next seen on Thursday when they travel to Leicester.
Southampton seeking stability at St. Mary’s
Opening the 2022/23 campaign with a routine 4-1 defeat away at Tottenham, many were expecting what could be another tough season for Southampton.
However, mounting a stellar comeback away at Leicester last weekend as they snatched a last-gasp 2-1 victory, some in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s camp might have been smelling the chance to spring an upset here.
Nevertheless, although the former RB Leipzig boss might have asked a few questions of the inconsistent English giants, they are still seeking some much-needed stability on home soil.
Spending the majority of last season battling it out at the foot of the Premier League table, Southampton have now managed to win just a pair of their last 16 top-flight appearances.
Likewise, with that run stemming all the way back to February 25th, the Saints have also gained somewhat of a reputation for their struggles at St. Mary’s.
In fact, Saturday’s 1-0 loss at the hands of United now means that Hasenhüttl’s men have won just one of their previous eight showdowns on the south coast.
Southampton: Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu, Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, A. Armstrong, Aribo, Elyounoussi, Adams
Subs: Mara, Perraud, Lyanco, S. Armstrong
Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Eriksen, Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford
Subs: Casemiro, Ronaldo, Fred
Goals: Fernandes (55′)
Yellow Cards: McTominay, Fred, Dalot
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Andy Madley