|Southampton 0 v 1 Manchester United|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 23rd September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Time To Repeat The Win Of 2003 Over United !
Friday, 22nd Sep 2017 12:54
Saints take on Manchester United at St Mary's looking for their first win at home against the Red Devils since 2003 and end a dismal record.
On Sunday 31st August 2003 James Beattie netted an 88th minute goal to not only give Saints victory against Manchester United 1-0 but also their first victory of the Premier league season at the 4th attempt.
On that sunny day things looked good for Saints 4 months earlier they had played in an FA Cup Final and finished 8th in the Premier League, yet little did we know it would all soon go wrong.
In the 14 years since that win a lot of things have happened, we have plunged to League One and been on the verge of extinction and we have risen again to the top and now arguably the best position the club has ever been in, in terms of consistency in the league.
But one thing hasn't happened in this period and that is we havent beaten Manchester united at home again, we have done it twice away from home, but not on our own turf in 6 Premier League meetings and 3 in the FA Cup, two solitary draws, one last year when we missed a penalty and the other on the final day of the 2013/14 season when we drew 1-1.
So a win is long overdue !
But the likelihood of it does not look good, just as it didn't 14 years ago, back then we had statted solidly with three straight draws, but scoring goals was a problem, United on the other hand had won 3 in a row. scored 7 goals in doing so and scored only 1.
So the scene is very similar to the one we face tomorrow at St Mary's, a rampant United side facing a Saints side who are struggling to find their rythym and score goals.
But I think now like then there are the signs of the green shoots of recovery, a couple of weeks ago I was dreading this game, like last season we had a side that was set up to protect the weakness in central defence, it could not commit men forward as it would get caught on the counter attack and don't get me started on our inability to mark players.
But now things have changed, Mario Lemina has stepped up to the plate and shwon why we signed him and Wesley Hoedt proved what a difference a quality defender can make to the back four, not to mention the return of Virgil Van Dijk which taking the issues aside has to be a bonus.
We now have a strong formation on which to build on, especially in terms of being able to now start to attack quickly and with numbers.
The win at Palace was good, it was not briliant but it was the first time thise season I thought Mauricio Pellegrino had a side out he was happy with, he can't just click his fingers and get things right straight away, but we had started to get it right at the back and that will only aid things going forward.
The side at Selhurst Park looked like a Ronald Koeman one, strong at the back with two holding midfielders and able to burst forward quickly, the only thing it was lacking was the final ball and that will come.
That is why I am relishing taking on United, we need to see what we can do, but I do think we have a stronger squad than at any time last year and certainly than we had a week or two ago as the new players bed in.
United are not infallible, over half of their goals have been scored in the final ten minutes of the game and that should tell Saints something, they have a lot of possession, but they do not create a lot of chances and shots on target is not great either, but they do take their chances late in the game.
But I think Saints can repeat their victory of 2013, playing United suits us from the perspective of their playing style, we can hold them out and cause them problems of our own, I think it will be another late show to win this game, butthis time I think it will be a repeat of 2003 and it will be Saints fans celebrating.
I think any Saints fan leaving early might just be missing another great moment in our recent history.
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