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Premier League

  • May 11, 2014
  • • 10:00
  • • St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 31372
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Ladbrokes PaddyPower WilliamHill Tipico
Southampton 2.62 2.80 2.88 2.80
Draw 3.40 3.60 3.30 3.60
Man. United 2.55 2.40 2.40 2.40
Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs

Premier League Preview: Southampton - Manchester United

Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs is set to serve as interim manager for the final time this weekend and may also conclude a 23-year playing career with the Old Trafford outfit.

One place separates Southampton and Manchester United in the Premier League as they prepare to wrap up contrasting campaigns at St. Mary's.

Southampton started the season in magnificent form and, despite a wobble that saw the club go winless for six matches, Mauricio Pochettino's team recovered its poise impressively and is guaranteed an eighth-place finish.

That equals the club's best finish in the Premier League era and means the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert are firmly in the mix for a place in England's FIFA World Cup squad.

The price of their success could be felt at the end of the season and Southampton fans will hope it is not the last time they see Shaw turn out for them, as rumors linking the highly rated left back with a big-money switch to Chelsea refuse to go away.

Pochettino himself was linked with the hotseat at Tottenham this week and such speculation could be a feature of the offseason.

If a transition of sorts is possible at Southampton over the coming months, then a full-scale one will start in earnest for Manchester United at full time Sunday.

Ryan Giggs is set to serve as interim manager for the final time this weekend and may also conclude a 23-year playing career with the Old Trafford outfit.

The 40-year-old made his first playing appearance of his managerial reign, and possibly last on home turf, when he came on as a second-half substitute in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Hull City.

Visiting goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic failed to read the script when he pushed the Welshman's late free kick out of the top corner and Giggs must find the net at St. Mary's if he is to retain a proud record of scoring in every season of his decorated professional career.

If Giggs does call time on a period that has made him an Old Trafford institution, he will not be the only senior player moving on.

Nemanja Vidic will sign off before joining Inter, while fellow defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are out of contract. Additionally, a number of those under contract at Old Trafford may ultimately pay the price for their part in a disappointing title defense.

Reported frontrunner Louis van Gaal this week stated his desire to become United's next boss and whoever picks up the pieces from David Moyes' ill-fated reign is faced with the prospect of a significant rebuilding job.

Nevertheless, Giggs might be credited with unearthing a pair of gems to play a part in this new era — one that will begin with a place in the UEFA Europa League if Tottenham loses to Aston Villa and United wins on the south coast to pip the Londoners to sixth place.

Youth products James Wilson and Tom Lawrence were handed surprise debuts against Hull and 18-year-old striker Wilson made the most of his opportunity by scoring a brace.

Robin van Persie came off the bench to complete the scoring and may join Wilson in attack in what would be a first start since sustaining a knee injury against Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League in March.

Fellow forward Wayne Rooney (groin) remains an injury doubt, while Phil Jones (shoulder) is set to miss out but Giggs is confident he will be fit for England's World Cup campaign.

Southampton defender Maya Yoshida (knee) remains on the sidelines along with Jay Rodriguez (knee), but playmaker Gaston Ramires (ankle) could return after a month out.

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