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Premier League

  • 30 January 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 75600
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Manchester United - Southampton Preview: Red Devils look to extend unbeaten run to 13 games against Saints

Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who haven't tasted Premier League defeat since November, look to continue their good form but come up against a side eager to impress their new manager

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Kagawa
Van Persie, Rooney
SOUTHAMPTON

Boruc
Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw
Schneiderlin, Cork
Puncheon, Ramirez, Guly do Prado
Lambert

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia and Robin van Persie are all likely to return to Sir Alex Ferguson's side, having been rested or deployed from the bench in their FA Cup tie against Fulham, at the expense of Chris Smalling, Anderson, Nani, Ryan Giggs and Chicharito.

Jones could be moved into a central midfield berth alongside Carrick, having started the last three games since his return from injury and impressed in a similar role against Tottenham, despite his side proving unable to see out the game.

Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) are also both likely to be back in contention, though they are unlikely to start given their lack of match fitness.

Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, is likely to persist with the same team that earned him a goalless draw against Everton in his first game in charge of the side.

Norway international Vegard Forren is available to play after his move from Molde and the centre-back could make his debut against Manchester United, though Pochettino will no doubt be inclined to retain the same defence that earned a clean sheet against the Toffees.

The away side have received a boost with Adam Lallana returning from a knee injury, though he will likely be confined to the substitute's bench.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester United have never, in Premier League history, had more points at this stage of the season (after 24 games) than they do now (59 points).
  • The Premier League leaders have a seemingly unstoppable strike-force of late; Wayne Rooney has scored seven in his last eight games, Chicharito has got five in five while Robin van Persie (pictured) has netted 10 in his last 10 Premier League appearances.
  • To add to those impressive goalscoring statistics, Van Persie is the first player in Premier League history to score 10+ away goals in three successive seasons; three of those away goals came in a match-winning hat-trick against Southampton earlier in the season.
  • At the other end of the pitch, David de Gea, despite receiving renewed criticism of late, has the joint second best saves-to-shots ratio in the Premier League this season - 76% (second only to Swansea's Gerhard Tremmel with 81%).
  • Southampton, meanwhile, have the lowest overall saves-to-shots ratio in the Premier League this season: 61%.
  • Morgan Schneiderlin has made two headed attempts at goal this season; he has scored both of them (one of the two was, in fact, against Manchester United earlier in the season).
  • The Saints have lost their five Premier League encounters at Old Trafford. Their last point earned at the 'Theatre of Dreams' stretches back to a draw in September 1999, a 3-3 thriller infamous for Massimo Taibi's Matt Le Tissier-induced clanger.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
15Nemanja VidicDefender
8AndersonMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
23Shinji KagawaStriker
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
28Alexander BüttnerDefender
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
31Artur BorucGoalkeeper
2Nathaniel ClyneDefender
3Maya YoshidaDefender
5Jos HooiveldDefender
13Daniel FoxDefender
4Morgan SchneiderlinMidfielder
10G. RamírezMidfielder
18Jack CorkDefender
13Jason PuncheonMidfielder
-Rickie LambertStriker
9Jay RodriguezStriker
1Kelvin DavisGoalkeeper
2Frazer RichardsonDefender
3Luke ShawDefender
8Steven DavisMidfielder
20Adam LallanaMidfielder
27Richard ChaplowMidfielder
19Tadanari LeeStriker
Players to Watch
Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 16
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The cultured England international has been on fine form of late, having become a mainstay of the team over the past year or two - he has started all but two of Manchester United's last fifty games. The midfielder has done much this season to put to bed the much-vaunted notion that the Red Devils are in desperate need of a new central midfielder, having helped to propel his team to a five-point advantage at the top of the table. News has come out that, in spite of his advancing years, he is set to be duly rewarded with a contract extension at the end of the season and it is generally accepted that it is no less than he deserves. With Carrick in midfield, Ferguson will be expecting United to dominate the possession against Southampton on Wednesday evening.
Rickie Lambert
Rickie Lambert
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
The Southampton captain opened the scoring in the meeting between these two sides earlier in the season, overpowering Rafael and heading home in what has become a familiar sight for Saints fans over the years. The 30-year-old is always a powerful presence and has already managed 10 goals in the Premier League this season; an impressive tally considering his side have their eyes on the bottom of the table rather than the top. Lambert will be eager to impress his new manager, though, with Vidic back and seemingly in fine fettle, the former Bristol Rovers man will not find it as easy to impose himself as he did in the previous encounter between the two sides. Nevertheless, there is no doubt he will be relishing the opportunity.
Prediction
With Manchester United on imperious form (they have not lost in twelve Premier League games), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a home win here. Although Mauricio Pochettino will be eager to endear himself to his new club's support and the Saints proved they were capable of ruffling the Red Devils' feathers earlier in the season, Van Persie and co. should prove too strong for the away side.
Editor's Prediction

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