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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
31 January 2013
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 75600
W. Rooney 8', 27'
J. Rodriguez 3'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, this evening. Thanks for listening and be sure to follow the post-match reaction on Goal.com. See you all later.
Southampton, perversely, will probably be the team more pleased with their performance as, despite not really troubling De Gea after that early mishap, they had the better of the second half. They were perhaps lucky that a contentious offside flag prevented Van Persie from extending the lead but they showed spirit to even remain in at that point after an impressive first-half showing from the Red Devils. Pochettino will be pleased with his team after that game, though he will bear in mind that good performances don't keep a team up, points do.
Chances were few and far between in that second half but Manchester United will nevertheless be incredibly pleased that they came out of that game with three points. They were inferior in almost every respect as Southampton practically camped out in their half for the latter half of the game. Regardless of the performance, that result puts them even further adrift of Manchester City and, after an inevitable rollicking from Ferguson, the players will look back on that one with relief.
90' + 3'
Some hopeful long-range efforts are blocked by United defenders and, as the ball rolls clear, the referee calls time as a relieved Manchester United claim the spoils in this one!
90' + 2'
Rooney wins his side a throw in the left-back position, playing the ball off Clyne, and that might be that - there's one minute remaining.
As three minutes added time are called, Lambert heads goalwards from a long way out. It's a hopeful effort from a deep cross and it sails harmlessly wide.
Manchester United are under enormous pressure here; Southampton have played the last two minutes in their half but have unable to penetrate the glut of players behind the ball for the home side.
Southampton, after a sustained spell of possession, whip the ball in towards Lambert, the striker headed down but Lallana, instead of shooting, tries an ill-fated flick onto his teammate. It doesn't work out and the chance goes begging.
Southampton's pressure has begun to mount again as a heroic block from Vidic prevents a Lambert effort from flying goalwards.
Yellow Card Rafael
Southampton's early dominant start to the half has subsided somewhat, though you can expect that pressure to return with not much time left to grab that equaliser.
Rooney really should have got his hat-trick there; after a lovely ball from Van Persie put him clean through on goal, his touch let him down though and Boruc came out at his feet to knock the ball to safety.
Van Persie earns his side a corner as Yoshida tracks him well to block the cross. The corner comes to nothing though as Hooiveld clears at the near post.
Yellow Card Nemanja Vidic
Southampton, after that flurry from the home side, cause some problems of their own at the other end as, after Vidic fouls just outside the United area, a Lambert free kick is palmed wide adeptly by De Gea. A good save from the keeper there.
That offside decision was tight there; Rooney whipped a ball in from the left with the outside of his right boot and Van Persie headed home with aplomb, only to be adjudged offside. An extremely close call.
The home side have finally sprung into life in the past couple of minutes as Van Persie misses a golden chance and has a goal disallowed in quick succession!
United really are looking fairly abject here; Ferdinand has the ball nicked off him after overrunning it, but the touch is too strong from Rodriguez and it goes for a goal kick.
Lovely play from a hitherto quiet Van Persie there; after receiving the ball on the right, he cuts inside and sweeps a lovely pass to Rooney on the left. The striker comes onto his right but fires straight at Boruc, who collects the ball with ease.
Jones moves into central midfield following Rafael's arrival as Ferguson looks to subdue a dominant Southampton midfield.
Absolutely excellent hold-up play from Lambert there, a hopeful long-ball is directed his way and, with one touch, he chests down for Rodriguez. The striker blazes wildly wide; a waste of a decent opportunity.
A microcosm of United's start to the second half there; De Gea unnecessarily rolls short to Vidic who, clearly not wanting the ball in that position, punts out of play.
Evra allows his team some respite as he wins a free kick deep in the United half. Smalling makes way for Rio Ferdinand as Ferguson clearly feels the need to imbue his team with some experience after a shaky start to the half.
He does fire at goal and De Gea spills it! It comes to nothing but that will do his already waning confidence no good at all.
Carrick fouls Schneiderlin about 30 yards from goal and Lambert looks like he's ready to fire at goal.
Southampton's pressure continues as, after a Yoshida cross is headed out, Davis drags his left-footed effort well wide. A poor effort but the away side are having all the play here.
The Saints have all the momentum here as, despite the corner coming to nothing, Rodriguez dispossesses Rooney and forces another corner after his cross is deflected behind.
Carrick gives away the ball in United's half and Schneiderlin sprays the ball out right to Clyne, Welbeck gets back to tackle and put it out for a corner.
Despite Southampton's excellent start, Manchester United are coming into the half more now as a Kagawa cross almost finds the head of Welbeck.
Fox and Lallana link up well to cause United problems down the left, Jones eventually blocking the former's cross, knocking it out for a corner.
The home side haven't offered much in this half as of yet, as Rodriguez buys a throw-in off the legs of Vidic near the cornerflag.
De Gea makes his first save of the game as Southampton continue to assert themselves on this second half, with Lambert volleying tamely into his arms after Rodriguez's shot was blocked by Vidic.
Southampton have started the second half well; they're stroking the ball around confidently and with a bit more purpose than in the first 45.
Southampton make two changes at half-time as they look to assert themselves on the game. Jason Puncheon and Gaston Ramirez make way, with Adam Lallana and Steven Davis replacing them.
Southampton, meanwhile, have reason to both pleased and displeased with their first-half showing. After taking an early lead, they'll be disappointed that it was just a matter of minutes before proceedings were level. However, they have cause for optimism in both a United defence that looks susceptible to the occasional lapse and a spirited end to the half that could bode well for the imminent second period.
Manchester United will be, considering the start that they made, delighted with that first half display. De Gea and Carrick will be most disappointed with their contributions to Southampton's opener but, that unfortunate incident aside, the home side have barely been troubled by the opposition. They have also looked impressive going forward with Southampton's back four looking unable to deal with their prowess going forward, as Kagawa and Van Persie have been particularly dangerous.
45' + 2'
The referee brings a close to a lively first half, with just one goal separating the two teams at the half-time interval.
Yellow Card Morgan Schneiderlin
Morgan Schneiderlin is booked for kicking the ball away, but Van Persie's free kick comes to nothing. Lee Mason indicates two minutes of added time.
De Gea misdirects a goal kick straight out of play on the right-hand side.
Welbeck tests Boruc after some lovely play from Manchester United; Van Persie releases him in the area and, bringing the ball inside to beat Yoshida, he shoots on his left but the goalkeeper is equal to the effort as he parries the ball away.
Southampton are having more of the ball now, albeit in nonthreatening areas; they're failing to offer any real penetration following that early opener.
Manchester United's defence goes to sleep as a ball is played behind them for Puncheon; the left winger controls with his arm though and the defence or, more specifically, Chris Smalling, is excused.
The game finally settles down somewhat with Southampton afforded some rare possession by Manchester United.
Following that onslaught from the home side, the Saints aren't offering much here. Nevertheless, they endeavour as a hopeful Rodriguez effort is deflected wide for a corner.
After Schneiderlin gives the ball away wastefully in United's half, the home side launch another irresistible attack as Kagawa and Rooney link well. It ends at Van Persie's feet but, uncharacteristically, the striker blazes well wide and over.
United could have gone another goal ahead there. Jones whips in another dangerous delivery, Welbeck can't quite get control of it though and the Southampton defence clears.
Assist Patrice Evra
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Van Persie whips it in as predicted, Evra is there and heads it back into the area. Rooney is there to put Manchester United ahead with a simple tap-in. This could get ugly if the Saints don't manage to up their game here.
Phil Jones bursts down the opposite wing and is fouled by goalscorer Rodriguez. Van Persie should look to whip this one into the box.
United attack yet again as Rooney bursts down the left wing; no Saints defender puts a challenge in and his low cross is fumbled out by Boruc. No attacker is there to capitalise and the ball is cleared.
Manchester United are proving relentless here as Robin Van Persie, after a pass into feet from Anderson, cuts inside from the right and curls it goalwards. The effort is deflected by Hooiveld and it almost ends up in the back of the net but, to the defender's relief, it flies just over.
Evra dispossesses Ramirez after a marauding run and United launch yet another counterattack, ending in a Van Persie cross being headed behind for a corner via the head of Shaw.
Ramirez fires well over though, a waste given both the position and De Gea's early shakiness.
A Welback pass is misplaced deep in the United half, Puncheon turns on the pass from Lambert and is fouled by Vidic. This is in a dangerous position here.
Manchester United have a free kick in a dangerous position, Van Persie fires goalwards but the strike comes off his own man and Southampton have a goal kick.
It's end-to-end stuff here; after a Southampton corner is bundled away by the United defence, Cork fires goalwards. His effort is blocked and United counter, but Van Persie's through ball to Rooney is sniffed out and the attack comes to nothing.
United are looking unstoppable now as Kagawa hits the post! A Jones cross finds Rooney who lays off to Kagawa, whose strike smashes the post to keep things equal here.
Assist Shinji Kagawa
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Manchester United hit back! Again, this goal seemingly came out of nowhere. A Carrick pass is deflected into Kagawa's path, the diminutive midfielder flicks it deftly into Rooney's path and the England international passes the ball home to level proceedings at Old Trafford.
Rooney puts the corner in and Smalling manages to get there first, but he heads over under pressure from a Southampton defender.
Goal Jay Rodriguez
GOAL! Southampton are ahead! Under no apparent pressure at all, Carrick miscontrols the ball and then nonchalantly passes back to the keeper. Rodriguez duly nods over De Gea and puts it in an empty net and the Saints are one up already!
De Gea most definitely should have done better there, he seemed to pull out of that challenge with Rodriguez and, given the recent criticism of the Spaniard, that won't do wonders for his confidence. Meanwhile, Rooney almost manages to put Kagawa through, only for Boruc to come out and tip it wide for a corner.
Rooney and Van Persie kick proceedings off here at Old Trafford, the home side already keeping possession with consummate ease.
Vidic and Lambert lead their respective teams out as kick-off rapidly approaches at a raucous Old Trafford.
Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, makes only two changes from the side that earned him a debut point against Everton as he replaces Luke Shaw and Guly do Prado with Danny Fox and Jay Rodriguez in an adventurous line-up.
Sir Alex Ferguson has, somewhat predictably, made wholesale changes from the rotated line-up that sauntered to a 4-1 win over Fulham on Saturday, bringing in Nemanja Vidic, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie at the expense of Rafael, Nani, Ryan Giggs and Chicharito.
Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox; Cork, Schneiderlin; Puncheon, Rodriquez, Ramirez; Lambert Subs: Davies, Davis, Lallana, Richardson, Shaw, Lee, Chaplow.
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Anderson, Welbeck, Rooney, Kagawa; van Persie Subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Valencia, Nani, Cleverley, Buttner
And here come the team line-ups...
It might not be as one-sided as expected this evening as, in spite of Manchester's United superlative form and Southampton's curious dismissal of Nigel Adkins, the Saints have cause for optimism here; they're unbeaten in six league games and caused the Red Devils problems earlier in the season - going ahead only to be trumped by a late Robin van Persie hat-trick. And therein may lie the problem tonight, the Dutchman is in imperious form and should return to the starting eleven tonight after being rested in the FA Cup win over Fulham last weekend. Nevertheless, Pochettino's side should put up a spirited fight, whatever the outcome; let's hope for an entertaining game here!
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Southampton, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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