Manchester United hammered 9 goals past a toothless Southampton team in their Premier League fixture on Tuesday. Goals from Wan-Bissaka, Rashford, Cavani, Martial, McTominay, Bruno, and James gave the hosts an emphatic victory at Old Trafford. After a difficult set of fixtures, Ole’s boys emerged victorious and picked up maximum points in style to stay in the title race.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went with a safety-first lineup against Southampton. De Gea retained his place in goal as Maguire and Lindelof manned the center half position. Wan-Bissaka and Shaw were the wing-backs behind McTominay and Fred in the holding midfielder positions. Bruno, Rashford, Greenwood, and Cavani spearheaded the United attack. The bench consisted of Martial, van De Beek, Pogba, Telles, and James among others.
The Red Devils started with a spring in their step, pressing early and controlling possession. Shockingly, 90 seconds into the game, Southampton’s youngster saw red for a horrid challenge on McTominay. A tough task was eased for United as they now had one less opponent to worry about. Initially, United did themselves no favors with too many cheeky and cute attempts instead of being direct. United’s tendency to slowly knock the ball around without a real purpose was predictable and ineffective. The decision making between when to pass and when to shoot was also sub-par. Southampton had a rare chance on the other end but Ward Prowse’s attempt went wide.
In the first 15 minutes, United were pitched around the Southampton box and soon broke the deadlock through Aaron Wan-Bissaka. A beautiful switch pass from Shaw found Wan-Bissaka who easily tapped the ball into the gaping net from close range. 1-0 up, United smelled blood and thus began the onslaught. Minutes later, Rashford’s fiery shot from 12 yards outmatched McCarthy in goal to double the lead for United. As Southampton struggled to find some semblance of a foothold, United attacked with all their might. Rashford and Mason switched wings in the 30th minute in order to bring a different approach to the attack, and despite looking a bit out of sorts, United found the 3rd goal. Jan Bednarek fired Rashford’s low cross into his own net.
As the three points look assured, the result of the game was only going to affect the goal differential. Moments later, Cavani scuffed a squared pass from the right as he struggled to find the back of the net. However, immediately after, he rose high and headed Luke Shaw’s beautiful cross into the net to make it 4-0. The misery for Southampton did not seem to end as the referee pointed towards the spot in the dying moments of the first half. However, upon VAR review the call was overturned to a freekick, somehow questionably. Bruno tried to be cheeky and fire the freekick under the jumping wall but the attempt just looked bad. At Half Time, Ole’s boys were cruising and already looking forward to the next game.
At Half Time, Ole decided to utilize his subs and give some players a rest. Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek came on to replace Cavani and Shaw. Surprisingly, United were going after Southampton instead of trying to contain the lead and move on. This proved to be a moment of brilliance from the manager as United eventually dismantled Southampton. The visitors defended well in the opening minutes of the second half as United’s attack seemed outnumbered. Some questionable yellow cards from the referee left a sour taste in United fan’s mouths as van de Beek and Maguire went in the referee’s books. Southampton scored a goal off a quickly taken set-piece but VAR intervened to declare a marginal offside call.
United looked more and more threatening as the game went on, as Southampton’s backline looked more and more exhausted. In the 62nd minute, Daniel James replaced Rashford and injected some much-needed pace in the side. Southampton found an outlet pass foraying into the United box but Wan-Bissaka’s spectacular sliding tackle denied them. The final 25 minutes of the game were simply a massacre courtesy of our French Forward, and Portuguese Magnifico. A lofted pass from Bruno was chested down by Martial before being fired into the roof of the net- 5-0!! Not only did Martial end his goal drought, but Bruno also returned to providing assists after a 4 game “drought”.
United piled on the misery through McTominay minutes later. The Scottish midfielder’s low effort from 25 yards found its way into the back of the net. In the 75th minute, Martial had a great chance to score but his effort was just wide. United were attacking Southampton relentlessly, looking to pick them apart and break them down. Jan Bednarek brought down Martial in the box in the 84th minute, prompting a penalty for United, and a red card for Bednarek. Despite VAR checks, the call remained unfettered as did the penalty taker. Bruno Fernandes calmly stepped up and fired the ball into the net- 7-0 for the hosts!!!
The 9-0 scoreline was in sight for the hosts, as United looked to equal their record from 1995. On the other hand, Southampton looked to avoid another 9-0 drubbing as they did last season. However, things swung United’s way as Martial doubled his tally on the day after firing Wan-Bissaka’s cross into Southampton’s goal. As the game neared a close, United fans were preparing themselves to discuss their 8-goal win at home. Bruno and James decided to add the cherry on top in the final seconds of the game. A magnificent high ball from Greenwood was headed into the path of James by Bruno. The Welshman poked the ball into the far corner sending United fans into a frenzy and Southampton into further despair. At Full-Time, the smiles on the Red Devils’ faces said it all-they are well and truly alive and fighting.
A comprehensive and professional victory for United today. Despite being shaken up by their loss to Sheffield and the draw against Arsenal, United showed immense belief and confidence today to dispatch the Saints. Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka took credit for this resurgence as played Southampton off the park today. AWB notched a goal and an assist, and Shaw picked up two assists in one half. Their movement and crossing were crisp and precise. Even when United were leading comfortably, they were attacking in numbers and searching for more goals. The team was lacking this killer instinct in previous games, and they showed their class today. United now have the tied second-best goal differential in the league despite starting the day 7th best.
Rashford looked much more comfortable on the left but his decision making was a bit poor early on. Ole’s decision to use his subs was a smart one too as many players will be well-rested for the Everton game on Saturday buoyed by this massive victory. Fred and McTominay were also the unsung heroes today as their work-rate and passing were instrumental for the Red Devils. Martial’s finesse and skill outshone the other forwards as the Frenchman made a strong case to start the next game. Despite resting Pogba, United’s midfield controlled the game and maintained a staggering 76% possession for the hosts.
Fernandes found his touch with two great assists and a well-taken penalty goal. He silenced critics who leaped at the chance of critiquing the midfield maestro. After this, United will look to repeat their performance against Everton at home on Saturday. With 7 different goalscorers today, Ole will feel much better about United’s form.