Manchester United Home Drew 2 – 2
Come on now, I wasn’t the only one to think that the League Cup line-up at Leicester was an experiment, unlikely to be repeated against the likes of Manchester United. Not so: only the stand-in goalkeeper and concussed Matt Targett lost their places, so now Valery and Obefemi had their first Premier League starts. Valery in particular doesn’t look ready and in the opening half he seemed to be under orders just to get rid of the ball as safely as possible whenever it came his way, but at least Obefemi had an important role in Southampton’s first goal. This was after 13 minutes and it was an intelligent play to switch the ball back to the right after Redmond had cut in from that wing; Armstrong was waiting to apply a precise finish. Saints could already have been behind when McCarthy’s air-shot of a clearance resulted in a near open goal for Lukaku who looks to be on a diet of steroids and pies, and his immobility allowed the keeper to atone somewhat. Lo and behold, seven minutes later we were two up, with Soares unveiling a brilliant free kick skill that he’s managed to keep hidden for three years. So many disappointments have led to a feeling that it couldn’t possibly last, and indeed it didn’t as Rashford shrugged off Yoshida too easily and set up Lukaku to reduce the arrears. Rashford was instrumental in the equaliser as well, this time creating a close range opportunity for Herrera, but with both Vestergaard and Yoshida guilty of not doing more to stop the England man. Only one result seemed possible at that stage, and it didn’t involve the point Southampton ended up with, so there was a positive vibe around the stadium when the team survived two dangerous free kick situations at the end, both wasted by poor deliveries by Young. I thought United had tried to be more direct in the second period, to their own detriment but maybe driven by so many errors in their passing game, caused in turn by the industry of Southampton’s midfielders. With Valery and the rest of the team visibly growing in confidence as the second half progressed, maybe an upturn in Mark Hughes’ fortunes is set? Oh, hang on though: what was that I just heard on the 12 o’clock news?
LSSC Man of the Match: Mario Lemina, comfortable winner in his personal battle with Pogba.
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