Southampton 2 Man United 3: Three talking points
Jonathan Spencer takes a look at three talking points from Manchester United's thrilling win at Southampton
Too early to judge Martial
Before Anthony Martial came to Manchester, both pundits and fans were comparing him to Thierry Henry. Now, the ex-Monaco man has scored three goals in two Premier League games and he has certainly impressed. However, like many young talents, there will always be a dip in form and it is vital that he is allowed the freedom to play football without fans over-praising him. It is still too premature to say he is the answer to United’s problems. Louis van Gaal must use him correctly during his first season with the club. With plenty of years ahead of him, he is still a player for the future and one we cannot judge after one season with his new team. All it takes is one barren spell for fans to realise he is not the immediate answer.
Ronald Koeman’s side are struggling to find the results at the moment and they need to get that defensive solidity back quickly. Currently sitting down in 16th in the league table, they are already playing catch up with the other teams targeting a European spot. They have now conceded eight times in just six Premier League matches and have only recorded one victory. Today’s performance highlights just where they are struggling. With Jose Fonte at fault for the first after not clearing the danger and Maya Yoshida gifting the ball straight to Anthony Martial for his second of the game, there is plenty of work to do defensively. Last campaign Southampton conceded 0.87 goals per game and had the second best defensive record in the league behind Chelsea. This was a significant reason in why they finished seventh last year.
They may have started off well but they are yet to convince. Their loss to Swansea asked many questions of the club, including their defensive stability and ruthlessness to kill of games. Today didn’t do too much to prove these critics wrong. Both Southampton’s goals could have been prevented if it was not for sloppy play both in midfield and defence. Daley Blind is still to yet to impress and will find it hard playing against the top teams, with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa in the opposition ranks. Furthermore, with Luke Shaw picking up a disastrous injury, Marcos Rojo has had to step up but he is also one that many players would fancy their chances against. If it wasn’t for David De Gea today, Man United could have dropped vital points. It is essential that both De Gea and Chris Smalling stay fit this campaign; otherwise they could again be fighting for a Champions league spot.