Paul Merson states his prediction for Man United v Southampton
Paul Merson is backing Manchester United to secure three points in a 2-1 win against Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday
Paul Merson is tipping Manchester United to edge to a 2-1 win against Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Devils will be eager to return to winning ways to avoid losing ground on their top-four rivals Arsenal and West Ham United.
The 20-time English champions lost to Middlesbrough on penalties in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend before Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
Manchester United start the weekend in sixth position in the Premier League table but only a point adrift of fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand as the Red Devils look to secure a Champions League spot for next season.
Southampton came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the English capital on Wednesday night thanks to goals from Armando Broja, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams.
The Saints have only lost one of their last six Premier League games, earning 11 points to hoist them into tenth position in the top-flight table.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is tipping Manchester United to earn a narrow win against Southampton at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
“This is a massive football match,” Merson told Sportskeeda.
“I thought Manchester United would definitely beat Burnley. They battered them in the first half and did not need that half-time break. West Ham and Arsenal won their games – that didn’t help them either.
“If Southampton play like they did against Tottenham, they’re not losing this match. But Southampton are Southampton – that’s why they are where they are in the Premier League. That probably was Southampton’s best performance in 15 years, and I don’t know if they can do it in back-to-back games.
“James Ward-Prowse is a very good player. He doesn’t get enough recognition because of where he plays. He’s the one player in English football who can sway the ball around. We haven’t got many of them, and he ticks that box.
“Ronaldo will be back in the starting eleven this weekend. The manager’s not getting Cavani right – the Burnley game was the poorest I’ve ever seen him play. If Manchester United don’t get a result here, they can kiss the top four goodbye. They’re at risk of losing out on Champions League football next season, and they have to win this match.”
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Southampton at Old Trafford since a 1-0 home loss back in January 2016.
Southampton suffered a resounding 9-0 loss to Manchester United when they made the trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League last season.
Manchester United will host Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday before the Red Devils make the trip to Leeds United on Sunday 20 February.