Southampton perspective: Chris Rann, George Weah's Cousin.
Well it hasn’t been the best start for Saints. No one expected to push City all the way and that proved to set expectations of the Wigan game a little high.
Not to worry though, Man Utd at home is the perfect opportunity to get off the mark. Since the opening defeats Saints have strengthened the squad. A much needed centre-back in the form of Japanese Olympic captain Maya Yoshida has arrived, and attackers Gaston Ramirez and Emmanuel Mayuka look like exciting additions.
Saints used to have a hold over United in home games, but in truth it has been some years since we beat Ferguson’s side. The key, as always, will be whether Saints' inexperienced defence can deal with the seasoned United attack. There will be a lot of pressure on dutch defender Jos Hooiveld to keep countryman Robin Van Persie quiet.
Going forward, Saints will be out to prove a few doubters wrong after the opening home game and are certainly capable of giving the (dare I say it) immobile United defence a few things to worry about.
In Sir Alex Ferguson, Saints face the king of youth development, so it will be interesting to see how many of our young stars Adkins allows to do their thing. In James Ward-Prowse, I rather tentatively see a lot of Paul Scholes. Let’s hope the apprentice gets one over on the master.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Man United
Draw at 4.45, Man Utd/Draw on HT/FT market at 17.00, both teams to score at 1.67
Man United perspective: Chudi Onwuazor, The Busby Way.
Manchester United venture to St. Mary’s Stadium for the first time since January 2011 and will hope for an easier trip than last time. Two seasons ago Southampton put up a dogged fight in the FA Cup fourth round, and we needed goals from Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez to turn a hard-fought game around.
Southampton, a League One side at the time, have vastly improved since then, but Sir Alex won’t be fielding a bit part team as he looks to make up lost ground following United’s opening day loss to Everton. Since then United have beaten Fulham with a spectacular first half display, but their shaky second half performance will give Southampton hope.
With Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Rio Ferdinand still out, we are defensively frail. Our defensive shield in the midfield, Michael Carrick, has dropped back into defence. Him playing out of position is a double blow; we've been deprived of a real centre-back and have missed Carrick in midfield.
Jonny Evans’ return should ease some of the strain, but Southampton could cause a problem if they go for it as they did at the Etihad. The league table shows the Saints have lost twice, but they did well against City and a display like that against United could make the game interesting.
The last time the two sides met in the Premier League, back in May 2005, a Dutch striker (Ruud Van Nistelrooy) was on the scoresheet for United. I wouldn’t bet against another scoring today, after Robin Van Persie opened his account with a sublime goal against Fulham last week. Shinji Kagawa is proving to be every bit as influential in the final third as we thought and with these two linking up, we should have too much for the newly-promoted side.
Prediction: Southampton 1-3 Man United
Van Persie to score two or more at 4.75, Man United 3-1 at 12.50, Kagawa to score last at 7.00.