Dublin: 19°C Saturday 24 July 2021


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

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Here are today’s teams…


It’s been a slow, quiet start — essentially what Old Trafford fans have become accustomed to of late.

It’s certainly a bit of a comedown for anyone who was just watching the Norwich-Liverpool clash.


Long and Mane link up for the first time, but Smalling is well-positioned to clear the Ireland striker’s cross.

United’s defence will need to keep a close eye on the speedy attacking duo, who showed how lethal they can be in the Saints’ 4-0 defeat of Arsenal last month.


Fellaini squares the ball to Martial, but the young French striker doesn’t properly connect with his shot from just outside the box, dragging the ball harmlessly wide in the process.

The crowd are very quiet already — this game is in need of some inspiration.


Blind produces a shot from distance that Forster catches comfortably.

It’s been pretty much a typical United performance so far — the Red Devils look comfortable, controlling possession but offering very little threat.


The crowd come alive as Rooney receives the ball in the final third. However, the England international’s cross-field pass goes astray, after Lingard slips as he runs towards the ball.

Shortly thereafter, Rooney’s shot from outside the area goes just wide of the post.

This game is belatedly starting to liven up a little.


Mane wins a free-kick in a good position out wide, but Bertrand’s subsequent delivery is woefully overhit.

The attacking play from both sides hasn’t been good enough so far.


Rooney runs at the defence, but his shot almost hits the corner flag — that sums up the England international’s afternoon so far.

Southampton are well set up and are making it very difficult for United to break them down at the moment.


A cross is flighted in towards Wanyama, but Rooney does just enough to stop the midfielder getting his header on target.

Rooney may not be having the best of afternoon’s going forward, but he’s certainly still more than willing to put in a good defensive shift.


Herrera seems to have completely taken out Long off the ball in the box.

The referee does nothing, but that looked deliberate judging by replays and could have easily resulted in a penalty.

Meanwhile, Tadic has just played a lovely through ball to Mane, but the attacker miscues his shot completely, as United are let off the hook.


Manchester United v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford Ed Woodward speaks with Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Not many people at Old Trafford are looking as amused as Ed Woodward at the moment.


Southampton are enjoying a pretty decent spell at the moment with plenty of controlled possession, as the home crowd grow increasingly impatient.

That said, Southampton have yet to create a clear-cut chance unless you count that Mane mis-hit.


Lingard’s shot is deflected wide and the referee incorrectly awards a goal kick.

We’re in first-half stoppage time now.

In one of the least surprising 45 minutes of the season, it’s Man United 0-0 Southampton at half-time.

It’s deja vu for the Red Devils, as boos can be heard as the teams leave the field at the break. The current result means United now haven’t scored a first-half goal at Old Trafford since 30 September against Wolfsburg in the Champions League.

Southampton have adopted a cautious set-up, sticking plenty of players behind the ball, with United struggling to break them down as a result.

Both sides have failed to create genuine chances, with the likes of Rooney and Martial starved of service.

That said, Southampton could have easily had a penalty, after Herrera took out Long off the ball, while Mane wasted a rare chance, as he mis-hit his shot when played through by Tadic.


Mata has replaced Fellaini at half-time.

That change should at least give United a bit more creativity going forward.


Britain Soccer Premier League Manchester United's Chris Smalling, right, fights for the ball against Southampton's Shane Long. Source: AP/Press Association Images


Herrera, Rooney and Mata have all looked lively since the break, with the latter two just now setting up Martial, who is promptly closed down by the Southampton defence.

The Saints are going forward a bit more regularly in this second half, creating more space, while United are also playing with greater urgency.


Superb play by Mane, who charges past the United defenders down the wing.

He crosses towards Long, but Darmian makes a brave and timely intervention to deny the Ireland forward.


Darmian appears to have come off the worst out of that collision with Long.

The Italian international can’t continue as a result, with Paddy McNair coming on in his place.


McNair does well to stop Long getting a clean header from a corner.

From the subsequent corner, Wanyama climbs above Wayne Rooney to head the ball just wide.


McNair has looked impressive since coming on.

The Northern Irish international carries the ball down the right, and the Saints defender is forced to clear his cross for a corner.


Double change for Southampton.

Tadic and Clasie are off, with James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu coming on in their place.


Southampton win another corner.

In the last few minutes, the Saints have really dominated the play and look the more likely of the two teams to score.


Both teams are looking tired now, with misplaced passes becoming increasingly prevalent.

Meanwhile, the camera has just picked out a mouse on the pitch.


Charlie Austin looks like he’s about to come on.

Can the former QPR striker make it a Southampton debut to remember?


Austin has replaced Mane, so Long will get an opportunity to play alongside the new boy.

From the ensuing set piece, Long holds off Daley Blind but his header goes well over.


Manchester United v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford Manchester United's Anthony Martial rues a missed chance. Source: PA Wire/PA Images


Long has really been in the wars today. He has gone down again, before getting up and walking around gingerly.

Meanwhile, fresh from his failed loan spell, Januzaj is coming on to replace Borthwick-Jackson, as United desperately search for a scarcely deserved winner.


It’s a dream debut for Charlie Austin.

The new signing heads home a set piece after being left completely unmarked in the middle of the box.


There will be five minutes of stoppage time…

Meanwhile, Romeu gets on the end of a loose ball in the United box, after good work from Shane Long, and he forces a good save from De Gea, who keeps the hosts in the game.


Worryingly for Louis van Gaal, there’s no sign of a United rally.

I can’t think of one clear-cut chance that the hosts have created in this game.


Finally a bit of United pressure, but Rooney’s cross is easily cleared.

Shortly thereafter, Januzaj flashes a shot just wide.

So that’s that. The United fans are clearly not happy following another uninspired display.

The type of problems Louis van Gaal’s men have suffered from all season were apparent again today.

The Red Devils simply didn’t have enough creativity in midfield, though Southampton performed exceptionally, proving very difficult to break down and deserving their 1-0 victory.

That’s now back-to-back wins for Southampton at Old Trafford — a stark sign of the Red Devils’ dramatic decline in the wake of the Alex Ferguson era.

Charlie Austin, meanwhile, could turn out to be an astute signing if his debut is anything to go by.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay tuned for more reaction.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy