After our match report, we cast a detailed eye over United’s Barclays Premier League draw with Southampton...
The Match: The hosts were on the front foot for much of the first half, keeping the ball away from United confidently, but David De Gea was not tested that much for all Southampton’s possession. Things turned tetchy once Rickie Lambert’s elbow caught Nemanja Vidic in the run-up to his goal, but the break seemed to cool United’s collective temper and they came out of the blocks with purpose in the second period. But, like the hosts in the first half, the Reds could not convert pressure into many meaningful chances and the game petered out, with a draw just about the right result.
The Goals: United had big complaints about the way the hosts took the lead after Lambert caught Vidic and subsequently drew blood, but the England international gave De Gea no chance with a fine finish seconds later. No chance is exactly what Artur Boruc had as he watched Juan Mata’s beautifully whipped free-kick sail over the wall and past him into the net soon after the restart.
Star Man: Juan Mata. Although, like many of his team-mates, he was unable to make any real impact in the first period as Southampton dominated, the Spaniard’s quick feet and incisive passing always had the Saints’ defence on their toes. He capped his afternoon with a stunning free-kick into the top corner.
Sub-plot: Vidic bade farewell to the club after eight years and he went out in true warrior-like style. He was furious with the challenge on him from Lambert, which led to a bloodied nose for the Serb and a goal for Southampton, but after some treatment and a change of shirt, he went up the other end and headed just wide from a free-kick. A yellow card completed an action-packed first period for the skipper. Whether or not this is the last match we’ll see of fellow defenders Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra in a red shirt (well, navy today), given the end of their contracts this summer, remains to be seen.
Opposition: It’s been an impressive season for the men from the south coast, who finished the season one place below the Reds in eighth. Southampton dominated the opening period and deservedly went in ahead at the break. Captain Adam