Report: Southampton 1 United 1

Sunday 22 August 2021 16:15

Manchester United shared the spoils at St Mary’s Stadium as the Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in the Premier League.

A Fred own-goal from a deflected Che Adams strike gave Saints a first-half lead, before Mason Greenwood’s low effort levelled a high-energy encounter.

The result means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have picked up four points from our opening two games of the league season, with the club also matching Arsenal's top-flight record of 27 games unbeaten away from home.

 

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FIRST HALF – FAST, FURIOUS, BUT FRUSTRATING

A ferocious noise from the returning home and away supporters inside St Mary’s was met by an equally energetic start to the match. It was Saints who had the first chance to cause pressure though, when a long-range James Ward-Prowse free-kick forced David De Gea to tip the ball round his right-hand post and behind for a corner. However, Ward-Prowse’s delivery from the resulting set-play was not as threatening and the ball only found the side-netting.

A few minutes later and United were left scratching our heads as to how the ball had stayed out of the net at the other end. Bruno Fernandes swung in a free-kick which an outstretched Victor Lindelof got a light touch to, looping the ball towards goal but only onto the bar. On the rebound Anthony Martial headed goalwards, but a number of red and white striped shirts had scrambled back onto the line and just about managed to get the ball clear.

Paul Pogba then had a couple of chances, both also from free-kicks, this time whipped in by Luke Shaw from the left wing. The first saw his shot turned behind for a corner before his second was headed just over the crossbar.

Pilling on the pressure, Martial played a crafty one-two with Fernandes on the edge of the area and was about to latch onto the looping return pass in behind the hosts’ defence, before a defender intervened just in time to dispel the danger.

The temperature was rising in St Mary’s, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team beginning to get some possession following a spell of dominance by the Reds, but they hadn’t created anything overly threatening until a sucker-punch own-goal following a strike by Adams. Having received the ball after Jack Stephens had robbed Fernandes in the United half, the Scott danced on the edge of the area in a bid to create an opening and saw his shot deflect off Fred’s boot and out of reach of De Gea into the bottom corner.

Five minutes before the interval Southampton might have doubled their lead had Adam Armstrong made contact with a low cross following a lung-busting Valentino Livarmento run down the left wing, but thankfully his efforts to fling himself at the ball were in vain.

The final chance of the first 45 fell to the Reds as Shaw’s corner was met by the head of Lindelof in the box, but keeper Alex McCarthy did well to smother his downward header and maintain his side’s advantage going into the break.

SECOND HALF – BACK IN AND GOING FOR THE WIN

In a similar vein to the first period, it was an end-to-end start to the second with De Gea called into action early, as he comfortably gathered an outside-of-the-boot effort from Armstrong. Moussa Djenepo then went into referee Craig Pawson’s notebook after hauling down Fred as he tried to carry the call out the United half.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side pushed hard for a leveller and found the breakthrough via Greenwood after some fantastic build-up by Pogba. The Frenchman exchanged passes with Fernandes in the area before poking the ball to Greenwood. The teenager then struck a solid effort under the goalkeeper and into the net in front of the boisterous travelling away support.

The pressure was mounting on Saints as United created a number of chances and were virtually camped in and around the box. First Pogba broke through their backline with some neat footwork, but could only watch as his shot slid just wide of the post. Then Greenwood nodded over from inside the area from a chipped Fred cross, before McCarthy spilled another chance from Fernandes.

Into the final 20 minutes, De Gea denied Armstrong with a huge one-on-one save as the striker burst through the defence and unleased a shot which the Spaniard denied. That save led to a couple of corners, the second of which giving Adams a superb opportunity to restore the lead for the home side, but he was unable to direct his header correctly when the ball found him at the back post.

Maguire had his name taken as he clashed with a charging Adams in a dangerous position outside the box. Ward-Prowse perhaps had a glint in his eye as he stepped up to take the free-kick, but while it cleared the wall, De Gea was able to calmly punch away the threat.

Despite plenty of intent from both sets of players and five minutes of added time, there was to be no decisive strike with honours ending even on the South Coast.

 

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MATCH DETAILS

Southampton: McCarthy; Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Perraud (Walker-Peters 80); Walcott (Bednarek 46), Ward-Prowse (c), Romeu, Djenepo (Diallo 70); Adams, Armstrong.

Subs not used: Forster, Redmond, Armstrong, Tella, Elyounoussi, Valery.

Goal: Fred o.g 30

Booked: Djenepo, Stephens.

United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred (McTominay 76), Matic (Lingard 86), Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba, Martial (Sancho 59).

Subs not used: Heaton, Dalot, Varane, James, Mata, van de Beek.

Goal: Greenwood 55

Booked: Fernandes, Maguire, Pogba.

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