Manchester United failed to win their fourth consecutive match in all competitions, after a 0-0 draw against Southampton on Saturday night. This was United’s third draw in a row in the league, after playing 2-2 against Burnley and Leicester City.
Jose Mourinho’s team now trails Manchester City 13 points with the rivals having a game in hand. More importantly, Man United now sit in third, as Chelsea overtook them with a 5-0 win against Stoke City.
This Is Not The Manchester United Fans Were Expecting 18 Months Ago
Is this the team Man United fans were hoping they will watch every week a year and a half ago? Mourinho is midway through the second season at the club and he mostly talks about the time needed to turn things around. However, Manchester United look like a side that could have exploited these 18 months much better.
This is not about United trailing far behind City. Any team would trail City when they win 18 matches in a row. The problem runs deeper. Manchester United do not look like a healthy side, with plenty of problems in all lines of the squad (except goalkeeper). And yes, Mourinho did inherit the mess. However, Mourinho is the one always talking about making instant impact and producing results.
While he did that in Europa League and League Cup last term, there is a growing concern about what he could do in months to come. The league is gone now and the Champions League is now only hope. With how the team has been playing since opening seven rounds – United had 19 from 21 points back then, since then they won 25 points from 14 matches – there is not too much hope going against best European sides.
Romelu Lukaku And The Head Injury
The Belgian striker sustained a head injury inside the opening quarter of an hour. He clashed with Wesley Hoedt and was stretchered off. Mourinho talked about Lukaku needing a rest and unfortunately, he will now be forced to rest. Hopefully Lukaku will not be off the pitch for too long and this proves to be less dangerous than it first seemed.
His form has been quite poor in recent months, but he is nevertheless very much needed. Maybe this injury will be changing his fortunes when he gets ready to play again. Now we shall see how will Mourinho cope with this and who will be taking Lukaku’s place in the starting XI.
Southampton Keep It Tight
The Saints showed a good performance against Manchester United once again. Southampton are doing so well in Premier League this season, but they conceded only once in 180 minutes of football against the Devils. It was Lukaku who scored at the Stadium of Light, but this time he was not on the pitch for long enough to do that again.
This was their eighth draw in the league, only West Brom had more, and it shows that defensively things are not so bad. Where Southampton struggle is creating chances and scoring goals. They know how to be defensively sound – even though they conceded 30 goals – but scoring just 20 is quite poor for the appetites they have.
They now have three draws and three losses from the last six matches and if they are to start winning, they will need Shane Long and others to start scoring some goals on a consistent basis.