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Southampton vs Manchester United – Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Jake Jackman

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Southampton

Southampton will welcome Manchester United to the south coast this weekend as they try to become to the first team to beat the early pacesetters of the division this season. Jose Mourinho’s men have only lost one of their last five matches against the Saints and they will be looking at this as a fixture that they must win if they are going to seriously challenge for the title. Interestingly, they haven’t lost at St Mary’s Stadium since 2003.

It is another period of transition for Southampton as they have a new manager in Mauricio Pellegrino. The Argentine came with a good reputation after an impressive spell with Alaves and needs time to adapt to the Premier League. There have been some encouraging signs, but the results haven’t been perfect and this match will give a good indication of where they are currently at.

United have had a period of transition of their own since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but they are finally coming out on the other side and emerging as a serious contender once again. Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world and he is proving his worth at Old Trafford. He has put together a talented and physically imposing team. They will be favourites this weekend.

Recent form

Despite a disappointing loss to Watford during their last home fixture, Southampton have taken a credible eight points from their opening five matches. They probably did enough to take more based on chances created, but it could have been worse.

Manchester United are level with their local rivals, Manchester City, at the top of the division on 13 points. The only match that they have dropped points in was against Stoke City, with the other four matches ending in victories. This is a similar test to the one against Stoke and they will be keen not to make the same mistakes.

Predicted line-ups

Southampton may opt for an unchanged line-up after picking up a victory on the road last weekend. Manolo Gabbiadini and Virgil van Dijk will be the two most likely to come into the team if changes are made by Pellegrino.

Like the hosts, there is no reason for United to make a change after a great performance and result last weekend against Everton. The main doubt surrounds Ashley Young, but he did well in his last outing and did enough to earn another start.

Team news

Charlie Austin is the only injury doubt for the home side as he faces a late fitness test before the match on Saturday. The rest of the squad are fit and able to play a part against Manchester United.

Luke Shaw returned during the week and will be available to face his former club. Paul Pogba remains out of action, while Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are long-term injury concerns.

Score prediction: Southampton 0-2 Manchester United

This is a difficult fixture for Manchester United and it will provide a good early test of their title credentials. Southampton have been far from convincing and will be slightly disappointed to have taken only eight points from their first five matches. It is a good return, but they were given a nice fixture list to start the campaign. They have players that can cause the visitors problems. That said, United should have enough to take the three points for the second week in succession.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

English Premier League

It Tottenham Hotspur sign Cedric Soares, Kyle Walker-Peters must move on

If Tottenham Hotspur want Cedric Soares, then Kyle Walker-Peters should force a Tottenham exit.

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It is being reported by The Mirror that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for three Portugal internationals this summer. The report claims that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and, finally, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares are all on the radar of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The former duo makes sense for Spurs, central midfield and wide areas remain a problem for the club. But Soares seems a waste of time and money.

Undoubtedly the 26-year-old is a great right-back, but the report comes in the same week as ESPN reported Tottenham were ready to offer young full-back Kyle Walker-Peters a new deal at the club.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has shown glimpses of real talent during his time at Spurs and will soon be hoping to break into the first-team picture. The offer of a new deal would be a major indicator that the England under-20 World Cup winner has a long-term future at the club.

Signing Soares would be a massive barrier to that end goal.

It would leave Spurs having Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier as well as Soares and Walker-Peters.

If the idea is to sell Aurier, who has failed to convince since arriving from PSG in the summer, then Tottenham should not replace him with an expensive new recruit.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Walker-Peters is ready and waiting to go in the first-team and most fans believe he has what it takes to be a star under Pochettino.

Bringing in Soares would seem something of an unnecessary exercise from Tottenham and one which would surely leave Walker-Peters questioning his role at the club.

Tottenham should instead continue with their pursuit of a new deal for their young talent, who can operate on both the right and left side of the defence. If not, the 21-year-old should seriously consider forcing an exit away from Spurs, as it would appear his chance with the first-team is never forthcoming.

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English Premier League

Aston Villa reportedly not keen on keeping Josh Onomah, so what next?

The talented England youth international has had a mixed campaign at Aston Villa and Tottenham have a decision to make.

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Reports this week have confirmed what has long been suspected regarding Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Joshua Onomah. The talented maestro headed to Aston Villa at the start of the season in the hunt for regular first-team football. But next season he will not be at Villa Park, as the club have decided not to make any move to retain him next term – according to the Birmingham Mail.

This is no shock for Aston Villa or Tottenham fans. Onomah has had a difficult season at Villa Park. The 20-year-old has played plenty of football during his spell in the Midlands. Onomah has featured 34 times for Steve Bruce’s side and scored four goals. But his form has been indifferent throughout the campaign. The second-half of the season saw his form drop off dramatically. Since the turn of the year, Onomah has played just 10 times, mostly as a substitute.

Aston Villa fans were vocal in their displeasure at Onomah’s performances, perceiving him to be lackadaisical and disinterested. Most wanted to see their own talents such as Callum O’Hare and Keinan Davis get a shot instead.

(X during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

So what next for Onomah?

He started the campaign with great hope. After playing a pivotal role in the England under-20 World Cup win, many felt this could be his breakthrough season.

But his spell at Villa has just highlighted the fact he is far from the finished article.

As far as a future at Tottenham goes, it is hard to see him not being loaned out again next term. Spurs have ample options in the centre of midfield – with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks all at Mauricio Pochettino’s service. With rumours of new central midfield options also arriving Onomah is likely to be loaned out again next season.

If that is the case, Spurs must choose his next location with more care. Villa already have plenty of midfield options and the youngsters coming through led to resentment among much of the fanbase whenever Onomah got the nod ahead of them.

If Tottenham can find Onomah a home in the Championship where he can play regular football week in and week out and be a star for the fans that would be the ideal solution.

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Crystal Palace

Three potential England replacements for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Liverpool midfielder has been ruled out of the summer’s World Cup.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

It looked bad for Liverpool and England when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off during the first half of the Reds’ game against AS Roma in the Champions League and their worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has suffered a knee injury, which will keep him out of the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup.

This is incredibly harsh news to take for the midfielder, who had been playing the best football of his career under Jurgen Klopp.

Last summer, he made a huge career decision as he chose to leave Arsenal to join top-six rivals Liverpool and, in hindsight, it has been a great move for him.

His influence and consistency have stood out from the centre of the park and England would have benefitted from that in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate needs to readjust quickly and find a suitable alternative to the Liverpool midfielder.

Here are three players that could replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and receive a World Cup call this summer:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up an opportunity for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will now have a chance of making the plane for Russia.

The midfielder has impressed at Crystal Palace and he delivered an assured performance against Germany on his international debut. Although injuries have hindered his progress since he remains one of the only dynamic midfielders available to Gareth Southgate.

Against Germany, he completed 96.2% of his passes and completed four successful dribbles. There were a lot of people that thought the call came too soon, but he looked at home on the international stage and he will be unknown to a lot of the teams England are due to face.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was going to provide the power and pace in the England midfield. Loftus-Cheek may not be as experienced as the Liverpool man, but he can step up and perform a similar role. If he can finish the season strongly, he will have a great chance of making the squad.

England Training Session And Press Conference

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Jonjo Shelvey – Newcastle United

There are growing calls for the Newcastle United midfielder to be called up by Gareth Southgate and they will only increase with the news of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury.

Shelvey won’t be able to step into the same role, but he can provide different qualities and could be a worthy selection for England.

Newcastle’s recent surge up the league table have shown Shelvey in a good light and he has been a major reason for his team’s success.

The 26-year-old dictates the game from deep and has a passing range that can’t be matched by any other English player.

Against Arsenal, he was putting his team-mates in on goal at will and there is a place for his skills in the national set-up.

England have a number of quick attacking players and against better teams, Shelvey would provide a good option.

Southgate will need to set his side up to counter-attack and there is no better player to pick out the runs of Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy than the Newcastle midfielder.

There are risks to selecting the 26-year-old, but he deserves to be considered for the summer’s tournament.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dele Alli – Tottenham

The Tottenham midfielder is going to go to the World Cup. Nobody can debate that, but he has found himself out of the starting eleven during recent friendly matches.

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain may benefit him, as there will now be a midfield position up for grabs.

Alli isn’t as comfortable in a central role as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his goal threat and intelligent movement means that he could step into the starting eleven and play well.

The 22-year-old has had his critics this season, but a return of eight goals and ten assists in the Premier League underline the quality that he provides to a team.

Southgate will need to make sure Alli knows his defensive responsibilities and that the player carries them out to the letter, as England can’t afford to carry a midfield player.

At the age of 22, this summer could be an opportunity to break out for the Tottenham man.

It would be a risk to start him in a deeper role, but the rewards may be worth it.

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