Manchester United – Southampton Preview: Red Devils look to extend unbeaten run to 13 games against Saints

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia and Robin van Persie are all likely to return to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, having been rested or deployed from the bench in their FA Cup tie against Fulham, at the expense of Chris Smalling, Anderson, Nani, Ryan Giggs and Chicharito.

Jones could be moved into a central midfield berth alongside Carrick, having started the last three games since his return from injury and impressed in a similar role against Tottenham, despite his side proving unable to see out the game.

Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) are also both likely to be back in contention, though they are unlikely to start given their lack of match fitness.

Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, is likely to persist with the same team that earned him a goalless draw against Everton in his first game in charge of the side.

Norway international Vegard Forren is available to play after his move from Molde and the centre-back could make his debut against Manchester United, though Pochettino will no doubt be inclined to retain the same defence that earned a clean sheet against the Toffees.

The away side have received a boost with Adam Lallana returning from a knee injury, though he will likely be confined to the substitute’s bench.

  • The Premier League leaders have a seemingly unstoppable strike-force of late; Wayne Rooney has scored seven in his last eight games, Chicharito has got five in five while Robin van Persie (pictured) has netted 10 in his last 10 Premier League appearances.
  • To add to those impressive goalscoring statistics, Van Persie is the first player in Premier League history to score 10+ away goals in three successive seasons; three of those away goals came in a match-winning hat-trick against Southampton earlier in the season.
  • At the other end of the pitch, David de Gea, despite receiving renewed criticism of late, has the joint second best saves-to-shots ratio in the Premier League this season – 76% (second only to Swansea’s Gerhard Tremmel with 81%).
  • Southampton, meanwhile, have the lowest overall saves-to-shots ratio in the Premier League this season: 61%.
  • Morgan Schneiderlin has made two headed attempts at goal this season; he has scored both of them (one of the two was, in fact, against Manchester United earlier in the season).
  • The Saints have lost their five Premier League encounters at Old Trafford. Their last point earned at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ stretches back to a draw in September 1999, a 3-3 thriller infamous for Massimo Taibi’s Matt Le Tissier-induced clanger.

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