RELYING on Manchester United for any sort of consistency on the pitch has been a risky strategy this season.
Under Louis van Gaal, they’ve produced a range of performances more diverse in quality than an opening round of Britain’s Got Talent, from the dire to the delightful. And yet somehow they’ve managed to remain unbeaten in their last 10 league games.
The major factor in this somewhat surprising stability of results is their solid home record. With eight wins from ten, and just one defeat, they’ve been able to shore up Old Trafford as a fortress.
United welcome a visit from Southampton this Sunday, and if there’s one thing to be taken away from this stage of the season, it’s that the Saints are no respecter of expectation.
Having secured fourth spot after comfortably dispatching Arsenal on New Year’s Day, Ronald Koeman’s men continue to defy their predicted drop-off.
And we’ll soon be approaching the stage of the season where they’ll have to be considered genuine contenders for a Champions League spot. With 36 points in the bag, you can buy their final total at 64.5 with Sporting Index.
As for the result on Sunday itself, it’s a testament to their season that Southampton could leapfrog United into third with a win here, but for all their pluck, I can’t look beyond the home side.
The Red Devils haven’t been beaten by their opponents in any of their last eight meetings, securing six wins, while the Saints haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1988. I’ll be taking the general 5/6 available about United.
While you have to imagine the majority of neutrals will be backing Southampton as the underdogs, there should still be plenty to keep them entertained if the Saints can’t manage an upset.
The two sides have notched 34 league goals apiece, the second highest total in the division. Combine this with United’s depth of attacking talent, as well as their frailties at the other end of the pitch, having now lost Daley Blind and Luke Shaw to injury, and I have to buy total goals at 2.75 with Sporting Index.
Manchester United at 5/6 general
Buy total goals at 2.75 with Sporting Index