SOUTHAMPTON VS MAN UNITED: 5 PRE-MATCH QUESTIONS, RONALDO INVOLVEMENT
Manchester United’s season got up and running on Monday as they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford, to register Erik ten Hag’s first points as manager. Now it’s a quick turnaround for the Red Devils, who face Southampton on Saturday in the first Premier League game of the weekend. The Saints also picked up a first win of the campaign last weekend, beating Leicester City 2-1, meaning both sides should head into the clash at St Mary’s with renewed confidence.
Will Casemiro start?
United’s fourth summer signing was announced on Monday, with the arrival of Casemiro from Real Madrid. The five-time European champion could be immediately incorporated into the team, most likely at the expense of Scott McTominay.
But dropping the Scotland international after the encouraging display on Monday would seem harsh, and perhaps send a message to United’s players that good performances will go unrewarded. Regardless, Casemiro is expected to be involved in the matchday squad and may well make his debut as a starter or from the bench.
Where does Ronaldo fit in?
This is a bigger question than necessarily just for the trip to Southampton, but it seems impossible to imagine Cristiano Ronaldo fitting into Ten Hag’s system. Against Liverpool, the Red Devils were slick, pressed from the front and habitually broke into the spaces behind the opposition defence. This just isn’t possible with Ronaldo in the side.
Ten Hag insisted the attacker can operate his set-up when speaking on Monday night, yet failing to start him on Saturday would again hint that Ronaldo is not a pivotal part of the new manager’s plans. There’s also a question for Ten Hag whether he starts Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial centrally, after both looked promising in that role on Monday.