Manchester United

The Manchester United lineup that should start against Southampton

Jamie Spencer
Edinson Cavani scored twice against Southampton in November
Edinson Cavani scored twice against Southampton in November / Robin Jones/Getty Images

Manchester United have slipped away from the top of the Premier League and are looking to return to winning ways when Southampton visit Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s have dropped points against Sheffield United and Arsenal in their last two games, ending a fine run of form that had put them in title contention.

United won the last time they met Southampton, although it took a monumental second half comeback after initially going 2-0 down in the opening 45 minutes.

Here’s a look at the starting XI Solskjaer could pick for this one...

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Luke Shaw has been in top form in recent weeks
Luke Shaw has been in top form in recent weeks / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

David de Gea (GK) - United’s longest serving first-team player has only missed two Premier League games this season and recorded a welcome clean sheet last time out against Arsenal.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) - Still close to unbeatable in one-on-one situations, but it's the other parts of his game, particularly marking and general awareness, that have been highlighted as weak at times this season.

Eric Bailly (CB) - Has traded starts with Victor Lindelof in recent weeks and could get the nod, although Solskjaer’s rotating door policy at centre back alongside Harry Maguire has been cause for criticism from disgruntled fans.

Harry Maguire (CB) - Desperately needs a long-term settled partner. The United skipper is likely to feel more comfortable up against a quick and tenacious forward like Danny Ings if he has someone with a little more pace alongside him, like Bailly.

Luke Shaw (LB) - The left back has responded well to competition from October signing Alex Telles and has been one of United’s better and more consistent performers. He will be keen to carry that on against his old club.

2. Midfielders

Paul Pogba usually only plays wide against big clubs
Paul Pogba usually only plays wide against big clubs / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Fred (CM) - Will fill an important role as the midfield legs, especially to stop Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse from having too much time on the ball to pick passes and start pulling the strings.

Paul Pogba (CM) - Has started in wide positions only in United’s toughest Premier League games this season, against Everton in November and later Manchester City, Leicester, Liverpool and Arsenal. In the latter he moved centrally when Scott McTominay went off with stomach cramps and showed the more disciplined side of his game in a tougher contest.

Bruno Fernandes (AM) - The Portugal international has been with United for a year now and the level of impact has been unimaginable. But he’s perhaps hitting his first blip in form and has only managed one direct goal involvement in the last five Premier League games.

3. Forwards

Mason Greenwood has only scored four goals this season
Mason Greenwood has only scored four goals this season / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Mason Greenwood (RW) - Anthony Martial has been poor in recent weeks and fans would welcome a start for the home-grown teenager instead. It has been a difficult second season and he will be keen to get on the score-sheet for only the fifth time in 2020/21.

Edinson Cavani (ST) -
It was a second half brace against Southampton back in November that highlighted the veteran Uruguayan’s capabilities to United fans. He’s been widely praised since and has started plenty of games since Christmas.

Marcus Rashford (LW) - A re-shuffle up top and in midfield could see United’s number ten restored to his favoured position on the left after lining up on the right against Arsenal. The left is where he looks more comfortable and most effective.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!