Match Report: Southampton 0-0 Manchester United
- Mourinho's Reds draw yet again in the Premier League
- Romero pulled off an early suburb penalty to save United's blushes
United arrived on the south coast short on form and confidence, with their last league win coming almost a month ago, a 2-0 win away to Burnley.
With the league dead and buried, the Red Devils looked to gain some much-needed confidence and momentum heading into next week’s season defining Europa League final against Ajax.
Meanwhile, Southampton are playing for position, with an eight place within their grasp, a hugely respectable position for a team which has had to rebuild due to its best players and manager poached by bigger clubs in recent seasons.
Referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot in the 5th minute after an Eric Bailly handball. There was some controversy surrounding the decision, although it was a clear handball, it appeared to be slightly outside the box. Up stepped Manolo Gabbiadini, who saw his penalty saved by United second choice ‘keeper Sergio Romero, who got down well to save low to his right-hand side.
Bailly almost went from zero to hero a few minutes later, as a sloppy pass in the Saints’ defence allowed the makeshift right back to cut inside past both central defenders before firing the ball straight at Fraser Forster with his left foot.
Double Southampton player of the year Oriol Romeu was booked in 10th minute for a borderline rugby tackle on Mkhitaryan.
After a bright start to the game, the action fell flat with the attacking players from both sides struggling to impose themselves on the game. The first half draws to a close goalless, with neither team looking particularly threatening.
The home side almost broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, after a well struck free kick from Tadic stung the palms of Romero. Romeu was next to test the United stopper a few minutes later, however the Argentinian no.1 was able to force the ball wide.
The home side continued to pile pressure on the United goal, with James Warde-Prowse’s curling effort looking destined for the top corner if not for a brilliant save from Romero.
A surging run down the right flank from Chris Smalling in the 66th minute put Rooney through on goal. The United skipper then laid the ball back to Juan Mata who shot narrowly wide.
French forward Anthony Martial hit the post in the 71st minute, after completing a mazy run with a curling effort that had the Southampton ‘keeper beaten.
Saints substitute Jay Rodriguez almost gave the home side the lead in the 81st minute, when his effort flew mere inches past the post.
Mike Dean blows the final whistle on what was a rather lacklustre affair at St. Mary’s. With both teams not having a lot to play for in the league, coupled with both teams’ difficulties in front of goal this season, 0-0 will not come as a shock to many.
United now look to be severely lacking momentum on their way to Stockholm, with only one victory in their last seven games in all competitions.