A costly goal was conceded by Manchester United against Southampton courtesy a last-minute tap from a corner. United failed to capitalize on losses suffered by Leicester and Chelsea.
The Old Trafford outfit knew fully well that a win against Southampton would put them in a commanding position in the top four race. They fluffed their line to an injury-time equalizer. United bounced back against Crystal Palace, yet remain fifth. Add to this the news that CAS has overturned the two-year ban imposed on Manchester City, meaning the fifth position doesn’t get Champions League football come next season for the red devils.
Man United find themselves on the same points with the out of form Leicester City but they still remain outside the top four. The Southampton game presented United with the perfect opportunity to jump to the third position in the league bypassing not just Leicester but also Chelsea on the way.
With two games to go, the race for the top four finish is open right till the end of the season with United’s match against Leicester to be the decider.
After the restart to the season, Man United have been on a good run of form with five wins in 6. With imperious form, the English record champions still remain the likely candidates to make the champion League spot after aligning themselves with dodgy Chelsea and Leicester. Their strong defensive shape, compact midfield, and high pressing football made life difficult for United all night long.
The moment of distraction that could cost
From the touchline, the Saints manager is heard saying “tight, tight, tight”, and forward Danny Ings obeyed, which led to Pogba being dispossessed at the edge of the penalty area. Ings fed Redmond with a delicious pass, and Redmond delivered a fine cross to the back post where Armstrong slotted it in.
Watch: Michael Obafemi’s injury time goal vs Manchester United
Perhaps the reason for being distracted during the corner was the injury to Brandon Williams who arguably shook the team from its rhythm. In an effort to cling to the three points, the confidence in the team in the past weeks just disappeared into thin air.
Ole’s unbeaten tactics
For the fifth time on a roll, Ole played an unchanged side with United unbeaten in the league since January. The starting XI only changed in the Crystal Palace game. The highlight of the Palace game was the building of the impressive partnerships between Martial and Rashford upfront and Pogba and Fernandes in the midfield.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side tried to rectify the Southampton mistake, coming close to netting in the final few minutes. In the draw for the final 10 minutes, Ole’s side sat back to soak all the mounting pressure and looking for opportunities to attack, something they haven’t done for a long time. Brain “It’s part of football and we’ve learned a hard lesson. We’ll make it right, we’ll put it right.” The boss had said before the Reds bounced back Thursday.
It was a huge missed opportunity for United in the race for top-four finish but the unbeaten run still continues. The Red Devils head to West Ham before they wrestle to rest their claim to no. 4 against Brendan Rodger’s Leicester City in the bumper game of the final day.