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Man United v Southampton: Saints’ fine Old Trafford run set to end

| 19.08.2016

Friday night football is about to become a regular feature in the Premier League and first up is Manchester United versus Southampton. The Red Devils are ready to end a run of home defeats to the Saints as Paul Pogba makes his long-awaited return.

Southampton have won both of their last two visits to Old Trafford, and since promotion back into the top tier in 2012, have lost just one of four trips to the Theatre of Dreams.

And the Hampshire outfit have been pretty handy against Jose Mourinho too, drawing home and away with his then-Chelsea team in the 2014/15 season, before a stunning 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge last term.

But despite all of that, United and Southampton’s respective summers make it hard to back anything other than a home win at 4/9 this evening.

The Red Devils beat Leicester in the Community Shield and followed that up with a clinical win over Bournemouth last weekend.

Having added bags of quality in the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, the 20-time champions are a much stronger outfit.

And then there’s Pogba, who is finally set to make his second debut for the club after being suspended for the win at Dean Court.

Couple that with Southampton losing Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane, and Graziano Pelle, and beating United looks a tall order at 7/1.

Claude Puel got his reign off to a steady start with a 1-1 draw at home to Watford, but a lot has changed since the Saints won 1-0 in Manchester in January.

All the attention tonight will be on one man, and it’s 15/2 Pogba marks his return with the opening goal of the game.

It’s 9/4 the world’s most expensive player nets at anytime, while Zlatan – who has two goals in two – is 10/3 to score first and 11/10 anytime.

Southampton’s best hopes will likely rest on Shane Long, with the Irishman 10/1 to get the game’s first goal, and 19/5 anytime.

But United look vastly improved already under the Special One, and the Red Devils are well placed to end their recent troubles in this fixture.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.