Three consecutive draws in a row, and Manchester United have fallen back into a fragile third position, after Old Trafford witnessed last season’s haunting score line of 0-0 yet again in 2017’s final game.
A resilient showing from Southampton; particularly in the defense, while the Red Devils will be utterly gutted having lost Romelu Lukaku early on to injury.
But more importantly, Paul Pogba, while in an offside position, slotted in a ball that was on its way to the back of the goal regardless, which now sits as the winner that never was.
Here’s how the sides fared during the encounter.
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David De Gea- 7.3
Back to saving days for the United goalkeeper, who had over three incredible saves to his name in a fixture where his clean sheet won’t stand for much. The Spaniard will be devastated by the lack of goals on the other end after the kind of performance he put up on his own.
Ashley Young- 8.0
The player that did the least wrong on the pitch, and by that virtue, United’s best. Having cemented that spot once and for all, time and again it appeared that Young was being underserved, which hindered his ability to provide apt crosses into the penalty area. Much effort went in vain.
Victor Lindelof- 6.5
Initially sloppy at the front, the summer signing will continue his run of being the worst defender on the field. While no goals were conceded this time around, his lack of confidence at the back was highly apparent, and some spirited members from the Old Trafford crowd more often than not made their displeasure apparent.
Phil Jones- 7.0
There was a point during one of Southampton’s corners that the Englishman was pulling back Matic instead of one of the Saints. Apart from that one awkward moment, he certainly seemed more or less back to his usual form, and displayed particularly skilled post-interception runs into the heart of his side’s offense.
Luke Shaw- 7.0
Despite being constantly reprimanded by Mourinho for nearly the entirety of the second half, the youngster did quite well on the night. In the first half, in particular, a couple of his eagle-eyed crosses into the box could have almost been converted into goals if the attackers were a tad bit more disciplined in their formation. Perhaps there might be some future for Shaw at Old Trafford after all.
Paul Pogba- 7.2
The man who will be hitting himself repeatedly after the full-time whistle. While he did act on instinct when he hit the ball to the back of the net, a slight maturity on his part to make a swift check on whether or not he was offside would have been the kind of split-second decision-making ability that his price tag would regularly warrant. Apart from that unfortunate moment, he did little wrong, and his limited contribution to the game in terms of attacking runs can be attributed to Southampton’s brilliance at forcing him to stay deep.
Nemanja Matic- 7.1
A good show from the former Chelsea man, who appeared more like the holding midfielder he is renowned for. Perhaps his Pogba-esque sharp shots in the first half could have been avoided and translated into something more substantial instead.
Juan Mata- 7.0
While many might have mixed feeling about the Spaniard on the night, his antics were ever brimming with confidence. Easily the best man on the pitch for the first half before becoming a victim to fatigue towards the dying moments.
Jesse Lingard- 7.0
Couldn’t add to his growing goal tally, but was able to notch a remarkable performance regardless. One of his shots could have easily made it to the back of the net, but his overall impact on the game was just shy of what he has the potential of delivering.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan- 7.1
The man gifted back his playing days, and who certainly managed to prove the trust true. A majority of United’s crosses into the box were provided by the Armenian, but often to no avail.
Romelu Lukaku- 6.0
In hindsight, the Belgian’s missed header in the opening minutes was his side’s best attempt on goal for a good deal of the match. But the fatigue was a much talked-about point in the build-up to the fixture, and the unfortunate knock to the back of the head ended his remarkable run of full ninety-minute appearances in the Premier League.
Owing to Lukaku’s injury, the youngster was subbed on into the position that many feel he ought to be deployed in regardless. However, not much of an impact was made by him, and a more creative approach could have certainly been taken in the dying moments.
Usual in his substitute knack for injecting urgency, on Saturday night, it was very lackluster after a while, and not much could be done of what happened to the ball that could have proven to be the winner on his part.
The erstwhile substitute goalkeeper was in phenomenal form during the match, and was a key reason why Southampton eventually took home their lone point.
Alongside Yoshida and Stephens, the full-back delivered a brilliant defensive showing, and was a constant thorn in United’s back throughout the match.
James Ward-Prowse- 6.6
Shane Long- 5.8
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.