Manchester United travel to St Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.
Buoyed by their derby triumph on Monday night against Liverpool, Manchester United have the chance to win consecutive matches for the first time since February, back during the brief honeymoon period Ralf Rangnick enjoyed.
Here’s the XI Erik ten Hag may deploy to extend the first flickers of positivity during his reign.
GK: David de Gea – After his blunderous display against Brentford, De Gea opted for the direct approach against Liverpool, playing 94% of his passes longer than 40m on Monday night (per FBref).
RB: Diogo Dalot – While the noises out of Old Trafford are more positive now, Dalot’s preseason warning that the squad needs “to be ready to hear things that maybe we don’t want to hear” has certainly been relevant this term.
CB: Lisandro Martinez – From small fraud to towering titan, Martinez’s true talent may lie somewhere between Justin Bieber and Franco Baresi – both of whom are also 5’9.
LB: Tyrell Malacia – The squat 23-year-old has only played half of the available league minutes this season but has racked up a team-high tally of seven tackles (per FBref).
CM: Casemiro – After a watching brief for the victory over Liverpool, Ten Hag may grant his trophy-laden new recruit a debut this weekend.
CM: Christian Eriksen – The former Tottenham and Brentford midfielder has racked up more wins against Southampton than any other club in his career, directly contributing to 11 goals across ten victories.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United’s captain in the absence of Harry Maguire almost sullied his best performance in an age with a yellow card for a poorly disguised flop to the floor.
RW: Jadon Sancho – Following his well-taken goal on Monday night, Sancho has the chance to score in consecutive league matches for the first time since he hit a hot streak with Borussia Dortmund in February 2021.
ST: Anthony Martial – Off the bench during the interval against Liverpool, Martial provided his first Premier League assist since 2020.
LW: Marcus Rashford – Taking on the Wayne Gretzky philosophy – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Rashford ended a seven-month goal drought against Liverpool after firing off as many as five shots in a single game for the first time since December 2020.