Manchester United fell to a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Southampton as Charlie Austin scored the winning goal with 10 minutes to go, after making his debut from the bench. Here are 5 talking points from the game.
1. Mouse on the pitch
Yes. The game was such a snoozefest that when a mouse ran on to the pitch in the 76th minute, it seemed like the most interesting moment in the entire game. After one of the most exciting games of the season had just come to a close with Liverpool beating Norwich City 5-4, this was probably the worst follow ups one could imagine.
2. Time up for Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini has been a subject of wonder over the last weeks. A statement like that is usually a compliment but in his case, the only wonder is how he is still starting games for this football club and why he is still at the club in the first place. He put in a terrible display once again, doing virtually nothing on the ball or off it. No creativity, no drive, nothing. He is becoming a burden on this team and he needs to be shown the door as soon as possible. Replaced at half time for Mata to a chorus of cheers from United’s fans.
3. Matteo Darmian’s injury piles pressure on injury-hit United
Matteo Darmian was involved in a terrible clash of heads with Shane Long and seemed dazed as he was replaced by McNair. He was seen spitting blood and there are fears that he has fractured a rib and punctured a lung. Injuries to players such as Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and more recently Ashley Young have left United shy at the back and academy players Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Paddy McNair are now being forced into action. Darmian remains United’s only first team full-back and they will hope he brushes this off.
4. Start Juan Mata
Manchester United fans roared as Marouane Fellaini was replaced at half time by Juan Mata. The Spaniard came on and added zip to United’s passing. While he couldn’t unlock the Saints defense, he tried his best to keep United moving and searched for ways to get through which was much more better than Marouane Fellaini. Mata has been dropped to the bench of late and has been used as an impact substitute but he is the player who should be starting games like these. United look devoid of ideas with him off the pitch. There is no fluidity, no purpose, no direction to United’s play and Mata adds all of that. Play your best players if you want the best results, Louis van Gaal.
5. 11 home games without a first half goal
The most damning stat of the match. Another goal-less first half for United meant that it was their 11th consecutive home game without scoring in the first half. The scores in those games at half time have been 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0.