Manchester United edged out Southampton in a sensational 3-2 win at St. Mary’s, with Louis van Gaal getting one over on old rival Ronald Koeman.
The Red Devils found themselves behind after an early Graziano Pelle strike, before Anthony Martial struck twice. Juan Mata added a third after an incredible period of passing, a two minute spell that saw the ball played between United players 44 times.
David De Gea defied logic and managed to save a header that had seemed to have already passed him. Jose Fonte’s point blank effort was kept out expertly.
Pelle found the net again in the closing stages of the game, after the Red Devils invited pressure before the game drew to a close.
Martial will hit headlines with his brace, and De Gea’s shot stopping masterclass shows no sign of grinding to a halt anytime soon.
Here are three other things we learned during the game…
Not many people would have backed Antony Martial to shine ahead of the £25m Holland international. The 21-year old has looked excellent in Europe, but lacked a true cutting edge today.
He works hard, and clearly is a talent. His superb bit of skill helped set up the third goal, but he hasn’t shown much of his trademark cutting in from the left and firing from range just yet.
Promising signs are definitely there, but he must improve. None of the free-kick prowess is yet to be seen.
Luke Shaw’s injury was always going to effect the Red Devils, but just how much is yet to truly be seen. Going off today at least, he will be a huge miss.
The 20-year old has been fantastic this year, combining incisive attacking play with stout defending. Marco Rojo can’t offer the same genuine pace, and is somewhat suspect defensively.
The whole system is based around solidity and structure in each position. Where Shaw was proving a safe bet until his gruesome injury, doubts remain about the Argentine.
Last year, Ronald Koeman’s side were solid defensively. They were rarely played off the park, always keeping a compact back line, aided by the likes of Victor Wanyama.
However, injuries and player sales have shaken things up on the South Coast. Jose Fonte hasn’t looked anywhere near the player he was last year, and Maya Yoshida’s shocking back pass all but lost Saints the game.
Ryan Bertrand is soon set for a return, and it can’t come soon enough for Koeman and his side.