Toothless Man Utd Drop To Third
English Premier League Report: Manchester United v Southampton 30 December 2017
English Premier League
Result: Manchester United 0-0 Southampton
Date: 30 December 2017
Venue: Old Trafford
Manchester United will head into the new year third in the Premier League behind Manchester City and Chelsea after a dismal 0-0 draw with Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku spurned a fantastic opportunity to put the Red Devils in front after three minutes. He met Juan Mata’s cross from the right with his head, but fired just over the bar.
Another three minutes later, David de Gea made a good diving save to keep out James Ward-Prowse’s low left-footed shot from inside the box. Sofiane Boufal was there on the rebound, but was flagged offside.
José Mourinho suffered a blow when Lukaku clashed heads with Wesley Hoedt and had to be stretchered off 13 minutes in after a lengthy delay. The Portuguese brought Marcus Rashford on in his place.
Southampton did not give the Red Devils an easy ride in the early stages, but Alex McCarthy had to be alert to keep the scores level after 26 minutes, sticking out a leg to deny a Juan Mata strike.
United were unfortunate not to win a penalty shortly after the half-hour mark as their handball shout against Maya Yoshida was turned down. The defender was attempting to halt Jesse Lingard in the box when he dangerously stuck out an arm and made contact with the ball, but referee Craig Pawson was unmoved.
The hosts appeared rattled, and in the 50th minute, de Gea had to make a trademark wonder save to deny Shane Long. The striker got ahead of Nemanja Matić to meet Ward-Prowse’s low cross, but the Spanish keeper showed lightning quick reflexes to tip his shot over the bar.
United’s frustration was evident, with Mourinho engaging in heated discussions with fourth official Bobby Madley. Ashley Young was lucky to escape punishment for an elbow on Dušan Tadić.
United thought they had broken the deadlock in the 81st minute, when Paul Pogba tapped in at the far post after a scramble in the box following a free-kick. However, an offside flag against the Frenchman ruined the moment. Had he not touched the ball, Anthony Martial’s effort may well have trickled into the net.
That calamitous moment spared Southampton a much-needed point as they moved two clear of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, United ended a mixed 2017 on a disastrous low.