PREMIER LEAGUE | Wednesday May 17, 2017 | St. Mary’s Stadium | Attendance: 31,425.
Manchester United drew goalless against Southampton in the club’s final Premier League away game of the 2016/17 season.
At the sound of the whistle at the beginning of the first half, Southampton started the game with an incredible urgency that left me befuddled. United and Argentine national goalie, Sergio Romero, proved to be the hero in goal with several brilliant saves, including a fine stop to deny Manolo Gabbiadini from the penalty spot early on.
After the toothless draw at St. Mary’s Stadium United are now winless in five league games but, with hopes of finishing in the top four already over, the main focus remains the UEFA Europa League final next Wednesday against Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden. If United triumphs, the club will secure qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League. .
The hosts were awarded a penalty after just five minutes when Eric Bailly was adjudged to have handled a cross-field pass inside the box by referee Mike Dean. But Sergio Romero got down to his right to tip Gabbiadini’s low effort around the post superbly and saved the game. Romero minded the goal well in his second Premier League appearance of the season.. .
HALF-TIME MATCH STATS
Possession: Southampton 51% United 49%
Shots: Southampton 7 United 7
Shots on target: Southampton 3 United 1
Corners: Southampton 3 United 3
At the sound of the whistle at the beginning of the second half, Southampton started the game with the same urgency with which they began the first half and Romero almost single-handedly kept United level with a series of impressive saves – to prove boss Jose Mourinho’s present preference for the Argentine keeper.
The Argentine beat away a fierce 20-yard effort from Dusan Tadic, tipped behind Oriol Romeu’s shot inside the box behind and acrobatically clawed away a curler from Ward-Prowse before the hour mark as United were forced to withstand heavy pressure from the energetic hosts on their turf.
FULL-TIME MATCH STATS
Possession: Southampton 53% United 47%
Shots: Southampton 17 United 11
Shots on target: Southampton 6 United 1
Corners: Southampton 7 United 3
Southampton: Forster; Cedric (Pied 69), Stephens, Yoshida, Targett; Romeu, Davis (c), Ward-Prowse (Boufal 77); Tadic, Gabbiadini (Rodriguez 62), Redmond.
Subs not used: Hassen, Caceres, Clasie, Austin.
Booked: Romeu, Cedric.
Manchester United: Romero; Bailly, Jones, Smalling, Darmian; Tuanzebe (Carrick 64), Fellaini (Herrera 75); Mata (Rashford 69), Rooney (c), Mkhitaryan; Martial.
Subs not used: Pereira, Mitchell, Lingard, McTominay.
The game at St. Mary’s Stadium ended as a draw, and I was emotionless. My main concern and focus remains the UEFA Europa League final next Wednesday against Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden – not the Premier League any more! I can’t wait . . .
Up Man U!