Man Utd miss top-four chance after Saints draw

Manchester United missed the chance to move into the top four after conceding a 96th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw against Southampton.

After big defeats for Chelsea and Leicester at the weekend, Manchester United were presented with the perfect opportunity to move into the Champions League places, but went behind early on when Stuart Armstrong rifled home (12).

However, Marcus Rashford (20) levelled things up eight minutes later before a superb Anthony Martial (23) strike – his 50th Premier League goal – put the hosts ahead until deep into second-half injury time when Michael Obafemi (90+6) bundled the ball home.

Victory would have lifted United to third, but the draw keeps them in fifth spot on goal difference. They have gone level on 59 points with Leicester in fourth, who they play on the final day of the season.

CL race

United are now unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions – matching the same unbeaten run from 2013 under Sir Alex Ferguson – and have not lost in 11 Premier League games.

For Southampton, they are now four matches unbeaten in the top flight and they remain in 12th place, level on 45 points with Everton.

How Man Utd missed chance to go third

Michael Obafemi celebrates his late equaliser against Manchester United
Michael Obafemi celebrates his late equaliser against Manchester United

Martial should have opened things up inside 10 minutes, as he raced through on goal after latching onto a poor mistake by James Ward-Prowse. However, Alex McCarthy was out and raised his arms to beat the attempted strike away. David De Gea was then in action at the other end a minute later as he held a stinging effort from Armstrong.

But the goalkeeper was unable to keep the Southampton midfielder out a second time. Paul Pogba could not hold onto a pass from De Gea, with Danny Ings nipping in to feed the ball to Nathan Redmond on the left. He, in turn, picked out the run of Armstrong towards the back post as the Scotland international finished emphatically.

Player ratings

Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Shaw (7), Maguire (7), Lindelof (7), Matic (6), Pogba (7), Fernandes (7), Martial (8), Greenwood (6), Rashford (7).

Subs used: Fred (6), Williams (6), James (n/a), McTominay (n/a).

Southampton: McCarthy (7), Walker-Peters (6), Bertrand (7), Stephens (7), Bednarek (7), Romeu (6), Ward-Prowse (7), Redmond (7), Armstrong (7), Adams (6), Ings (6).

Subs used: Long (6), Smallbone (6), Obafemi (n/a).

Man of the match: Anthony Martial.

With their recent form, United were not going to be held back for long and equalised in the 20th minute. Pogba picked out Martial in the middle of a packed box and the striker held the ball up well with the Southampton shirts swarming, before poking the ball out for the waiting Rashford on the left who fired home into the far corner.

Martial was not going to be left out of the party and it was a thunderous finish that put the hosts ahead three minutes later. Bruno Fernandes picked out the Frenchman down the left flank and he drove into the area, breezing past Kyle Walker-Peters before smashing the ball high past McCarthy at the near post.

Team news

  • Man Utd named the same XI for a fifth Premier League game in a row. The last time they named the same team in five consecutive Premier League matches was in January/February 1993, when they had the same XI for six successive games.
  • Southampton also named the same starting team, doing so for their third successive Premier League game.

Southampton were lucky to go into the break with a full complement of players as Oriel Romeu caught Mason Greenwood on the ankle with a late, studs-up challenge, but he avoided a booking and VAR did not intervene after a review.

The second half began with a shot from both sides. Southampton hit United on the counter-attack as Armstrong found Redmond on the left, but he dragged his shot wide of the post. At the other end, Rashford went for power but could only skim the side of the net.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored in quick succession to put Manchester United ahead against Southampton
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored in quick succession to put Manchester United ahead

United had their chances to put the game to bed as the game wore on. Rashford went close again in the 69th minute, but a mixture of Ryan Bertrand and McCarthy saw the striker sky his effort into the empty Old Trafford stands. Martial then produced a similar finish as he took advantage of some slow play from Jack Stephens, but the Saints defender did well to track the France international back and force his shot wide.

Southampton then fired a late warning shot when Redmond forced a leaping, one-handed save from De Gea with the game going into extended injury time when Walker-Peters and Brandon Williams – who came on for the injured Luke Shaw – collided in the air. The Manchester United youngster came off worse and was forced off, taking the hosts down to 10 men.

Stuart Armstrong and James Ward-Prowse celebrate after the former gave Southampton the lead at Old Trafford
Stuart Armstrong celebrates after giving Southampton an early lead

Saints took advantage when they equalised in the sixth minute of injury time. Ward-Prowse delivered a trademark in swinging corner, which Jan Bednarek glanced on at the near post. It landed to substitute Obafemi, who turned the ball home with his heel to round off another fine away performance from the Saints.

Man of the match – Anthony Martial

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After reaching his 50th Premier League goal, we take a look at Anthony Martial’s greatest goals in the competition.

Manchester United’s front three continue to impress and Martial was the star of the show, with a goal and assist to start things off. His strike was incredibly well taken, notching up his 50th Premier League goal, and it came from a superb solo run, leaving Walker-Peters in his wake.

He made a number of similar runs through the game and had the highest number of dribbles in the game (6) as well as sprints (18). He had eight touches in the opposition box and a passing accuracy of 94 per cent, making it another fine performance from the striker.

Opta stats

  • Michael Obafemi’s equaliser for Southampton was the latest Premier League goal Manchester United have conceded since Opta have exact goal times available (2006-07).
  • Manchester United have lost and drawn a Premier League game at Old Trafford thanks to a goal scored in the 90th minute this season – in their 519 home games in the competition before this season, they’d only drawn one game thanks to a 90th-minute strike from the opposition (L0).
  • Anthony Martial (2 assists) and Marcus Rashford (4) have combined for six Premier League goals this season – no Manchester United duo have ever combined for more in a single campaign.

What’s next?

Manchester United are back in action on Thursday when they travel to Crystal Palace (kick-off 8.15pm) before facing Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Sunday (kick-off 6pm).

They then face West Ham in the Premier League on Wednesday 22 July (kick-off 6pm), live on Sky Sports, before travelling to Leicester on the final day of the season (kick-off 4pm) in what could be a straight shoot-out for the Champions League places.

Wednesday 22nd July 5:00pm

United will restart their Europa League campaign on Wednesday August 5 when they host Linz ASK in the second leg of their last 16 tie, which United lead 5-0.

For Southampton, they welcome Brighton on Thursday (kick-off 8.15pm) before travelling along the south coast to take on Bournemouth on Sunday (kick-off 2pm). They will finish the season on Sunday July 26 with a home game against Sheffield United (kick-off 4pm).

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