United probably won’t be impressed that Obafemi came on as substitute for Romeu, who should have been sent off in the first half. Maybe all these VAR cock-ups even out over the season, who knows. Southampton were very good, though, and I hope the Romeu incident doesn’t overshadow that.
Manchester United stay in fifth place after a frustrating draw against an impressive Southampton. A ravenous Anthony Martial turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead during a pulsating first half, but United sat on that lead after the break and were punished when the substitute Michael Obafemi scored an injury-time equaliser.
90+7 min You can’t really begrudge Southampton their equaliser. They’ve been the better team in the second half.
It was a superb ball in from the left by Ward-Prowse. Bednarek flicked it on at the near post and Obafemi forced it over the line from a yard.
GOAL! Man Utd 2-2 Southampton (Obafemi 90+6)
And it leads to an equaliser!
90+4 min There will be five minutes of added time. I’m not sure whether that includes the stoppage for the Williams injury or not.
90+3 min Williams walks slowly off the field and is accompanied down the tunnel. United are down to 10 men and Fred has gone to left back.
90+3 min “Nothing says United are back more than United being outplayed at home by a 12th-placed team and the fans and MBM saying ‘great game, great game’,” says Arthur Tee.
90+2 min Walker-Peters is on his feet but Williams is still being treated. He’s sitting up and is conscious, if groggy.
90+1 min Williams has a gashed head and I doubt he’ll be able to continue. Both teams have used their three substitution blocks.
90 min A clash of heads between Williams and Walker-Peters leads to a break in play.
89 min They’re a pestilent team, Southampton, and I say that with love. They never give opponents a minute’s peace.
88 min Redmond’s cross is headed away by the stooping Matic. United are hanging on a wee bit.
87 min Southampton bring on Michael Obafemi for Oriol Romeu.
86 min: Good save from de Gea! Chris Kavanagh played a good advantage, allowing Redmond to zip past Matic and smack a shot across goal that was punched over the bar by the flying de Gea. It was a camera-friendly save, but a good one nonetheless.
85 min “Agree, Rob, great game,” says Simon McMahon. “And great MBM too. No stereotypes here of course, but hope all your other readers are steaming too. It is Monday night after all.”
84 min A double change for United: Dan James and Scott McTominay replace Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes. United’s revised midfield – Matic, Fred, McTominay – is a reflection of how threatening Southampton have been.
83 min Ward-Prowse is fouled on the edge of the area by Fred. The referee waves play on. But it’s another reminder of Southampton’s threat; they’ve been the better team in the second half.
82 min Long’s header is comfortably saved by de Gea. He was moving away from goal so couldn’t really generate any power.
81 min “This probably requires an entirely separate blog, but what do you think happened with LVG?” says Mark Hooper. “Off the back of the brilliant Netherlands World Cup performances, a blinding pre-season where they were racking up baseball scores if not cricket scores – and all of a sudden he started moaning about not having players good enough for his system, culminating in the night of the long knives after a cup defeat where he sacked half of their promising academy players …? Was he right? Was he past it? I still can’t get my head around it!”
Not a clue. I know a few United fans who loathe him, much more than Moyes and Mourinho. I didn’t really watch much football in his two years at United, which makes me one of the lucky ones.
80 min Martial shoots over from the edge of the box after a terrific 60-yard run that was three parts skill, one part luck.
78 min I’ve just realised I’ve hardly mentioned Mason Greenwood. He’s had a very quiet game, and his main contribution so far has been to receive Oriol Romeu’s studs on his ankle.
76 min Whatever the result, Southampton have been impressive tonight. They look very well coached – and also, for a team with nothing much to play for, extremely motivated.
74 min Smallbone’s dangerous low cross is put behind by Lindelof in the six-yard box. That was good defending, because Shane Long was waiting behind him to score.
74 min “Hi Rob,” says Sean Revill. “I think Martial’s debut season showed that he could be great, even playing in a late LVG team that was averse to chance creation. Then he was up & down under Mourinho, likely as he never really had the manager’s backing and was made to compete with Rashford for a place. I do remember he was in incredible form in the winter of the 17/18 season under Mourinho, before he was bombed out of the team to make room for Sanchez. That worked out well, didn’t it?”
He played up front quite a lot under van Gaal as well, didn’t he?
73 min Luke Shaw has twisted his right ankle while putting a cross in. He’s struggling here.
70 min Southampton use the drinks break to bring on Will Smallbone for Stuart Armstrong.
69 min Rashford beat Walker-Peters at the start of the move with a delicious, Neymaresque piece of skill. He had the ball glued to his right foot as he dragged it to the left and then, in the same movement, knocked it through Walker-Peters’ legs.
68 min: Great defending from Bertrand! That was almost a glorious goal from United. Rashford cut infield from the left, played a lovely one-two with Martial and hit a shot from six yards that was brilliantly blocked by Bertrand.
64 min Fred comes on to replace Paul Pogba, a reflection of how relatively vulnerable United have been in midfield. And Southampton bring on Shane Long for Che Adams.
63 min This is a good spell for Southampton. Walker-Peters, on the right of the area, drives a fine low cross that goes through Maguire’s legs and across the six-yard box.
62 min “Right or wrong: that if Martial was being managed by a Klopp or even a Pochettino, no-one would be hesitating to cite that as the reason for his improvement?” says Geoff Wignall. “It could just be that he now has a better manager than hitherto.”
Geoff, I’m afraid you’ve made the basic error of giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer credit for something.
61 min The game is still very open, and so the next goal feels huge. You might even go so far as to say it will make it 3-1 or 2-2.
57 min “Just saying no one questions De Gea’s work-rate when he welcomes in soft goals with open arms,” says Lewis Atkins. “Maybe the reason Martial wasn’t scoring like this before is that the others around him weren’t good enough.”
That’s definitely a big part of it. But so is his change in attitude, at least in my opinion.