Match Preview: Southampton vs Manchester United

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be fit to face Southampton in Monday night’s match.

The England striker has recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of the game against Stoke City in mid-week.

Saints are looking to bounce back after two straight defeats against a United side that has recorded four wins in a row.

The Red Devils are a point behind Southampton who are fourth in the table and both sides have a game in hand over third placed West Ham.


Both sides are struggling with injury problems and United are still without record signing Angel di Maria who suffered a hamstring injury against Hull last weekend.

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The Dutchman also confirmed that Jonny Evans is ready to return in defence after playing two games for the Under-21s however Radamel Falcao is still only fit enough to play 20 minutes.

Southampton also have their share of injury problems with Jack Cork ruled out for six weeks after injuring his ankle against Arsenal.

Morgan Schneiderlin is still out with a groin injury and Toby Alderweireld remains a doubt after injuring his hamstring.

Given their injury troubles the south coast side are poised to promote more youngsters to the first team; Jason McCarthy, Jake Hesketh and Ryan Seager all trained with the senior side over the weekend and could join Harrison Reed on the bench.

Saints manager Ronald Koeman remains unperturbed by the inclusion of the youngsters: “I’m a manager at the club who likes to have development of young players.That means also that you give chances to play.”

Koeman is also keeping a level-head when it comes to his side’s recent form after losing to Manchester City and Arsenal: “We keep going because we know our qualities and one time again our way of playing makes winning games. I don’t have doubts about that.”


Tonight’s game will also see two of the best goalkeepers in the league facing each other, David de Gea won United’s player of the month for November.

Fraser Forster meanwhile has conceded just four goals at home all season, three of which came against City.

The 26-year-old has so far justified his £11m price tag, Koeman said: “He’s one of the best. For something he is the second or the third goalkeeper of England, of course if you pay that amount for a goalkeeper that means a lot.”


The match has been given extra spice after van Gaal fell out with Koeman when the pair worked together at Ajax in 2004.

Their relationship has warmed in recent years but van Gaal remains unhappy: “He engineered my departure from Ajax,” said the Dutchman in 2006, “With support from within the club and help from the media. I asked him whether he had deliberately used the media and his answer was yes."

The two managers last faced each other in February 2007 in an Eredivisie match; van Gaal’s AZ Alkmaar ran out 3-2 winners against PSV Eindhoven.

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Louis van Gaal
Manchester United

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