Manchester United will be looking for an improved performance when they travel to Southampton, after an unconvincing start to the season. The Saints, meanwhile, will be eager to register their first points of the season in front of their home fans.

Manchester United


Sir Alex Ferguson's side have had a bad start to the Premier League season, beaten 0-1 by Everton in the first game, and fortunate to win 3-2 against Fulham.

Nigel Adkins' Saints, on the hand, have been mixed so far. The newly promoted side has lost both games, to Manchester City and Wigan Athletic. A heroic effort against the Premier League champions at the Etihad was followed by an ordinary display against the Latics at home and improvement and consistency will be Adkins' watchwords now.

Both clubs will be desperate for a win here. Domestic competitions go into an international break following this round of fixtures and Ferguson will not want to go into the break with an even bigger gap to early leaders Chelsea and City. As for Southampton, a third successive defeat could set a depressing tone for the rest of their season, sap player confidence and result in a relegation battle.

Team News and Tactics

Southampton: It has been a busy end to the transfer window for the Saints and the club finally managed to land marquee signing Gaston Ramirez. This game might, however, come too early for the Uruguay winger and fellow new signing Maya Yoshida of Japan. However Emmanuel Mayuka, the club's new striker from Zambia, is set to make his debut at some stage in the game. Midfielder Jack Cork and winger Steve De Ridder are sidelined. Otherwise, Adkins has no concerns and a full squad to choose from.

Gaston Ramirez
Southampton have snapped up the highly rated Gaston Ramirez Reuters

Up front it will certainly be the Championship Player of the Year last season, Ricky Lambert, and he will probably be partnered by Jay Rodriguez. Guly do Prado is expected to play in the hole behind the two strikers but the Brazilian is also being investigated by the club for drink driving charges and may not feature. In that case, Mayuka could make his first start for the club, as could another Japanese signing, Tadanari Lee. Captain Adam Lallana, Steven Davis and Morgan Schneiderlin will feature in midfield and the latter is expected to play deep and mark United's free-roaming playmaker Shinji Kagawa.

Manchester United: Ferguson will be without Wayne Rooney after the England international suffered a gash to his thigh against Fulham last week, while winger Ashley Young will also miss this tie due to a knee injury. United's injury problems at the back continue as Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all remain sidelined. However, the Red Devils will be boosted by the return of centre back Jonny Evans.

David de Gea should retain his place in goal despite competition from Anders Lindegaard. Evans will partner skipper Nemanja Vidic at the heart of United's defence, while Patrice Evra will surely feature at left-back, despite the arrival of Alexander Buttner from Holland. Last week's goalscorer Rafael will continue at right-back, to make up a back four of specialist defenders for the first time this season.

Shiji Kagawa
Kagawa has called upon his United team-mates to play the ball more centrally towards his feet Reuters

Evans' return will also enable makeshift centre back Michael Carrick to feature in his usual role in central midfield to partner Tom Cleverley, with Paul Scholes and Anderson also options for Ferguson. Antonia Valencia and Nani are likely to start on the wings, with Kagawa playing just behind the main striker. Rooney's unfortunate injury has temporarily resolved Ferguson's main selection dilemma, and Robin van Persie will once again lead the attack. United can also call on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez if they decide to play their traditional 4-4-2.

Probable Line-ups

Southampton (4-3-1-2): K Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; S Davis, Schneiderlin, Lallana; do Prado; Lambert, Rodriguez

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Kagawa, Nani; van Persie

Where to Watch Live

Kickoff is at 4 pm BST, with Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD airing the match in the UK.