When Man Utd parted company with Jose Mourinho back in December and brought in club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a caretaker basis, many assumed this was little more than a nostalgia act – a chance to see Ole back at the club for a time while the hierarchy went about searching for a permanent successor to the Portuguese boss. However, in the time since Solskjaer’s return, United have gone on a run of 13 wins in 16 matches, tasting defeat only once – and this run of form has led many to assume that the 46-year-old will be given the job on a permanent basis at some point between now and the start of the 2019-20 campaign. This past weekend, the Red Devils welcomed Southampton to Old Trafford in what would turn out to be a modern-day classic game.Looking purely at the performances of the players on the pitch, it seems difficult to envisage that the guests are struggling as badly as they are at near the relegation zone, but United almost seemed to roll the years back some two decades as they dug down deep when needed, overturned a deficit (albeit a surprising one) and did enough to take the points at the end of the day. That type of output was classic of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, and Solskjaer – having played for the club under Ferguson in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s – seems to have taken much of the Scotsman’s managerial style on board.
Things looked OK in the early stages for United before Yan Valery’s absolute screamer gave the guests the advantage.It wasn’t until the 53rd minute before United had a response, in the form of 23-year-old Brazilian Andreas Pereira. He scored his first Premier League goal with an equally impressive finish before setting up former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku just six minutes later to swing the game in United’s advantage. Once-capped England international James Ward-Prowse then levelled the game once again with a stunning free kick, and Saints looked as though they were going to hang on for an impressive point.
Just two minutes from time, Lukaku popped up again to restore United’s lead, finishing calmly past the impressive Angus Gunn and sending the Old Trafford faithful into rapture. The Belgian striker celebrated by taking his shirt off and was subsequently booked, costing any fantasy managers with him in their squad a point. The scoreline could have looked far more one-sided, however – United were awarded a penalty in injury time. Paul Pogba took the spot kick, but it was saved by Gunn. United fans took to Twitter afterwards to question why the Frenchman took the penalty – especially when Lukaku was on a hattrick – but ultimately it mattered little as far as the end result went. United won 3-2, but to coin something of a cliche Saints fans had plenty of positives to enjoy in this entertaining afternoon’s football.
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