Manchester United will take on Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium in their third match for the 2012/13 English Premier League season—eager to chalk up their second win of the season against the newly promoted Saints.
The Red Devils will be without several key players, but also welcome back key personnel for this tricky away fixture. That means there's some crucial players and partnerships to watch out for in this one, so let's take a look at United's lineup against Southampton.
According to The Guardian, United's starting lineup is as follows:
Defense: De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Evans, Da Silva
Defensive Midfield: Cleverley, Carrick
Attacking Midfield: Nani, Kagawa, Valencia
Striker: Van Persie
Players unavailable due to injury
Manchester United will be without several key players when they take on the Saints, losing players right across the pitch for this fixture.
Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones are both still unavailable for another two weeks, according to The Guardian, and are both huge omissions in defense. The England international Ferdinand is battling a hamstring injury whilst Jones is unavailable due to a back injury.
On the attacking edge, both Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney are absent from this match. Rooney suffered a leg gash against Fulham and looks likely to miss the next three weeks of football, whilst Young is out with a knee injury until September 15.
Both Darren Fletcher and Chris Smalling are still unavailable.
Players returning from injury
Johnny Evans looks set to make his return into the starting side for United after making a successful return for the reserves last week. The defender is a much-needed inclusion in the Red Devils' defense—with no offense intended there to Michael Carrick or Antonio Valencia, who simply aren't first-class defenders in the English Premier League.
If Evans is a late inclusion, Carrick would be the the likely partner with Nemanja Vidic in central defense for United.
Adjustments to be made by United
Due to the omissions and returns mentioned above, several key positional changes have taken place to United's starting side and substitutes list.
With Evans returning to defense, Carrick and/or Valencia are both available for selection in their preferred positions, and have both been selected accordingly. Carrick takes his place in central midfield, whilst Valencia is out on the right flank, with the former's relationship with Tom Cleverley a key relationship for United this season.
Nani gets a starting berth due to Ashley Young's injury—creating a great opportunity for the Portuguese winger to showcase what he can provide for United this year.
Rooney's injury also allows Van Persie to start as the lone striker—a position that he excelled in last week and combined beautifully with Shinji Kagawa. It will be fascinating to see how those two combine again this year.
Sir Alex Ferguson will pick his substitutes from the following list of players: Anders Lindergaard, Danny Welbeck, Ryan Giggs, Javier Hernandez, Nick Powell, Paul Scholes, Federico Macheda, Bebe, Anderson and Alexander Buttner.
If I were to make a prediction, I'd be going with Lindergaard, Buttner, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Welbeck and Hernandez—though we will have to wait and see what will tricks Sir Alex will have up his sleeve for his 1000th Premier League match.
What do you think about United's squad for the match vs. Southampton?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!