Manchester United are four points clear of rival Manchester City in the Premier League table. While that's a substantial lead, it's far from insurmountable. The Red Devils must maintain their form in order to reclaim the trophy.
They will get tested on Wednesday by a Southampton side that's unbeaten in six league matches. That includes back-to-back draws with European contenders Chelsea and Everton, giving the Saints a boost of confidence as they head to Old Trafford.
Here's a look at all the important viewing information for the Premier League battle, followed by a match preview and prediction.
Where: Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, England
When: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
The biggest key to this match is Southampton's back line. The Saints rank near the bottom of the league with 40 goals allowed and Manchester United leads the EPL with 57 goals scored. That's not a promising sign for the underdogs.
In the first meeting between the sides, Southampton actually held the lead twice. Robin van Persie wiped out those advantages each time, however, and then completed his hat trick in stoppage time to steal the road victory for United.
It took some time for everybody to embrace their new roles, but the United lineup is as dangerous as expected when the club brought in Van Persie during the summer. He combines with Wayne Rooney, and Javier Hernandez off the bench to form a fearsome attack.
Having that type of depth is key. United are still alive in the Champions League and the FA Cup, which means it's going to be a busy second half as they chase the league title. Having three players that can carry the attack will help them avoid slumps.
It's also important for matches like the one they face on Wednesday. Southampton can't match the Red Devils' talent level and it would be easy for Van Persie and Co. to overlook them. But they have been able to avoid letdowns by pushing each other.
If the Saints are going to keep it close, Rickie Lambert must lead the way. The veteran striker has been in good form lately, netting four goals in his last six appearances, giving his club a little relegation race breathing room in the process.
United should be able to control the match from start to finish. Southampton might be able to net a goal on the counterattack, but the Red Devils simply have too much firepower and will cruise to another victory to extend their edge in the league.
Prediction: Manchester United 3, Southampton 1
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