If you were told before the season that when Manchester United and Southampton met in October, one team would be in fourth place and the other would be in ninth, your likely response would have been that Southampton had done well for themselves to be a top-10 team after seven matches.
Of course, it's Southampton that are in fourth place thus far, having surrendered just two goals on the season, while United have already lost three league games and have given up nine goals in the process.
The times, they are a'changin'? Well, it's still way too early to write off this Red Devils squad, but don't be surprised when the Saints give them all they can handle.
When: Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. BST)
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra
Odds: Manchester United (52.8 percent), Southampton (22.5 percent) and draw (24.6 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports.
Interestingly, Everton had become known for notoriously slow starts over the years with David Moyes at the helm. Now that he's with Manchester United, it's the Red Devils that have started slowly while Everton have just one loss thus far.
You do the math.
Of course, while Manchester United have struggled, Wayne Rooney has been brilliant. In nine appearances in all competitions, he's contributed five goals and four assists, quite an impressive tally considering the constant rumours of his departure this summer.
Outside of the defense, there have been other issues for United. Moyes' marginalization of Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa as he struggles to find the proper rotation for the squad; Robin van Persie battling through groin and toe injuries; a lack of reinforcements for the midfield this summer outside of Marouane Fellaini.
This is a team still finding an identity in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson years.
Of course, it's been all roses for Southampton, which have notched impressive wins over West Brom, Liverpool and Swansea City already this season. In defenders Dejan Lovren, Jose Fonte, Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne and Callum Chambers and keeper Artur Boruc, the Saints are solid in the back.
If Rickie Lambert can find a bit more of a consistent scoring touch—just two goals in seven games—Southampton are going to be a handful for every team they face.
It's hard to imagine Manchester United losing a second straight game at home (they lost to West Brom on September 28 at Old Trafford, 2-1). But given the form of both teams, it's not so hard to imagine a draw in this contest.
Southampton are for real, folks, and managed to keep a dangerous Liverpool side—albeit one without Luis Suarez—off the score sheet. They won't blank Manchester United at Old Trafford, but a Lambert strike will ensure they earn the draw.
This one ends even, 1-1.
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