Manchester United could do something they have not done since Jose Mourinho was manager – Samuel Luckhurst

Sancho to start?

Two years ago, United won their opening fixture by four goals and made one change for their next match, with a right winger coming into the XI. History could repeat itself today.

Daniel James was the poorest performer against Leeds and Jadon Sancho’s introduction would have been sooner had Leeds remained level for longer than four minutes.

Sancho eventually debuted and he started in the midweek friendly with Burnley at Old Trafford, warm-up acts to the possible main event at Southampton.

Varane on the bench?

It is not often Victor Lindelof outperforms Harry Maguire but that was the case in the Leeds game. Lindelof has been more switched on since returning to United, his focus doubtless reinforced by the arrival of Raphael Varane and his status bolstered by the Sweden captaincy.

Southampton, deprived of Danny Ings, do not necessarily command a Varane start and the Frenchman has only trained for a week, his omission for the Burnley friendly potentially telling. Lindelof could continue with Maguire.

Two in two?

United have not won their first two games in a new season since the 4-0 double over West Ham and Swansea under Jose Mourinho in 2017, the last time a championship challenge was expected from them.

The enthralling victory against Leeds has fuelled optimism and confidence among players and supporters and Southampton already resemble Championship material. Ings was replaced by Adam Armstrong, formerly of Blackburn.

The return of supporters to St Mary’s could lift the home side but this is a game United should win with relative ease.

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Away record to continue?

United are unbeaten in their last 26 away Premier League matches, a run that stretches back to January 2020. Southampton were one of the nine sides United vanquished from a losing position last term on the day Edinson Cavani (virtually) bonded with supporters in a 3-2 comeback.

Southampton have not beaten United on their own patch since August 2003, the week of Cristiano Ronaldo’s first United start.

Midfield tweak?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switched to a midfield diamond at Southampton last season and the shape was retained even after two half-time substitutions. It was Donny van de Beek’s first league start and, despite the two-goal deficit and added-time winner, United produced their most impressive domestic display of the campaign.

Southampton’s midfield axis of James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu is one of their stronger suits and Solskjaer may prefer to keep Fred and Scott McTominay.

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