Saints held by United

By SFC Media time Wed 17 May Saints vs Man Utd
Photo by Matt Watson | Manolo Gabbiadini
Wed 17 May 7.45PM
Premier League
Manchester United
Romeu (10') Soares (37')
yellow card
Jones (51')
Referee: Mike Dean | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,425

Southampton were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United, but pulled a point clear of West Brom in the battle for eighth position.

Saints had the better of the opportunities at St Mary's, but were denied on a number of occasions by United keeper Sergio Romero, whose string of fine saves was highlighted by a superb penalty stop from Manolo Gabbiadini.

The result takes Saints to 46 points, one ahead of ninth-placed West Brom, ahead of Sunday's final game of the campaign, at home to Stoke City.

Manager Claude Puel made eight changes from the side that won 2-1 at Middlesbrough, as he freshened his side up in the midst of a hectic spell.

Fraser Forster, Maya Yoshida and Oriol Romeu were the only players to retain their positions, with Matt Targett starting at left-back in what was his first appearance since October, as he completed his return from a long-term injury.

It was in fact Targett who had the first effort of the night, in just the second minute, as a loose ball broke to him 18 yards out, only for his shot to fly over.

Shortly afterwards, Saints were awarded a glorious chance to take the lead, as referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty when Eric Bailly handled an angled ball forward on the edge of the area.

Gabbiadini stepped up and sent a low effort towards the bottom corner, but Romero sprung brilliantly to his right to divert it just wide with his fingertips.

Manolo Gabbaidini misses from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Photo by Matt Watson/SFC/Digital South.
Manolo Gabbiadini takes his spot kick

Almost immediately, Fraser Forster had to make a good stop to deny Bailly, after he cut into space on the edge of the area, before Anthony Martial angled a low shot wide from just outside the area in the 15th minute.

In between those opportunities, Romeu was booked for a foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Saints were soon back on the front foot again, though, as James Ward-Prowse bent a free-kick wide from 25 yards, while Phil Jones made a late, sliding intervention to deny Cédric, after he’d got in on the angle from a Dušan Tadić pass.

The right-back would be the next man into the book, as he was cautioned for pulling back Martial in the 37th minute.

In the last minute of the half, Redmond exchanged a smart one-two with Steven Davis just outside the area, but Romero was equal to his right-footed strike from 20 yards.

Neither side made any changes at the break, and Saints were again positive within minutes of the restart, twice forcing Romero into excellent saves.

The first was after Cédric won a free-kick on the edge of the area, with Ward-Prowse touching the ball to Dušan Tadić, who saw his fierce drive pushed away, before Romeu's effort after a loose ball that fell to him in the area in the 55th minute was also repelled.

dusan tadic during the Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England on 17 May 2017. Photo by Naomi Baker/SFC/Digital South.
Dušan Tadić sends in a corner

Moments later, Jack Stephens got a clear sight of goal after a Ward-Prowse corner looped to him in space at the back post, but he got his volley wrong, and sent it across the face of goal instead, with United able to scramble clear.

Saints were well on top, but could not find a way past Romeo, as he sprung to his right to divert wide a Ward-Prowse effort that was destined for the top corner.

While the hosts were unable to make their pressire pay there was always danger United could punish them and they came close to doing so in the 66th minute, as Wayne Rooney threatened to break clear, before turning and laying the ball off to Juan Mata, whose shot from a great position just inside the area was high and wide.

Puel was forced to withdraw Cédric in the 69th minute, after he picked up a knock, with Jérémy Pied coming on in his place.

Saints went close again soon after, but Jones threw himself in front of Ward-Prowse's effort from close range, while Martial then bent a beautiful shot against the post from 20 yards at the other end.

With 13 minutes left, Puel made his final substitution, as Sofiane Boufal was thrown on for Ward-Prowse.

It was one of the other subs who had the next big chance, though, as Rodriguez was slipped through on the edge of the area, but he spun and fired just wide of the far post.

Saints continued to work hard after that for another opportunity, but there was no way through, as both teams had to settle for a point.

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Match sponsor: Virgin Media

Head to Head Stats

Manchester United
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Fraser Forster (GK)
Maya Yoshida
Jack Stephens
Matt Targett
Cédric Soares yellow card
replace Jérémy Pied (69′)
Oriol Romeu yellow card
James Ward-Prowse
replace Sofiane Boufal (77′)
Steven Davis (C)
Manolo Gabbiadini
replace Jay Rodriguez (62′)
Dusan Tadic
Nathan Redmond
Charlie Austin
Jordy Clasie
Mouez Hassen
Sofiane Boufal
Jérémy Pied
Martín Cáceres
Jay Rodriguez

Manchester United

Sergio Romero (GK)
Chris Smalling
Phil Jones yellow card
Eric Bailly
Matteo Darmian
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Anthony Martial
Axel Tuanzebe
replace Michael Carrick (64′)
Marouane Fellaini
replace Ander Herrera (75′)
Juan Mata
replace Marcus Rashford (69′)
Wayne Rooney (C)
Ander Herrera
Jesse Lingard
Joel Pereira
Demetri Mitchell
Marcus Rashford
Scott McTominay
Michael Carrick
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