Writer: Abe Hawken
Date:Saturday January 3 2009
St. Mary's Stadium
The time has come, what everyone in the red half of Hampshire has been waiting for...Manchester United at home. With the majority of the F.A Cup 3rd round being played today, Saints fans are teased as they wet their lips at the prospect of seeing the current English, European and World champions in live action. And of course it is a sell-out with Manchester United as you would assume, bringing over four thousand supporters.
Manchester United have not been beaten in the 3rd round of the F.A Cup since 1984, which is just one of Manchester United's records. However, it is the F.A Cup and miracles can happen.
Nevertheless, you can't hide from the fact that Southampton's home record is the worst in the league, having only won once, way back in September.
United, on the contrary, sit 3rd in the Premier League with two games in hand. But, their away form isn't perfect having only won four away from Old Trafford, drawing four and losing two.
Whatever happens, regardless of the result, the young Saints will be looking to impress in front of the Setanta cameras. Generally speaking, Jan Poortvliet's side have played better when the pressure is off them - so this factor may play into the hands of the Hampshire side.
Le Tissier told the Daily Echo: 'It will be great to see the stadium full again. Hopefully that will inspire the players, although it didn`t seem to do too much against Nottingham Forest when there was quite a lot in.'
"They`re huge underdogs, but they`ve got nothing to lose, that`s the great thing. They can be completely relaxed about the whole day."
Saints midfielder Andrew Surman has recovered from an ankle injury and may start tomorrow, while 19 year old Morgan Schneiderlin is also fit and looks to start in the heart of the Saints midfield.
Saints starlet Adam Lallana, however, will face a late fitness test to determine if he is fit following an ankle injury picked up in training.
Winger Lee Holmes is doubtful after aggravating his quad.
The Saints striker has been facing a lot of criticism from fans following his recent goal drought and lack of effort. However, after a strong performance against Reading last Sunday and a goal to his name, McGoldrick will be looking to show the nation what he can really do.
Carlos Tevez is resting in Argentina, so a start for Wayne Rooney could be on the cards.
Captain Rio Ferdinand will miss the match due to back spasms in his back.
The Brazilian youngster has shined at right back, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson will surely give the gifted defender a start tomorrow.
Rafael notched a fine strike against Arsenal this season, however it was too late and the Red Devils lost the match 2-1 at the Emirates.
United haven't been knocked out of the 3rd round since 1984, a 2-0 defeat away to Bournemouth, maybe the south of England can once again prevent the English giants from entering the 4th round once again.
The last time the two sides met, Manchester United ended the Saints' 27 year spell in the top flight of English football and the Saints will want revenge against United.
Mr. Mike Riley (West Yorkshire)
Realistic Prediction: Saints 0 - 2 Man United... But it is the cup, and anything can happen!!
Barnsley (A) Saturday 10th January
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Date:Saturday January 3 2009
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