FT: Manchester United 2 Southampton 1

Final words - Steve says: "Well I must say the game sounded dreadful for United .. We need a Back four and we are struggling badly we should have been 3-4 up not struggling 2-1." Mike says: "The number of predictions I've seen recently from Chelsea, Everton and MU fans but strangely it doesn't happen. Come on you Saints."

FULL TIME. That's it, United hold on to go seven points clear. Thanks for everyone's views tonight, stay with us for reaction.

90 (+3)
Lallana's shot is blocked on the edge of the box and that is it.

90 (+2)
Clyne and Rooney tussle for the ball near the United byline and Rooney wins a throw in to give his side some respite.

90 (+1)
Lambert crosses from 22 yards on the right, Rodriquez heads at goal from 12 yards in the box but it is wide.

Three minutes of added time are announced.

It is all Saints - United are holding on.

Rooney clears the box. Lambert appeals for handball but the ref waves play on.

Saints continue to press but the United back line hold firm.

Saints press and the ball falls to Lambert in the box who shoots from 15 yards but Vidic is quickly out and blocks. The ball falls to Schneiderlin but he blasts well over from 20 yards.

Dave the Rave says: "COME ON YOU SAINTS"

Lallana whips the free-kick in from 30 yards on the left, RVP heads and Carrick clears.

Rafael pulls back Lallana on the left and is rightly booked.

Rooney is played in one-on-one with Boruc by RVP but the Saints keeper is quickly off his line, spreads himself big and collects the ball at the striker's feet.

RVP wins a corner on the left. Rooney takes but Saints clear.

Saints take the corner but Utd clear. Shaw is on for Fox at left back for Saints.

Rodriquez wins a free-kick 22 yards out in front of goal. Lambert takes and De Gea makes a great save to his left before Saints win a corner on the right.

Welbeck presses but Saints clear the box. Then Boruc produces a wonder save to deny RVP from point blank range, then RVP has the ball in the net from a Rooney cross from the left but he is given offside.

Vidic is booked.

RVP releases Jones into the left side of the box but Schneiderlin clears. Evra then crosses back into the box from the left and United win a throw in 10 yards out on the left.

Nani is on for Kagawa as Fergie makes his last throw of the dice and tries again to stem the Saints tide.

Clem says: "So proud of the Saints tonight. Two years ago I was getting drenched watching us lose at Walsall. Tonight we are bossing Man Utd at Old Trafford!"

Clyne crosses from the right byline and Ferdinand puts it out for a corner on the left. Saints take and win a throw in 25 yards out on the left.

RVP finds Rooney to the left of the box. He comes inside and shoots from 15 yards but Boruc gathers his low shot at the second attempt.

Saints continue to press but Kagawa intercepts and Carrick releases Welbeck with a great pass down the left. He crosses into the box but Yoshida clears.

Rooney releases RVP to the left of goal, he crosses back into the centre but Hooiveld clears.

Rafael is on for Anderson, Jones has gone into midfield.

Rodriquez tries an effort from 25 yards out in front of goal but his effort is well wide.

Saints continue to press and word is Rafael is coming on to sure up United, with Anderson coming off.

More comments - Gary says: "United's midfield is non existent in the second half, no wonder Fergie is off the bench!" Kay says: "Man U 3 Southampton 1 This is the game Rooney gets back to form and gets a hat trick. Come on United!!!" alan says: "anyone from another planet would think saints are playing at home and we're playing with 9 men." Berendon says: "Cleverley on for Welbeck to sure up the middle. Kagawa on the right, Rooney out to the left and push for the 3rd. Come on United!"

Rodriquez crosses from the right into the box but de Gea gathers. He then puts his goal kick out of play and Saints come again.

Ferdinand is on for Smalling in the centre of defence.

Evra is fouled on the edge of the box by Clyne. Ferdinand is about to come on to try and stem the Saints tide.

Saints come again and win a corner on the left. Fox takes and Davies heads over from 15 yards.

Lambert hits the free-kick at De Gea. He cannot catch the ball but gathers at the second attempt.

Carrick fouls Lallana for a Saints' free-kick 28 yards out in front of goal.

Schneiderlin takes the second corner and United just scramble Lambert's header away. Saints come again and Davies shoots wide from 22 yards. Saints are giving this a good go!!

Clyne wins a corner on the right off Welbeck. Saints take and win another.

The game is scrappy in the middle at present.

Geraint says: "C'mon United u can do it and this fight over degea he will turn out to be a world class keeper ill go for united to win 3-1 Rvp to score!!" Alex says: "i reckon in the 2nd half, theres at least 2 more goals from United hopefully Rooney will get hat-trick, but need to tighten up the defence......Southampton won't lie down you gotta give credit to these teams in the bottom half of the league."

United press and Kagawa crosses from the right but Hooiveld clears the box.

Saints come again and Lambert tries an effort from 25 yards but it is well wide.

Saints take the corner and Lallana flicks the ball on at the near post but De Gea gathers.

Rodriquez wins a throw in five yards out on the right off Vidic. Saints take and win another in a similar position. Clyne takes before Fox wins a corner on the left.

RVP tries to latch onto a Jones throughball down the right but is given offside.

Rodriquez tries an effort from the edge of the box but Vidic blocks. The ball falls to Lambert who tries an effort from 22 yards but it is weak and De Gea easily saves.

RVP wins a throw in 25 yards out on the right. He takes to Welbeck but fox intercepts the return ball and clears.

Lambert tries to release Lallana into the left side of the box but Jones heads clear.

Southampton re-start the game.

S Davies and Lallana are on for the second period for Ramirez and Puncheon.

The final word on De Gea is from Gary and then we are moving in for the second period: "Good grief what have I started with the De Gea comments! I'm sure in time he will prove to be a first class keeper, however, i'm not convinced Fergie will give him the time to develop. Re the goal, awful backpass from carrick but I still have no idea what De Gea was doing." Cheers everyone, let's hope its an action-packed second period!!

"United fans need to stop doubting De Gea's ability, Sir Alex isnt stupid he see's potential like he did in schmeichel, years between 91-94 he was devloping and learning, he went on to get an honorary MBE, and become a United legend, so stop complaining, United need to wrap this game up in 2nd half. from Alex GGMU"

"i think De Gea is a great keep they need to start cutting him some slack I think if we loose him in the summer we will regret it, and also the reason we have conceded so many goals this season is the fact defenders are ball watching and not following in like the Liverpool game De Gea made a great safe and if rafeal had followed in then there wouldn't have been a goal." Kieran race

"Guys leave David De Gea alone this guy will go on the be the same level as schmeichel and van der sar he is only young! Yes he's made mistakes but as also saved utd many times!" Lee, Nailsworth

Nick says: "should really lay off De Gea. the lads only 22 and I think there's been to much pressure on him to be a ready made replacement for Van Der Sar. if he lasts as long as van Der sar that will give him easily another 10 years to grow and improve. There's no doubt in my mind that he will become a brilliant number 1."

Alan says: "agree with Chris...De Gea got us a point...he didn't lose us 2..we could have lost that one 5-1 and i come back to my earlier point on our midfield..i'll qualify mine by saying the problems come not only from the back but from lack of creativity in midfield and i'm pinning a lot of hope on a return to form by Anderson."

Brendon Feeley says: "So, David De Gea is a potential successor to Valdes at Barcelona and he's not good enough? Laughable. De Gea will become a world class keeper at United."

Jordan Miller says: "Why does everyone seen to blame de gea for every mistake that goal want his fault you all need to stop and think about the positive qualities he has and how many times he's kept united in games de gea number 1 all the way."

"Well said Matt, De Gea will be word class, people need to get off his back. Plus I'm sure a certain Sky Sports online commentator placed the blame on Carrick's sloppy back pass? :P from Christian, at work!"

Jamie Warrior says: "I was recently on radio defending ddg. I stated that a gk is only as good as his defence and our defending this season has been the worse that I've seen it in 20+ years as a united fan. I also pointed out that his shot to save ratio was the best in the league last season beating Joe Hart and Pepe Reina. He has been terrific for united so far. He's a young lad with an £18m price tag over his head so he's going to be nervous and weiry now and again. But with a good run in goal and some better defending in a few years he WILL be as good as van Der sar if not better and become a united legend. Forget the haters david and just concentrate on the supporters. COYR. By the way united to win 5-1 now."

Howard says: "Well, the De Gea discussion rages on, I think he'll be quality, but this bad press isn't really helping him at all. I say let the haters try playing in goal, see If they'd fair better, and If not, they can shut up, and wait to see how things pan out. I think that's reasonable?"

Shanty says: "Give DeGea a break dude is way better than Lingard when it comes to the big saves,he doesn't even move a muscle whereas DeGea makes an effort.sometimes our defence leave it too late."

HALF TIME. That's it for the first period, Utd go in 2-1 ahead. I'll post the De Gea views up now...stay with us for the second period.

45 (+1)
The Saints fans are singing 'we're going to win 3-2!" That's the spirit!!!

Two minutes of added time are announced.

RVP takes the free-kick but it is over hit and out for a goal kick.

Schneiderlin and Jones tussle for the ball and Jones wins a free-kick 25 yards out to the right of goal. Schneiderlin kicks the ball away and is booked for his troubles.

Saints take the free-kick but it is over hit and Lambert can not get on it at the far post. He rips his top in a tussle with Welbeck for the ball!

Puncheon wins a corner on the right off Vidic.

Re the De Gea debate, I'll post the remaining emails at the break...

United press on the right. Welbeck shoots low from eight yards but Boruc saves well with his legs. Rooney then tries a long range effort but Boruc saves to his right.

Ramirez tries to cross from the right byline towards Puncheon at the far post but United clear.

Puncheon tries to run into the right side of the box but uses his arm and the ref pulls him up.

Saints keep good possession without threatening.

Lull - no more chances yet.

Saints win a corner on the right. They take but the back-tracking Lambert can only head over from 15 yards out.

I'm still getting loads of emails on De Gea. Here is a sample couple, sorry I can't post them all. Robin says: "Can't stand all this criticism of De Gea. He's a great young keeper, people seem to think that every keeper we should have should be absolutely perfect! van der Sar and even the 'Great Dane' Peter Schmeichel made mistakes! He's 20 years old and given time he will be the best goalkeeper in the world. He's a fantastic shot stopper and will develop the rest of his game as he gets older and gains more experiance." Booboo says: "Col says that de gea is a good keeper in most departments except crosses, so who's supposed to be coaching him in this department? He hasn't made any improvement in this area of his game since his arrival."

Puncheon crosses from 25 yards on the left but Vidic eventually clears.

Vidic fouls Lambert for a free-kick 40 yards out in the centre. Saints take but lose the ball and Kagawa feeds the ball to RVP to the left of goal but he shoots wide from 12 yards.

United take the throw in and feed the ball to Evra on the left who blasts over from 15 yards.

United come again and Jones crosses from 15 yards on the right but Hooiveld manages to clear for a United throw in 20 yards out on the right..

Chris says: "As a goalkeeper De Gea gets a lot more stick than any other player. He played very well at Tottenham making several great saves yet one poor punch, ideally Vidic or Ferdinand should have headed it clear, and we crucify him. Carrick should be blamed despite his good form this season."

GOAL - ROONEY!!!!! RVP whips the free-kick in deep, Evra meets the ball at the far post and heads back across goal, leaving Rooney with the easiest of tap-ins in the centre!!!

Jones presses down the right flank and Rodriquez fouls for a free-kick 20 yards out.

RVP is released into the left side of the box and he tries to guide the ball to Evra in the centre but Fox tracks across to intercept and clear.

Rooney breaks into the left side of the box and plays a dangerous cross from eight yards which Boruc manages to scramble away with his legs.

Gary has qualified his earlier remark: "Do have sympathy with De Gea, Michael & Matt - United have been shocking defensively most of the season and don't seem to be learning from their mistakes."

RVP takes the corner but Boruc comes off his line and catches the ball in the box.

United come again and RVP's shot from the edge of the box on the right is deflected over for a corner on the right.

Fox takes the throw in but United win the ball. Rooney and Fox tussle for the ball on the edge of the box and Rooney thinks he's fouled but the ref waves play on and Saints clear.

RVP forces Boruc into a save, pushing the ball out for a corner on the right. Rooney takes but the Saints clear before Kagawa's cross from the left is over hit and Anderson saves a goal kick on the right.

I've had a lot of emails defending De Gea from Gary's comment. Alan says: "we can do without cretinous comments about our goalkeeper...he's good and he could be there for 20 years...so get a life gary or support another team." but Rob says: "De Gea has played over 100 games in top flight football in his career. It's not games he needs just more talent."

Ramirez takes the free-kick but it is well over.

Puncheon wins a free-kick off Vidic 25 yards out in front of goal.

Michael (from Montreal) says: "Disagree Gary, that was a poor pass from Carrick and De Gea was left out to dry, as has been the case way too often this season. You can't judge a keeper while his defense isn't doing their job."

RVP takes the free-kick but it goes out harmlessly for a goal kick at the near post. RVP thinks it should be a corner but the ref says no.

United come again and Jones wins a free-kick off Rodriquez 12 yards out to the right of the box.

Ramirez takes the corner but it is too deep and united break forward following Rooney's initial clearance but Rooney loses the ball to the left of the box and Saints have a throw in.

Lambert hits the free-kick at goal and it takes a deflection off the wall and out for a corner on the left.

Southampton press and Ramirez wins a free-kick 30 yards out to the left of goal from Carrick.

Matt says: "Back off De Gea Gary - he is a great shop stopper and distributer, he needs games and will be world class."

Kagawa hits the post from close range after latching onto a pass from Rooney at the far post following a cross from Jones from the right. Southampton scramble the ball clear.

GOAL - ROONEY!!!! Kagawa plays a great pass to release Rooney into the box and he shoots low past Boruc from 10 yards into the bottom left corner!! Game on!!!

Gary Hunter has been back in touch to say: "Once again De Gea shows why he is not up to being United's keeper - He won't be playing at weekend that is for sure."

Rooney puts the corner from the left into the box but Smalling heads over from six yards under pressure at the near post.

Rooney tries to release Kagawa into the left side of the box and Boruc puts it out for a corner on the left.

GOAL - RODRIQUEZ!!!!! Rodriguez gets onto a sloppy back pass by Carrick from outside the box and scores!!! De Gea comes off his line to try and retrieve the ball but Rodriguez gets there first, takes it around the keeper and scores from a tight angle on the left!!!!

United press down the left flank but Clyne clears.

No chances yet as both teams find their feet.

United get the game underway.

Lee in Southampton says: "What is it with these Man U fans expecting a walkover don't under estimate the mighty Saints!!!" Cheers Lee, the teams are on the pitch, enjoy the game everyone!

Gerry Newton from Downpatrick, N. I. says: "We can take nothing for granted in the PL as QPR showed last night. SAF showing through his selection that he is not underestimating the Saints...the team need to do the same. If they do it will be 4 -0 to the reds!"

Gary Hunter says: "How on earth do Welbeck & Kagawa get a place in the starting line-up and Hernandez is nowhere to be seen??"

Keith says: "Very strange bench for Man Utd tonight. If they don't score freely ( unlikely I know but off nights can hit anyone ) what will Sir Alex change things with???"

"Greetings, Guy from Belgium ! Looks like Fergie not taking is for granted and picked a really strong team, like that ! hoping for a 4-1 victory tonight as we seem to concede every game this season"

Carl from Windsor says: "Got a feeling Man United are going to run riot tonight! Going to be goals Galore I will go 6-2 to Man United not sure who will score but Van Persie will get at least 2 maybe Rooney and Kagawa to score too! Will be interesting who takes any penalty tonight?" Cheers Carl, anyone out there think the Saints can nick it?

Darren Linnell says: "Only one team winning tonight, glory glory man united."

Roger says: "After last nights antics, I'm looking forward to tonight. QPR have shown the big boys that we cannot be complacent against teams at the bottom. As a United fan, I'm confident. Fergie will have the boys fired up, and raring to go. He wants that seven point lead back. This match is going to go one of two ways - United stroll to a 3/4/5 goal win, or we nick it 1-0 in the last 10 minutes. Personally, I think the first 15 minutes are crucial. Get an early goal, and we'll stroll. 4-0 with RVP getting two, and one each from Carrick and Kagawa." Great minds think alike Roger, I'm going for 4-0 with RVP scoring first!

Junior says: "Hi there from sunny Barbados! Here's hoping for a United win! The boys are on a roll!"

Edd Irwin says: "I think Utd are on the run in to the league title. They are playing a good strong game and are giving nothing away. Utd will win this one tonight 3-0 and city will rue the chance last night to close the gap. Regards."

Luke Worthing says: "With City slipping up last night what's the odds on Utd doing the same? My bets on Soton coming and shutting up shop!"

Harry says: "Evening Steve, backing United to win, perhaps comprehensively. Little surprised to see Welbeck on for Hernandez after his double in the cup, but the boy needs game time and he's still got a huge future ahead of him. Would love to see us go 7 points clear, capitalizing on City's slip yesterday. 3 or more, with RVP scoring (well, that's a given.) Thanks."

Jay Alderson says: "I believe SAF should not take the Saints lightly, play a strong squad and pile the pressure on the blue half. If SAF does play a strong side; I believe a comfortable win and hopefully a vast improvement on the goal difference front (it cost us last year)/"

Damien says: "I can see the saints frustrating us tonight and our luck deserting us. A narrow victory though taking us seven points clear of our noisy neighbours. They might be a little quieter now one of them has moved out..."

Fancy a bet? Sky Bet go 2/9 for a Man Utd win, 11/2 for the draw and 10/1 for a win for the Saints. I'm going for a 4-0 United win, with Van Persie to score first which pays a handsome 20/1! For a full market, click here.

Teams - Robin van Persie returns to the United line-up as Sir Alex Ferguson goes for all-out attack against Southampton. Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa are also included in a side that shows just four changes from Saturday's FA Cup win over Fulham. For his second game in charge, new Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes, with Jay Rodriguez and Daniel Fox both recalled.

Referee - Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Teams - Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, Puncheon, Rodriguez, Ramirez, Lambert. Subs: Kelvin Davis, Steven Davis, Lee, Lallana, Richardson, Shaw, Chaplow.

Teams - Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Welbeck, Carrick, Anderson, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Valencia, Nani, Cleverley, Buttner.

FIRST VIEW - Jon in Stretford said: "Looking at tonight's team he's going for all out goals so I'm going for 4-1 van Persie hatrick."

Welcome to Old Trafford where Manchester United host Southampton bidding to extend their lead at the top. What do you think the outcome will be tonight? Send your views / predictions to steve.pass2@bskyb.com and I will post up the best throughout the evening.

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