Match Report: Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Red Devils miss chance to move into top four after slipping up again

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United missed the chance to move into the top four in the Premier League as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday.

Ralf Rangnick expressed his frustration with United’s finishing after a 1-1 draw at Burnley last time out, but he could have few complaints when Jadon Sancho put his side ahead after 21 minutes at Old Trafford.

But Che Adam restored parity just three minutes into the second half and United, who saw two goals ruled out for offside, could not find a winner against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s resolute defence.

The draw meant United jumped up to fifth, overtaking Arsenal – who are a point behind and have two games in hand – while moving level on points with fourth-placed West Ham, though the Hammers are in action at Leicester City on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo seemed set to open the scoring after just six minutes but his effort was cleared off the line by Romain Perraud, before Adams inexplicably headed away from goal after Kyle Walker-Peters teed up a golden opportunity.

United struck first when Sancho poked home from close range after Marcus Rashford drilled across from the right following an incisive Bruno Fernandes pass.

Stuart Armstrong went close in response as his acrobatic attempt tested David de Gea, while Paul Pogba’s finish was chalked off for offside against Ronaldo in a frantic first half.

Adams atoned for his earlier miss swiftly after the interval as he equalised with a low finish off the inside of the post following Mohamed Elyounoussi’s through-ball, before Fraser Forster beat away from Diogo Dalot to keep the Saints level.

Ronaldo thought he had restored United’s lead with 19 minutes remaining, but his header was ruled out for offside after Sancho’s flick from Fernandes’ free-kick, and Forster expertly parried away Harry Maguire’s stoppage-time header to earn Southampton a point.

What does it mean? Red Devils falter in familiar fashion

Rangnick’s side could not hammer down the door at Turf Moor on Tuesday against Burnley, and they had the exact same problem against Southampton, who have not won in 12 top-flight meetings with the Red Devils since a 1-0 win in January 2016.

While United have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games since parting ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, their lack of killer instinct when ahead has let them down and could prove costly in the top-four race.

Southampton, meanwhile, are becoming somewhat comeback specialists after overturning a one-goal deficit twice in a 3-2 win over Tottenham in midweek, before doing the same against Rangnick’s side here.

Super Sancho finding his feet

Sancho struggled at first after his £73million move from Borussia Dortmund, but there are signs that the winger is slowly setting into his new home.

The England international has now scored two goals in his last three outings across all competitions, as many as he managed in his first 23 for United.

What has happened to Cristiano?

Ronaldo has failed to score in any of his last six appearances in all competitions – the last time he had a longer run without a goal at club level was a run of seven games in December 2008 and January 2009.

The Portugal captain was offered couple of good chances against the Saints, seeing his effort cleared off the line after rounding Forster in the first half before his header was disallowed after the break, but failed to break his duck in front of the United faithful.

Key Opta Facts

– United have averaged fewer goals per game under Rangnick than they have under any other manager in Premier League history (1.4 – 14 goals in 10 games).

– For only the second time in their Premier League history, United have failed to win back-to-back matches despite being ahead at half-time in both, having last done so in December 1998.

– Southampton have shipped 98 Premier League goals against United, 13 more than they have against any other side.

– Hasenhuttl has faced United more times without ever winning than he has versus any other opponent in his managerial career (7 – D4 L3).

– Rashford has provided more assists against Southampton than he has versus any other side in the Premier League (four).

What’s next?

United are again at home on Tuesday when they face Brighton and Hove Albion, while Southampton host Everton next Saturday.

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