Pogba set for starring role under the Friday Night Lights
Friday nights will never be the same and Sky Sports couldn’t have chosen a better game with which to get their 2016/17 programme under way.
Paul Pogba is available and expected to make his second Man Utd debut, with Southampton the visitors to Old Trafford.
Goals from Jesse Lingard and Zlatan Ibrahimović were enough to give José Mourinho his first piece of silverware at Manchester United and the Red Devils followed that up with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Bournemouth in the English Premier League, with Ibra again on the score-sheet.
New Southampton boss Claude Puel saw his Saints side recover from a one goal deficit against Watford, to earn a point on Matchday 1.
Goal projections – Man Utd 1.98 Southampton 0.7
Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Man Utd vs Southampton
José Mourinho will have almost a full squad to choose from against the Saints. Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling are available after serving their respective suspensions, while Jesse Lingard is expected to have recovered from the foot injury that saw him miss out on United’s 3-1 win at Bournemouth.
José Fonte has been the subject of much transfer speculation, with Man Utd reported as one of the interested suiters. He’s not expected to figure here for Southampton but one possible change, from the starting line-up that Puel selected against Watford, is Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who impressed in midfield after replacing James Ward-Prowse.
Man Utd fantasy player to watch
All eyes will be on Paul Pogba, the world’s most expensive player. Fantasy football managers will be curious to see how Mourinho accommodates him – his 8 goals and 12 assists was a terrific return in 2015/16, helping Juventus to a fifth straight Scudetto.
Man Utd team news
Pogba looks set to start and Smalling is also expected to come back in, which would be harsh on either Eric Bailly or Daley Blind, who both impressed against the Cherries.
One option would be to shift Blind into the anchor midfield role and then use Lingard’s athleticism down the right flank, meaning that Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini would all be consigned to the bench, assuming Mourinho sticks with a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Predicted starting line-up for Man Utd (4-2-3-1)
Southampton fantasy player to watch
One of the keys to fantasy football success is finding players that are mis-classified in terms of playing position. Players who play further forward than expected have plenty of upside.
Nathan Redmond falls into this category. The summer arrival from Norwich City is categorised as a midfielder in most fantasy football formats but all the noises emanating from the Saints camp suggested that he would be deployed as a striker.
This turned out to be true in Gameweek 1 and the new Southampton number 22 didn’t disappoint, opening his Saints account with a well-taken volley.
Southampton team news
Ryan Bertrand and Florin Gardos are again expected to miss out with their respective knee injuries, so Expect Puel to stick with a 4-3-1-2 formation, that gives Dusan Tadic licence to roam.
Predicted starting line-up for Southampton (4-3-1-2)
Who will hog all the attention under the Friday Night Lights – Pogba, Ibrahimović or even Mourinho himself?