11/01/2015: Man United 0-1 Saints
Saints moved up to 3rd in the table following a famous victory at Old Trafford. The away side were slightly inhibited going forward in the first half, but defended well throughout. Saints took their chance in the second half for a deserved three points.
Saints made a positive start to the game, with Nathaniel Clyne dragging a shot wide in the 1st minute. United looked nervy at the back during the opening stages of the game, with the visitors pressing well. The home side soon woke up, but all the possession they had didn't really amount to much. Both sides had a series of set pieces which didn't really come to anything.
United spent most of the latter part of the first half in Saints' half, but couldn't quite find that killer final ball. Ronald Koeman's side had a few breaks, but Eljero Elia and Graziano Pelle lacked the necessary support. The home side finished the opening 45 strongly. Robin Van Perise had a shot blocked by Florin Gardos, before Di Maria's tame effort went wide.
Saints started the 2nd half well, creating a few half-chances with some patient build-up play. The visitors were just about edging it in midfield, with United rarely looking like breaking through the compact unit. Saints weren't exactly carving their opponents open either. They did produce one moment of quality which would eventually decide the game, however. Some quick play on the edge of the area between James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic led to Pelle being played in on the right of the box. The Italian smashed the ball against David de Gea's near post, before Tadic followed up with a calm finish.
Just after the goal Ward-Prowse looked to be in for a good chance, flicking the ball over a defender before de Gea gathered. United gave Saints a few nervy moments during the final 15 minutes, as Louis van Gaal looked to go a bit more direct with the introduction of Marouane Fellani. Juan Mata squandered three good chances. On 77 he fired agonisingly wide of the post. The Spaniard then sliced the ball over, before volleying well wide. Pelle had a chance to put the game to bed on 88, pulling a shot wide. Saints saw out stoppage time fairly comfortably, with some intelligent keep-ball.
After coming very close in the five previous fixtures, Saints have finally beaten Man United for the first time since promotion. Going forward Saints weren't quite at their eye-catching best, but when they did produce that one bit of magic they made it count. United didn't have a single shot on target, which is a testament to how well organised the defence was. That's seven points from the last nine against Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea. If the rest of the country didn't already think Saints were serious contenders for Champions League football, they should now.
Forster: 6. Kicking a bit off at times in the first half. Didn't have many big saves to make, but still a decent presence in the box
Clyne: 7. Showed no signs of rust on his return from injury. Good at both ends of the pitch
Fonte: 8. Completely nullified Rooney and co. A defensive masterclass from the skipper
Alderweireld: 6. A few routine clearances before coming off injured
Bertrand: 7. Not troubled too much at the back, but some good forward runs
Wanyama: 8. Swept up plenty at the back, forming a good shield in front of the defence
Schneiderlin: 8. Made a slightly slow start, with a few needless fouls, but grew into the game and let very little get past him
Ward-Prowse: 7. Often chose the short option at corners, so set piece expertise not as noticeable as usual, but still offered energy and intelligence
Davis: 7. Involved in some quick interchanges in the final third
Elia: 6. A solid first showing. Displayed some decent skill before coming off
Pelle: 7. A bit isolated early on, but got much better as the game went on. Held the ball up very well
Gardos: 7. One slip up could have proved costly, but otherwise very good. Timed his tackles well
Tadic: 7. There where it mattered for the goal
Reed: Some decent running during the last 10 minutes
Man United - Tadic (69)
Attendance - 75,395
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man United: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Valencia, Shaw, Carrick, Mata, Rooney, Di Maria, van Persie
Subs not used: Valdes, Evans, McNair, Wilson
Saints: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld (Gardos 21), Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, S Davis (Reed 80), Elia (Tadic 63), Pelle
Subs not used: K Davis, Targett, Isgrove, Long