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Premier League preview: Manchester United v Southampton
Created on 29 Jan., 2013 8:14 AM GMT
Manchester United will likely welcome Robin van Persie back into the starting line-up as they face Southampton at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The Premier League's top scorer was rested during United's 4-1 FA Cup win over Fulham on the weekend.
Despite the prospect of meeting the league leaders on the road, Southampton will be confident of taking it up to United after a solid performance in their 0-0 draw with Everton last week - with new manager Mauricio Pochettino making an impressive debut.
Even though they have only won one of their last seven league games, Southampton are still four points clear of the relegation zone in 15th position.
Alex Ferguson's United are unbeaten in their last 11 games and are five points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the standings.
The two sides last met at St Marys in early September with two late Van Persie goals dragging United to a 3-2 victory as the Red Devils came from behind twice.
The Dutch sharp-shooter had an extraordinary game in the last fixture, scoring a hat-trick and missing a penalty, as he almost single-handedly won the game for his new club.
Southampton have a goal-threat of their own in Rickie Lambert and his 10 league goals equate to being the equal-highest English goalscorer in the Premier League this season along with Jermain Defoe and Theo Walcott.
Morgan Schneiderlin, along with Lambert, found the net in the last match against United and the tough-tackling midfielder has the most tackles (90) and second most interceptions (72) in the Premier League.
Both teams have healthy squads with Ferguson possibly having Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) available, while Southampton will welcome captain Adam Lallana (knee) back into first-team consideration.
United have only ever dropped points once against Southampton at Old Trafford the Premier League and have scored two or more goals in eight of the sides' last night league encounters.
The last time Southampton beat United was a 2-1 win at home in 2001.