Manchester United 0 – 0 Southampton
Southampton remain bottom of the Premier League after they could only pick up a point against a Manchester United side reduced to 10 men for nearly an hour of a thrilling contest Old Trafford.
Casemiro’s second red card of the season gave the visitors a numerical advantage but they were unable to capitalise on it despite going close on a number of occasions.
Even before Casemiro’s early exit for a dangerous tackle on Carlos Alcaraz, David de Gea needed to make a brilliant reaction save to turn away Theo Walcott’s close-range header.
De Gea then produced a one-handed save after the break when Walcott found himself running clear of the home defence, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka cleared off the line when Scott McTominay turned a Kyle Walker-Peters cross towards his own goal. In addition, James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick skimmed of the top of the bar and Walker-Peters also hit a post with an angled drive for the visitors.
United had some dangerous moments themselves, with captain Bruno Fernandes’ goalbound effort tipped on to the inside of a post by Gavin Bazunu.
The result consolidates United’s top-four position, while Southampton are effectively three points from safety given their goal difference, with 12 games of the campaign remaining.
Southampton show improvement
Despite their position in the table, Southampton’s form is good.
They have now picked up seven points from four games since Nathan Jones was sacked on 12 February.
It represents their most productive run since August and Wednesday’s rearranged game with Brentford does offer the opportunity for Ruben Selles’ side to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since the end of October.
Nevertheless, their goalscoring is a concern – in only one league match since August have they scored more than once. They had the chances to improve that statistic at Old Trafford but couldn’t make them count.
Casemiro has been one of the key reasons behind United’s improvement this season.
But the positivity around the Brazilian is in danger of being undermined by his disciplinary record.
Sent off against Crystal Palace last month for grabbing Will Hughes round the neck following a mass confrontation, his latest red card was also triggered by the intervention of VAR, with referee Anthony Taylor asked to look at a tackle on Carlos Alcaraz, which had initially brought a yellow.
Casemiro did play the top of the ball first but Taylor decided the tackle was dangerous.
As it was the midfielder’s second dismissal of the season, it triggers a four-match suspension, which rules him out of next week’s FA Cup quarter-final with Fulham, plus the three Premier League games that follow.