Having accused Manchester United of being too nice, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally saw an utterly ruthless side as they fully exploited Southampton’s trauma with the joint-biggest win in the Premier League. It was a nasty result.
It also drew United level on points at the top of the table with Manchester City facing Burnley away on Wednesday night in one of their two games in hand. In one match it cut City’s advantage in goal difference from 14 to just five.
United never relented after Southampton were reduced to 10 men inside two minutes – when 19-year-old Alexandre Jankewitz was rightly sent off on his full league debut – and, ludicrously, nine with four minutes to go when Jan Bednarek was harshly red-carded in conceding a penalty when it appeared he did not touch Anthony Martial and that the United substitute would be cautioned for diving.
Bednarek later claimed Martial admitted there was no contact but it was no consolation on a devastating evening for Southampton. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong with local rivals Portsmouth gleefully tweeting their congratulations to United at the final whistle. Nice.
Only three times in Premier League history has the scoreline ended 9-0. United first achieved it as they ran rampant against Ipswich Town in March 1995 while Southampton and their manager Ralph Hasenhuttl have now suffered the humiliation twice inside 17 months, having been destroyed at home by Leicester City in October 2019 in a game from which it took the club months to recover.
They start that process and the therapy again although, unlike against Leicester, Southampton did not give up and were desperately unlucky at times, even if United never stopped with Solskjaer switching to a back three at half-time and throwing on more attackers as he went for goals. This was the unsated thirst United used to show.
Perhaps it was over-eagerness that was the only mitigation for Jankewitz’s dismissal. Southampton were already missing nine-first team players, the reason why they turned to the Swiss midfielder, but he lunged at Scott McTominay and caught him high on his thigh. Just 82 seconds had elapsed but referee Mike Dean showed the red card.
Sometimes it can be difficult to break down 10 men, especially with a team as committed as Southampton, but United went about it impressively. The instigator was the former Southampton full-back Luke Shaw, who is a player transformed. It was his cross that was met by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Danny Ings slow to react, and the defender side-footed home from close-range. It was another first – Wan-Bissaka’s first goal at Old Trafford.
United struck again, with Shaw heavily involved as he worked his way into the Southampton penalty area before slipping the ball to Mason Greenwood, who cut it back into Rashford’s path. Again the side-footed shot beat goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
But it was soon over, with the ball rebounding off James Ward-Prowse and diverting to Rashford, who crossed low. Bednarek had to cut it out – Fred was behind him and would have had a tap in – but unfortunately the defender poked the ball into his own net. Before half-time a fourth goal came as Fred pushed the ball wide to Shaw, whose cross skimmed over Jack Stephens with Edinson Cavani not even having to jump as he powered home his header.
It looked like they had conceded when Che Adams beat De Gea only for it to be ruled out for another incredibly tight, in truth fairly unfathomable, offside call.
The fifth goal did not come until 21 minutes from time and the final three arrived from the 87th minute onwards. Bruno Fernandes started it when he chipped the ball into the area for Martial to chest it down, hold off Bednarek and fire his shot high into the net. There was another when McTominay picked out Greenwood, whose low drive was parried by McCarthy. On the turf, Stephens cleared but only as far as McTominay, who drove the ball in from 22 yards.
Martial ran across Bednarek and referee Dean gave the penalty, but was urged to check the screen and, surprisingly, still awarded the spot-kick and compounded it with a red card. Fernandes, with a skip, rolled it past McCarthy and it continued in injury-time with Southampton spent. Firstly Wan-Bissaka’s cross reached Martial, who chested it down before finishing and there was a seventh different scorer for United (not including the own-goal) as Fernandes turned another cross back to substitute Daniel James who stabbed it into the net.
Source: The telegraph