EFL Cup Final – Manchester United vs. Southampton

By  Football Pulp - 25 February 2017

Southampton and Manchester United are all geared up to take on each other this Sunday at Wembley for the EFL Cup Final. Claudio Paul’s side is yet to concede a goal in the tournament whereas Jose Mourinho will be looking to prolong his unbeaten run in all competitions. Well, the decider is expected to be a close encounter, with both sides ready to go completely ballistic.

Snippets from Managers’ pre-match press conferences

The two managers had their say before the showdown.

Claude Paul:

“I hope we can give those (fans) pleasure and joy to see this game”

“I think it’s important, I can understand of course the entire good atmosphere around the team and the fans”

“I was surprised by his (Caceres’) good physical fitness, because he came on the training camp in Spain with a good level, good quality”

Claude Paul Southampton EFL Cup Final

“We have to keep the good attitude and good spirit.”

“The most important thing for us is to concentrate on our play. Manchester United are strong, we know that.”

Jose Mourinho:

“I thought last season, when I was sacked as a champion, I thought it was a giant, negative thing. Now I realize that was peanuts compared with what happened to Claudio”

“"Last season was very difficult for the club and the players. They all together, with the manager and the players, managed to win a trophy. It was a good taste for them. So we have to try”

“It's a good thing for them [the players] if we manage to win another trophy and keep fighting for more”

Jose Mourinho Manchester United Southampton EFL Cup Final

On Rooney, “He’s fine; he’s training with the team. He said he is staying and hopes to help the team to fight for the trophies. I am happy with that.”

On becoming the first manager to win a trophy in his debut season:

“You are right but I have so many good things in my career that I wouldn’t be influenced by a little detail. The important thing is the club and the fans.”

Head-to-Head Record

Sunday will be the 120th time the teams will lock horns. Manchester United has the edge with 62 wins compared to Southampton’s 28, whereas 29 matches resulted in draws or no result. The recent form also suggests that the Red Devils have an edge over the Saints, as United defeated Claudio Paul’s side 2-0 earlier this season. From 2004 to 2014, Manchester United enjoyed an 11 match unbeaten run against the Saints, out of which nine resulted in wins.

Manchester United vs Southampton Head to Head

Performance in the competition so far

Southampton have reached the final without conceding a single goal, becoming only the second side in the Cup’s history to achieve this feat. The impressive Saints overcame Arsenal with 2-0 margin in the Quarter’s and surpassed Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Semis. The Saints are struggling in the Premier League, and silverware will etch Paul in the history books. 

Manchester United have been unbeaten in the last five games in all competitions and had to defeat the likes of Man City and West Ham before ensuring a narrow victory over Hull City in the Semis to seal a spot in the final.

Team news

Jose Mourinho is monitoring the performance of his players, as his side gears up to take on the Saints this Sunday. The club captain and the highest goalscorer for the Red Devils, Wayne Rooney is said to be available for Final. Although, Phil Jones’ participation is doubtful due to injury.

Wayne Rooney Jose Mourinho

For Saints, the highly rated defender, Virgil van Dijk, is sidelined due to an ankle injury. Claude Paul is concerned about his injury and is considering debuting Martin Caceres in the final. The Saints are currently in Spain preparing for their Wembley date.

martin-caceres-southampton-efl-cup-final

Preview /Build up

Manchester United have been unbeaten in the Premier League for 14 consecutive matches but are still sitting at the sixth spot, whereas Southampton have also suffered a significant decline in form, due to which they are 11th on the Premier League table. Jose Mourinho is confident to nickel past the Saints to clinch his first title as Manchester United’s manager, but Claude Paul is also confident to secure the cup.

Match Stats

Here are some interesting facts you should know about the showdown between the Red Devils and the Saints:

  • This will be the first EFL Cup Final appearance for Southampton since 1979.
  • Manchester United will appear in their ninth EFL Cup final, having won the Cup on four previous occasions. Only Liverpool has managed to appear in more finals than the Red Devils.
  • Southampton is only the second side in history after Tottenham to reach the final without conceding a goal.
  • This will only be the second time these two teams will meet in a cup final. They last met in FA Cup Final in 1976.
  • Jose Mourinho has a 100% record in the EFL Cup Final, winning it thrice with Chelsea.
  • Claude Paul has reached a domestic cup final only once with Monaco.

 

Predictions

Looking at Zlatan’s red-hot goal-scoring form and Pogba vital support to the talisman, the Red Devils are the red hot favorites against the Saints for this one. Our prediction is 2-1. Give us your predictions in comments!

 

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