Manchester United vs Southampton | Tuesday 2nd February 2021, 20:15 | BT Sport
Manchester United will be looking to put last week's disappointing results behind them when they welcome Southampton to Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is expected to shuffle his deck. Scott McTominay had to make an early exit at the Emirates- due to stomach ache- and could miss out here. This may see Paul Pogba drop into CDM, with Mason Greenwood slotting into the right side of midfield. As for Southampton, Che Adams is expected to replace Nathan Redmond in attack
With the infamous Mike Dean overseeing this one, you would be daft not to get cards on side in some way, shape or form and it is Paul Pogba’s price to have his name taken that takes appeal here at 9/2 with Bet365.
After a slow start to the season, Dean dusted off his cards and has brandished a total of 48 in 13 EPL appearances and Pogba’s chart topping fouls per game average (1.6) makes him a prime candidate for one.
The French enigma is amidst a purple patch and yet whilst his technical ability is clear for all to see, his defensive output and tactical awareness still raises questions. He is lazy in transition which often means he gets exposed and this may be why he has picked up two cards in his most recent three appearances.
Pogba is so tidy in possession and his quick, silky feet often get him out of trouble, however, he also has a tendency to cling onto the ball longer than he should and this will be his downfall on Tuesday.
Ralph Hasenhüttl often deploys a mid-block, his side presses zonally- in a 4-4-2 structure- with the wingers tucking in to suffocate the central space as they look to force their opposition down the flanks. What this means is the opposition's central midfielders get very little time on the ball.
Since these sides last met, a lot of central midfielders- particularly those who like the ball- have picked up cautions vs the Saints. The likes of Pascal Gross, Dani Ceballos, Kevin De Bruyne and Thiago have all received bookings. I’d certainly put Pogba in a similar category to these players and with Mike Dean in charge I think he has every chance of getting a card.
Sticking with cards in central midfield, I also like the look of a James Ward-Prowse booking available at 4/1 with BetVictor. He has accumulated four cards in the league this season with the latest addition coming in his last game as he tried to stop a throw in being taken quickly by blocking it with his hands.
Whilst antics of this nature would be welcome, it is the fact that JWP has the joint highest fouls per game average (1.6) for Southampton that makes me fancy him for a card. Maybe his captaincy allows him a little more leeway than most other players but with Dean in charge I expect he will get his comeuppance.
Interestingly, Ward-Prowse was booked in the reverse fixture and when Dean last took charge of one of the Saints games. It is also worth noting that you can combine Pogba and Ward-Prowse to be carded at odds of 25/1 with Bet365.