Manchester United look to trim the nine-point deficit to the top of the Premier League table as they invite Southampton to Old Trafford on Sunday 11 January, the away side just a point behind the Red Devils in fourth spot. Freebets.com preview the match and some of the best betting opportunities for both sides...
The tie between both at St Mary's was a close affair, Manchester United displaying what Gary Neville described as "laughable" passing qualities on that evening before a brace from the slowly rejuvinating Robin van Persie sealed the deal for van Gaal's men against a plucky Southampton who had equalised through Graziano Pelle.
However hard it is to predict the outcome of a Premier League game after Tottenham's thrashing of Chelsea on New Year's Day, Southampton you feel can easily continue to shock and compete with the top teams, their 2-0 drubbing of Arsenal recently revitalising the Saints who have more than earned their top-five performances after the halfway stage.
Manchester United take on Southampton at 4pm on Sunday 11 January 2014, the match shown live on Sky Sports 1.
Who will win?
With it being tough to call on paper, the 1-1 draw is currently the favourite result among the bookmakers, although a win for Southampton remains much more appealing at 18/5 (Sky Bet) than Manchester United's price at just 4/5 with many including Paddy Power.
Last year's fixtures both ended 1-1 to prove that the the away side will be still prove a tough side to crack, although a 2003 win at St Mary's was Southampton's only win in the last 12 clashes between the pair.
Despite this, Saints manager Ronald Koeman will still fancy his side's chances against the shaky Red Devils defence which has let in five more goals than Southampton's 15 conceded - the best defensive record in the league as of now.
Will there be goals?
Under 1.5 goals would net 11/4 odds with Bet365, although it is highly likely that there will be plenty heading into the back of the nets if the history books are anything to go by.
You have to look back to 2003 and Southampton's 1-0 victory for a scoreline featuring one goal or less, and all the way back to 1985 for one that appeared goalless in fact.
Manchester United's history against Southampton shows that last season's draws remain the only times since that 2003 defeat that the home side have in fact scored less than twice in a match between the two, a van Persie hat-trick in a 2012 thriller at St Mary's in September 2012 arguably one of the hgihlights.
Who will score?
Van Persie will again be the favourite to be on the scoresheet having extended his season tally to eight in the Premier League following a sluggish beginning, although the question of whether he will start remains the more pressing issue.
Eight-goal Wayne Rooney will certainly feature it seems, while Van Gaal and Red Devils supporters will be delighted at the sight of Radamel Falcao's name appearing much more frequently on the scoreboard.
His two most recent goals however have only been enough to snatch a draw against both Aston Villa and, on New Year's Day, a Stoke City side that deserved more than just the one goal and even possibly the single point.
Pelle would remain the danger man having netted Southampton's only goal against Man Utd in the December defeat, although the performances of Dusan Tadic continue to shine along with Victor Wanyama who should feature alongside Morgan Schneiderlin, the latter linked with Liverpool following the news that Steven Gerrard will depart Liverpool and potentially English football for good at the end of the season.
Correct Score Prediction:
Manchester United 2-2 Southampton - 17/1 (BetVictor)