It's been 94 days since Old Trafford was graced with Premier league football and on the occasion of the first ever Friday Night Live game of the premier league, it was always apt that the competition's most successful club would feature. Whilst United played a league game on Friday Night last season, it was only for logistical reasons to fit in with the club's Champions League qualifier schedule slated for the following Tuesday. Friday night kickoffs are now well and truly a part of top flight football.
If United were ominous in their opening league fixture at Bournemouth, then the opportunity is there to keep riding on a tidal wave of form by keeping top spot for themselves for another week. Indeed, it helps that cause that this time, United get to play first and put a degree of psychological pressure on their rivals who play during the weekend proper.
Not that it will be easy. The Reds have not beaten Southampton at Old Trafford since January 2013 when Sir Alex Ferguson was still manager of the club. The Saints most recently recorded a 0-1 victory last January as part of the club's horror run of results in the three weeks preceding. Indeed, its easy to see that victory over the south coast club will be further evidence that United are in fact turning a new corner under new management.
The lead up to the game will undoubtedly be dominated by Paul Pogba's potential debut for the club since his return. The Frenchman's imminent arrival in the starting line-up has led to question of how Jose Mourinho intends to use him and or how the rest of the starting XI fit in. If he does start on Friday, perhaps we'll start to get some answers in that respect.
Eric Bailly's impressive start to life at the club means that we've not really missed Chris Smalling and so many might not care to learn that he has completed his suspension and will also be available for selection. You do feel though that the manager will prefer to keep what has been working for him in Daley Blind. Jose Mourinho is not one to attempt to fix things that are not necessarily broken.
Southampton on their part are now managed by Claude Puel who some United fans will remember was in charge of Lille when Ryan Giggs scored a very controversial quick free-kick in a Champions League match back in February 2007. Puel as seen in the aftermath of the goal urging his players to leave the pitch in protest. The game did continue after awhile. You feel he probably still has a score to settle.
United will have to pay special attention to Nathan Redmond who joined from Norwich and found the net on the opening weekend. The other star attractions from a Saints side that has been depleted by departures is the Portuguese pair that now boast European Championship winners medals in Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares.
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have so far captured the imagination of many after the opening weekend. Not for the style of play but for the efficiency with which they passed a tricky test on Sunday. The challenge on Friday night, infront of their home fans, is to make an even bigger statement on Matchday 2.