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Inside Info: Manchester United look like title contenders but what do their fans think?

We talk Mou, Lukaku’s chant and more with a lifelong United fan.

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Manchester United v Burton Albion - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Southampton clearly has their hands full with Manchester United on Saturday afternoon, needless to say.

So St Mary’s Musings caught up with lifelong Manchester United fan and Official Member Alex McMahon, who freelances for various websites including 888sport, to get his thoughts on all things United.

One might think Romelu Lukaku might be our greatest worry, but Alex is thinking otherwise and you’d be surprised who is on his mind.

St Mary’s Musings: Tell us a little bit about the work you do as a freelance journalist and anywhere we might find your work.

Alex McMahon: For the last three years, I've mainly been involved in general sports writing but I have started to take on a more editorial role in the last few months. Content and sport are two of my greatest passions and I find myself fortunate to have the opportunity to work in this industry. My work is fairly well spread out but you will find regular articles here.

SMM: Manchester United has made a great start to the season. How important has the signing of Romelu Lukaku, as well as an improved defence been in turning United into title contenders?

AM: I think Lukaku's impact and influence upfront has been a big factor in United's surge up the Premier League table. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was always going to score goals but Lukaku brings different elements to this United side. He is about so much more than just strength and speed but don't downplay the role of Nemanja Matic here. Matic keeps United ticking over and allows the likes of Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial to focus on going forward. I still can't quite believe that Chelsea allowed him to leave for Old Trafford...

SMM: Is this the most confident fans have been regarding their position in the Premier League since Alex Ferguson left?

AM: I would say so, yeah. The optimism was there when David Moyes came into the job but nobody knew just how quickly United would go into decline. Jose Mourinho is a born winner and if anyone can get United back to the top, it is him. Again, Chelsea's loss is United's gain.

SMM: What has been the difference between Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge and the current product we’ve seen on the pitch early in 2017/18?

AM: A winning mentality. Mourinho needed time to build his own squad and he has now had sufficient opportunity in the transfer market to do that. I do think that winning the EFL Cup (sorry Saints fans!) and Europa League last season had a major impact on United - Jose showed exactly what his side is capable of and the Red Devils are looking very strong indeed.

Manchester United v FC Basel - UEFA Champions League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

SMM: Marouane Fellaini is that prototypical United midfielder. Have fans finally warmed up to his unsung performances and his importance within the squad or is he still a scapegoat?

AM: It took a while but Fellaini is beginning to win over the bulk of supporters - certainly those who visit Old Trafford anyway. In years gone by, I've heard plenty of criticism shouted at Fellaini on the terraces but for the most part of this season, he has been fairly solid. On paper, he is a Jose Mourinho-type player and he is able to contribute as a squad player when necessary.

SMM: With the start both United and Manchester City have made, what do you think the points total it will take to win the league title? And will anything less be a disappointment?

AM: It looks like the title WILL be heading to Manchester this season. Chelsea have shown glimpses but their latest failure to put Arsenal away was telling. The Gunners were actually the better side in that contest as well. In terms of a points total, I'm not sure about that but if you hit 90 points then you are in with a very good chance of lifting the crown...

SMM: It is probably hard to say considering all of United’s attacking options, but who should Southampton be concerned about most and why?

AM: For me, Anthony Martial. Saints have kept two clean sheets in their last three league games but the Frenchman has been in superb form as of late. With four goals and two assists in six performances this season, Martial has shown his quality - whether he starts or comes off the substitute's bench. I'm expecting Martial to shine again at St Mary's this weekend.

SMM: What is one Southampton player that United fans should be wary of and why?

AM: I've always been a fan of Nathan Redmond. If I am completely honest, I haven't been keeping up much with Southampton so far this season but I did see that Redmond received criticism on social media for his performance against Watford. If he keeps his place in the starting line-up, this could be his moment to make a statement on the big stage.

SMM: What have you made of Southampton’s start to the season? Do you think our attack will worry the United back line?

AM: Again, I haven't been following Southampton too closely but the likes of Redmond, Charlie Austin and Shane Long are all capable of causing problems for this United defence. The Reds conceded twice to Stoke City in their most recent Premier League away fixture and Saints can definitely get at Mourinho's back four. It should be an entertaining affair.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

SMM: How do you feel about the Kick It Out campaign to stop people from singing Lukaku’s song, which references the apparent size of his penis? Is football taking a pragmatic approach or is it opening itself up for more issues down the road regarding chants?

AM: There is a fine line between what is acceptable and what isn't. Nobody wants to hear racial songs on the terraces and I agree with the Kick It Out campaign. Some United fans will argue that the chant is harmless but for me, it is unacceptable. Having a laugh and being creative with songs is fine but that chant oversteps the mark.

SMM: Finally, a prediction for the game?

AM: A tricky one. From memory, United have a good record at Southampton - I can't remember the last time we lost there. You don't know which Saints side is going to show up so I'll go with a 2-1 victory for Mourinho's men.

We would like to thank Alex for taking the time to chat with us. You can follow him on Twitter @almacca93, and be sure to check out his content on 888sport.