This game at St Mary’s signals the beginning of Saints’ extremely busy – and difficult – festive period.

It’s all systems go now until the New Year and Mark Hughes’ team will have to play a number of tricky fixtures.

After welcoming United to St Mary’s, Saints will go up against Tottenham, Cardiff, Arsenal, Huddersfield, West Ham, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Out of those fixtures, the two obvious standout games are with Cardiff and Huddersfield. Saints aren’t in the position to be dropping points to teams around them in the table.

But back on to Man United and this weekend’s match.

There probably isn’t a better time to play Jose Mourinho’s side at the moment, but in saying that, there isn’t a better time for an away team to visit St Mary’s.

If Saints can get a positive result against United, whether that be a victory or a draw, they could take a great deal of confidence into the upcoming fixtures.

However, if they are on the end of a heavy defeat, it won’t bode well for the rest of their festive period.

Saints’ Premier League H2H record against Manchester United:

P38 W7 D6 L25

Man United’s Premier League form this season:

P13 W6 D3 L4, seventh in the table (21 points)

Who has been the opposition’s key player this campaign?

Daily Echo:

Manchester United's Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial receives a fair amount of criticism from Jose Mourinho, but where would United be without his goals?

Much lower than seventh, that’s for sure.

Martial has dug Mourinho’s team out of a hole on more than one occasion this season and still gets berated by the boss.

He is their top scorer this season with six Premier League goals which is only two shy of Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Frenchman has the pace, trickery and finishing touch to turn him into a world beater. He just needs a bit of love from Mourinho to guide him on his way.

A closer look at Jose Mourinho:

Mourinho burst onto the scene back in 2004 when he guided his Porto side to an unlikely Champions League win.

The Portuguese boss then arrived in south-west London to take over Chelsea after they sacked Claudio Ranieri.

Daily Echo:

Jose Mourinho at his Chelsea unveiling in 2004

In his first two seasons he won back-to-back Premier League titles and built a team around the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

It all unravelled for him in his fourth season at Stamford Bridge though.

He was unceremoniously sacked by club owner Roman Abramovich following a 1-1 draw with Rosenborg BK.

Not one to settle for his already impressive achievements, Mourinho took charge of Inter Milan the following season and guided them to an historic treble in 2010 which included his second Champions League win.

Daily Echo:

Jose Mourinho (far right) celebrates Inter Milan's Champions League win

Real Madrid then came calling and he answered.

However, after three seasons and one La Liga title it turned sour in Spain and he was sacked by the club president.

This led him to return to Chelsea. During his second spell he managed to add another Premier League title to his name.

But keeping with a continual theme, it went haywire in his third season back at the club.

Manchester United then had a vacancy that needed filling and they turned to Mourinho in a bid to restore the club to its former glories.

In his first year at Old Trafford, United won a Europa League and a League Cup when they beat Saints 3-2 in the final.

Daily Echo:

Jose Mourinho kisses the Europa League trophy in 2017

Mourinho appears to be under intense pressure at the moment, especially with local neighbours Man City playing eye-catching football and storming the league.

He is in his third season at Old Trafford and given his history, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if it unravels again.