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Jamie Carragher: Victor Valdes moving to Manchester United as No 2 'keeper has its pros and cons

Image: Victor Valdes: 'Closing in' on a move to Manchester United

In his weekly column, Jamie Carragher has his say on the main talking points surrounding Manchester United's game with Southampton and Stoke's trip to Arsenal, plus talk of Victor Valdes' move to the Premier League.

The former Liverpool and England defender discusses the pros and cons of having two top-class goalkeepers at one club, Southampton's top four credentials and Arsenal's chances of avenging their December defeat by Stoke.

You were at Liverpool when Jerzy Dudek was battling Pepe Reina for the No 1 spot. What are the pros of cons of having two top class goalkeepers with Victor Valdes signing for Manchester United?

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Image: David De Gea: Has had a superb season so far for United

CARRA SAYS: It’s an interesting deal and normally you don’t see two top ‘keepers at one club. For outfield players’ psychology, they need to know who’s No 1, it gives them confidence. With outfield players you need competition and goalkeepers need competition as well, but you need knowledge of who is No 1. I think psychology with goalkeepers is a problem at times. We had Reina and Dudek, two top class ‘keepers and one had just won the Champions League, but we all knew Pepe was the No 1. Valdes has had a great career at Barcelona, and Louis van Gaal obviously wants a better No 2 than what he’s got in Anders Lindegaard, and he’s gone for him, but there would be no doubt that De Gea will be No 1 goalkeeper.

Are Manchester United faltering slightly with three draws in their last four games?

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CARRA SAYS: Van Gaal has come in and done a good job. They’re not winning too many away from home, but look at where they are in the league with a new manager and lots of new signings. It was a difficult start, and the manager has mentioned their away form a few times. That’s probably going to stop them from competing with the top two. I think it’s obvious there’s that little gap between United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and the top two of Chelsea and Manchester City.

Southampton have hit back after a few defeats, but are they worthy of a top four place come May?

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  Morgan Schneiderlin #4 (R) of Southampton celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal to level the scores at 1-1 dur
Image: Southampton: Currently fourth in the Premier League

CARRA SAYS: I don’t think they’ll get in the top four, obviously when you lose a few top players you find it difficult, as any team would. But when people called them flat-track bullies for beating teams around them, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it means they’re having a really good season. But now and then they’ll also take a scalp, as they’ve shown by beating Arsenal twice this season, once in the League Cup. The job Ronald Koeman’s done, I think, has made him the manager of the first half of the season. And even if they’re losing games it’s no big deal, because if Southampton can get near the Europa League places it would be an absolutely brilliant season. I just think top four will be too far for them.

Morgan Schneiderlin has been linked with a move to Arsenal. Is the Saints player a top-four midfielder?

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CARRA SAYS: Schneiderlin is one of Saints’ top players, we know that. In the summer Mauricio Pochettino wanted to take him to Tottenham, he knows him well. He’s so suited to the Premier League; he’s a good physical presence, has good energy, and I don’t think it will just be Arsenal. If Schneiderlin became available, lots of top teams will be looking at him.

Have Arsenal learned from their mistakes at the Britannia in early December? And will they fall to Stoke again?

CARRA SAYS: Stoke away is notoriously difficult for Arsenal, but they’ve not had similar problems at home. They've won all six Premier League games against Stoke at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are just a different proposition at home, they find it difficult with those types of games away from home, but you must say they are favoured at the Emirates on a big, open pitch. But Stoke have had some good away days, they’ve beaten Man City, Tottenham and Everton, plus Mark Hughes has been a Premier League manager for a long time now and always makes it difficult for the opposition. But it’s a game you expect Arsenal to win.

Watch Arsenal v Stoke from 12.30pm, followed by Manchester United v Southampton from 3.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Sunday. 

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