Tottenham Hotspur will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Manchester United at the Wembley Stadium
After the weekend’s FA Cup games, the focus now shifts back to the Premier League as Tottenham Hotspur gear up to clash against Manchester United at the Wembley on Wednesday night.
Tottenham come into the game without a win in their last two fixtures, having been held to consecutive 1-1 draws first by Southampton in the Premier League, followed by Newport County in the FA Cup. And manager Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to get his side back on track with a victory over Jose Mourinho’s side.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have been in terrific form since the turn of the year. The 20-time English champions have won all their games in 2018 and come into the Wednesday’s encounter on the back of a 4-0 win over Yeovil Town in the FA Cup. They will be keen on extending their perfect start to the new year with another strong display at the Wembley Stadium.
Last time the two teams met Manchester United emerged victorious, thanks to a late goal from Frenchman Anthony Martial.
Team News and Tactics
Tottenham have a number of players back from injury as the likes of Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose all returned to training and are in contention for selection. Star defender Toby Alderweireld also trained with the first team but is unlikely to be thrust into action straight away, while Serge Aurier and Harry Winks remain sidelined.
Pochettino is likely to go in with a 4-2-3-1 setup at home on Wednesday, welcoming Lloris in goal with Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies starting as the two full-backs, while Davinson Sanchez should slot in alongside Jan Vertonghen in the centre of the backline. The back four will be in for a test, with United’s attack doing quite well in recent weeks.
In the two-man midfield, Eric Dier is likely to partner up with Mousa Dembele. The former will be in-charge of keeping a close watch on Paul Pogba and stopping him from getting forward regularly, while the latter will be tasked with driving Tottenham forward from the middle.
Christian Eriksen will return to the side, having recovered from illness and should take his place on the right-side. His vision and creativity will be key for Tottenham to pierce open the United defence. Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min will complete the attacking midfield with Harry Kane leading the line. The Premier League top-scorer was missed in Spurs’ previous game against United and will be keen on taking his team across the line.
Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane;
Mourinho will welcome back a number of first team regulars who he had rested for the cup clash against Yeovil Town, as the likes of David De Gea, Anthony Martial, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia have all returned to the squad. The only absentees for United for their trip to the Wembley are Eric Bailly (ankle), Daley Blind (ankle) and Zlatan Ibrahimović (fitness).
Jose too is expected to set his team out in a 4-2-3-1 setup, with De Gea assuming duties in goal, behind the well settled backline of Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young. The centre-half duo of Jones and Smalling have been quite impressive of late but will have to bring their A-game to keep Harry Kane quiet.
Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic should occupy the two midfield pivots to try and stop Tottenham from settling into a rhythm, with support from Jesse Lingard, who will start in the No.10 role. The England international will most likely be flanked by Anthony Martial on the left-side and United’s latest acquisition Alexis Sanchez on the right.
The two wide players will be United’s main attacking outlets and will have to make sure they provide striker Romelu Lukaku with decent opportunities to try and punish the Tottenham defence.
Probable line-up (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling. Young; Matic, Pogba; Sanchez, Mata, Martial; Lukaku;
- Spurs have won two of their seven Premier League matches against Manchester United under Mauricio Pochettino (D1 L4).
- No team are on a current longer unbeaten run in the Premier League than Manchester United (8).
- Manchester United have kept a clean sheet in their last 4 matches in the Premier League. They have managed a shutout in 5 of their last 7 matches against Tottenham in all competitions.
- Tottenham are undefeated in their last 11 home matches in the Premier League. However, United have won five of their last six away games in the English top-flight.
- Paul Pogba has not finished on the losing team in any of his last 36 Premier League appearances, dating back to October 2016.
Player to watch
Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)
The 29-year old made his debut for United in the 4-0 win over Yeovil Town, following his move from Arsenal and is very much certain to start against Tottenham at Wembley.
Sanchez doesn’t boast a great record against Spurs, having managed just two goals in eight appearances against them, one of which came in Arsenal’s 2-0 win in November last year. He will be intent on addressing that with a strong display against Tottenham and hopefully leading United to an important victory.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
United have been in better form coming into the game, but Mourinho is very much likely to set his side up looking for a draw, like he does for most big games away from home. Tottenham, having not able to win against inferior oppositions in the past two games, would be cautious enough not to succumb to a defeat and as a result we at the Hard Tackle predict a one-all draw at the Wembley.