Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from a disastrous defeat last weekend, when they take on Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.

It will be the clash of heavyweights at Old Trafford on Monday when Manchester United face off against fellow top-four contenders Tottenham Hotspur in matchweek 3 of the 2018-19 Premier League.

Jose Mourinho and his wards find themselves under intense pressure, following their shock 3-2 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. With speculations of unrest between the some key members of the squad and the manager, Manchester United will need to rise above all of it and put in a strong performance at home, if they are to get things back on track.

Tottenham, on the other hand, have a perfect record so far in the new season, following their 3-1 triumph over London rivals Fulham at the Wembley last weekend. Mauricio Pochettino’s side haven’t had the best of times visiting Old Trafford in the recent past and given United’s current state they will be looking at Monday’s game as the perfect opportunity to bag all three points.

Team News and Tactics

Manchester United

The Red Devils have been dealt with an injury blow heading into the game as left-back Luke Shaw, who had started the season on a strong note, is a major doubt after picking up a foot injury in training. Marcos Rojo, Sergio Romero and Diogo Dalot remain sidelined.

However, they have been boosted by the return of seasoned campaigners Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic, both of whom returned to full training last week. Alexis Sanchez is also set to come back after missing out the previous game due to a groin problem.

David De Gea is a guaranteed starter in goal for United. Last season’s Golden Glove winner is yet to keep a clean sheet this season and will be itching to set that straight on Monday night. Valencia should return to the right-back slot, with Ashley Young moving to the opposite side of the back four, following Shaw’s injury.

Mourinho has a selection headache when it comes to the heart of the defence following Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof’s dire displays last weekend. Chris Smalling should be in line to make his first appearance of the season, with Lindelof likely to be retained in the backline by the Portuguese tactician.

Matic is likely to be rushed back into the starting XI in the holding midfield role ahead of the young Andreas Pereira, while Paul Pogba and Fred are likely to hold onto their spots in the middle of the park. Neither performed at the level expected against Brighton and will need to step up in a big way on Monday night.

Alexis Sanchez is also set to return to the lineup in place of Anthony Martial out on the left-flank. The Chilean scored when United last met Spurs and will have a major role to play again. On the opposite side, Jesse Lingard could be in line for his first start of the campaign, after Juan Mata’s ineffective display last time out. Romelu Lukaku will spearhead the attack.

Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Fred, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Alexis;

Tottenham Hotspur

Pochettino will once again be without the services of Son Heung-min, who is away on international duty with South Korea. Victor Wanyama is back in training but is unlikely to be involved on Monday, while Juan Foyth and Vincent Janssen remain sidelined for the Lilywhites.

There are huge question marks over the involvement of captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, after he was charged with drink-driving on Friday. This could pave way for Dutchman Michel Vorm to start between the sticks at Old Trafford.

The manager is expected to stick with Toby Alderweireld, who was heavily linked with a move to United this summer, along with Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen in a 3-man defensive setup. Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies should start as the wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively and look to provide Spurs with width going forward.

Christian Eriksen will be on playmaking duties for the visitors in the middle of the park, while England international Eric Dier will be tasked with shielding the defence and breaking up United’s attacks.

Lucas Moura and Dele Alli will slot take up the attacking midfield slots in the right and left channels and look to cause the United defence problems with their movement and link-up play, with England captain Harry Kane starting at the tip of the attack for the North London outfit.

Probable Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Vorm; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Eriksen, Dier, Davies; Lucas, Alli; Kane;

Key Stats

  • Only in the 1992-93 season have Manchester United lost more than one of their opening three matches of a Premier League campaign.
  • Tottenham’s 21 defeats at Old Trafford is the most by any away team at a single stadium in Premier League history.
  • A team from London hasn’t won away against Manchester United in the Premier League since Spurs’ win on New Year’s Day 2014 – since then, London clubs have taken just seven points from a possible 66 at Old Trafford (P22 W0 D7 L15).
  • Harry Kane has only scored once in eight league games against Manchester United. His solitary goal in 645 minutes in this fixture is his worst Premier League ratio against any of the 26 different teams he has scored against.
  • Mauricio Pochettino has lost 11 competitive fixtures against Jose Mourinho, more than against any other manager.

Betting Odds

Favourable Bets

  1. Manchester United Asian Handicap 0.0 @ 1.830
  2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.00

Underdog Bets

  1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 3.30

Player to watch

Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

Will Lukaku shed the tag of flat-track bully? (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Will Lukaku shed the tag of flat-track bully? (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Lukaku’s track record against the big teams was called into question plenty of times last season. In 12 fixtures against the rest of the big six of England across all competitions last term, the 25-year old managed just one goal, that came against former club Chelsea. In comparison Spurs talisman Harry Kane bagged four goals in 10 games against a top-six opposition in the 2017-18 campaign.

Lukaku’s record against United’s Monday’s opponents reads just one goal in eleven appearances across all competitions, that he scored for Everton more than a year ago.

The Belgian centre-forward marked his first start of the season with a first-half goal against Brighton last weekend and it will be down to him to prove himself to be a big-game player with a match-winning performance on Monday.

Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham, despite their perfect start to the campaign, have struggled to get results at Old Trafford. Four defeats on their past four visits without scoring a single goal highlight their recent toils at the Theatre of Dreams. And Monday night would be the perfect opportunity for the North Londoners to buck that trend.

Just three weeks into the new season, Mourinho and United find their backs against the wall. With so much negativity surrounding the club and murmurs of disharmony between the players, the manager and the hierarchy, things are far from ideal.

However, every member of the team and the staff will come into Monday’s game with a point to prove after the manner of their defeat to Brighton. And as a result, we at The Hard Tackle expect the Red Devils to bounce back with a big performance and take all three points against Pochettino’s men.

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