Manchester United will welcome former manager Jose Mourinho to Old Trafford this weekend as they face off against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
Manchester United will be aiming to carry the momentum from their midweek victory when they lock horns with fellow top four hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.
The Red Devils haven’t made the best of starts to the new season, losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace before narrowly eking out a 3-2 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. However, the 3-0 triumph in midweek against the Seagulls in the Carabao Cup will have given them a lot of confidence heading into the big game this weekend.
Tottenham, meanwhile, will be keen on returning to winning ways in the Premier League. After having been cruelly denied a win against Newcastle United in the Premier League last weekend, the Lilywhites saw off Chelsea in the Carabao Cup (via penalties), before thrashing Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in the UEFA Europa League play-offs on Thursday.
Sunday’s match will have added drama with all the digs being exchanged between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho in the lead-up to the game. A Marcus Rashford double spoilt the Portuguese’s return to Old Trafford last season, as Manchester United beat Tottenham 2-1. Ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester United will be without the services of defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones. Captain Harry Maguire, who was rested in midweek due to a knock, is fit and available for selection. Bruno Fernandes reportedly missed training earlier this week due to a thigh complaint, but is expected to be in contention for Sunday’s game.
Despite Dean Henderson’s impressive performance in the cup games, David de Gea is likely to be retained in goal on Sunday evening. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, both of whom weren’t involved in midweek, should slot in as the full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively.
Eric Bailly was brilliant against Brighton in the Carabao Cup clash. He should start on Sunday against Tottenham, partnering the fit-again Maguire. This would mean Victor Lindelof misses out of the team.
Paul Pogba looked good in his short cameo in midweek but is likely to stay on the bench again, with Donny van de Beek in contention to make his first Premier League start after impressing in back-to-back cup ties. He should have Nemanja Matic as his partner in the midfield double pivot, with key man Bruno Fernandes playing as the No. 10.
Moving into the final third, there is no looking past the first-choice attacking trio of Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Juan Mata, who was the star of the show in midweek, is likely to have to settle for a spot on the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; van de Beek, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Gareth Bale remains unavailable for Jose Mourinho, while he will also be sweating over the fitness of Son Heung-min, who went off injured against Newcastle last week. Giovani Lo Celso is also a doubt heading into the game after being subbed off on Thursday against Maccabi Haifa. Carlos Vinicius has arrived on loan from SL Benfica and may play some part.
Given that this is Spurs’ fourth game in eight days, there are likely to be several tired legs. However, Mourinho is unlikely to make a whole lot of changes to the team that thrashed Maccabi Haifa on Thursday. Hugo Lloris, though, should return into the side, after having made way for Joe Hart in the last game.
Matt Doherty ought to continue as the right-back, but new signing Sergio Reguilon is in line to start at left-back in place of Ben Davies. Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier should form the central defensive partnership for the North London giants.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been a regular feature in the side since making the move from Southampton. He should hold the fort in the centre of the park alongside Harry Winks and look to cut out Fernandes’s influence. With Lo Celso a doubt for the game, Tanguy Ndombele, who has been on a resurgent run, is in line to start as the third midfielder.
With Son a doubt, Mourinho is likely to stick with the three-man frontline of Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Steven Bergwijn once again, although Erik Lamela is an option following his heroics in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Winks, Ndombele; Moura, Kane, Bergwijn
1. Both Teams to Score – NO @ 2.05
1. Under 1.5 Match Goals @ 4.00
- Manchester United are looking to avoid losing their opening two home games of a league season for only the fifth time, and first since 1986/87.
- Tottenham Hotspur have won just three of their last 30 Premier League away matches against the other Big Six sides.
- The Red Devils have only won more Premier League games against Everton than the 35 victories they have enjoyed versus Tottenham.
- Jose Mourinho is winless in his last six away league fixtures against sides he previously managed. However, the Portuguese manager has only lost three of his 22 matches against Manchester United in all competitions. All three defeats were at Old Trafford, with one apiece for Chelsea, Inter Milan and Spurs.
- Manchester United’s 40 Premier League games since the start of last season have produced 20 penalties (15 for and five against). This is second only to Leicester City’s total of 22.
Player to Watch
It has been a difficult month or so for the young Englishman. Having played an integral role in Manchester United’s third-place finish last season with a strong end to the campaign, Greenwood had the world at his feet. Soon, a call-up to the England national team would follow, and the 19-year-old went on to make his debut against Iceland.
However, he was soon axed from the squad after he broke coronavirus guidelines with some misguided behaviour off the field. And Gareth Southgate has decided not to select the Manchester United teenager for the upcoming set of fixtures.
The ups and downs in such a short time are likely to have an impact on the confidence of the youngster. And, it will be up to him now to show the mental character and work his way back into the national team picture with some strong displays for United, starting from Sunday against Tottenham.
Manchester United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United haven’t looked anywhere near their best in the early parts of the campaign. At the same time, Tottenham Hotspur are starting to click under Jose Mourinho, thereby setting up an intriguing clash at Old Trafford this weekend.
Tottenham will be happy to sit back and hit United on the counter, meaning the onus will be on the hosts to take the game to their opponents. However, it is likely to be a cagey affair, much like the last time these two teams met, with chances coming few and far in between. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts this one to end in a 1-1 draw.