Manchester United will be hoping to exact revenge on Tottenham Hotspur when the two teams face off this weekend in the 2020/21 Premier League.
Matchday 31 of the 2020/21 Premier League continues on Sunday and the big game of the day will see Tottenham Hotspur lock horns with Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, hoping to top four chances alive.
Tottenham are currently seventh in the league table, five points off of Chelsea in fourth place, although the Blues have played a game more. Jose Mourinho’s men squandered a great opportunity to close that gap down last weekend when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Newcastle United and will be hoping to return to winning ways on Sunday.
Manchester United, meanwhile, strengthened their grip on second with their 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion, which was followed by a 2-0 win over Granada in Europe. They are still 14 points off of leaders Manchester City, who lost to Leeds United on Saturday. With two games in hand over the Cityzens, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men can cut down the gap but a title push looks unlikely.
The reverse fixture saw Tottenham humiliate a ten-man Manchester United side 6-1 at Old Trafford. And the Red Devils will have retribution on their mind when they take the field on Sunday. Ahead of this exciting match-up, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
"The three points are there to fight for."
Jose on injuries, top four ambitions and facing Man Utd…
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 9, 2021
Heading into the game, Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has just two players absent, with full-back duo Ben Davies and Matt Doherty ruled out with injuries. Given that they are no longer involved in Europe, Spurs’ players will be well-rested heading into Sunday’s game and Mourinho will field his strongest possible XI.
There is no looking past club captain Hugo Lloris between the sticks for Tottenham. Joe Rodon was one of the few players that impressed for Tottenham against Newcastle last time out and should hold on to his place. Davinson Sanchez, who was poor in the game, could make way for Toby Alderweireld while Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon take up the full-back slots.
Having set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation in the last couple of matches, Mourinho is likely to revert to his favoured 4-2-3-1 on Sunday, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele forming the double pivot. The former will be tasked with keeping a check on Bruno Fernandes while the latter will look to get on the ball and create opportunities.
Additional creative responsibilities will be shared by Giovani Lo Celso, who should be deployed as the No. 10, flanked by the duo of Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min. Harry Kane is the undisputed starter as the centre-forward for Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Rodon, Reguilon; Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Moura, Lo Celso, Son; Kane
Heading into the game, Manchester United will once again be without Anthony Martial while Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are also ruled out. Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba picked up niggles in midweek but are expected to be fit and available for selection against Tottenham. Marcus Rashford also looked in discomfort against Granada, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects him to be ready for Sunday.
Solskjaer on Rashford and Pogba injury: “Marcus, as we spoke about, his foot is a bit sore. Paul had a bit of a niggle but we should be okay." [mutv] #mufc
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) April 8, 2021
There will be a change in goal as Dean Henderson should replace David de Gea, who was given the nod in the Europa League contest. No alterations are expected in the backline, though, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Shaw all starting again. Shaw, in particular, will have a key role to play with his forward runs and chance-creation.
Fred ought to return to the middle of the park at the expense of Scott McTominay after having not featured in midweek. The Brazilian should have Paul Pogba as his partner in the double pivot, while Bruno Fernandes takes the creative mantle in the No. 10 role, with support coming in from Pogba.
Rashford and Mason Greenwood will be the two wide players on the left and right sides, respectively. The former could relish going up against the error-prone Serge Aurier on the evening. With Anthony Martial unavailable, Edinson Cavani becomes the automatic pick up top for Manchester United.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
- Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.75
- Manchester United to win @ 2.45
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 22 away matches in the Premier League. The Red Devils have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight league games on the road.
- Tottenham have won each of their last three Premier League matches at home, scoring at least two goals in each of those.
- Manchester United have won just one of their last eight Premier League games against Tottenham (D4 W3) – a 1-0 win at Wembley in January 2019.
- Having beaten Manchester United 6-1 earlier this season, Tottenham will be looking to a league double over the Red Devils for the first time since 1989/90 under Terry Venables.
- Only Wayne Rooney (15) and Marcus Rashford (13) have scored more Premier League goals as a teenager for Manchester United than Mason Greenwood (12).
Player to Watch
Harry Kane will push for a Tottenham exit if the club fails to achieve Champions League football, according to The Athletic 🗞 pic.twitter.com/tBp6EPiL27
— Goal (@goal) April 10, 2021
The 27-year-old is enjoying another brilliant season, racking up 29 goals and 16 assists in all competitions. Kane is currently level with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot, with 19 league goals.
Should he find the back of the net on Sunday, Kane will be breaching the 20-goal barrier for a fifth different season in the Premier League, following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Alan Shearer (7), Sergio Aguero (6) and Thierry Henry.
Ahead of the game, news broke that the Tottenham superstar will push for an exit in the summer if the club fail to qualify for Champions League football next season. And, given his influence and importance to the team, Kane will have a huge say in whether or not Spurs are able to achieve a top four finish.
Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United
Any possibility of a repeat of the 6-1 scoreline from the reverse fixture are pretty much non-existent given Tottenham’s decline in form and Manchester United’s improved defensive stability.
Furthermore, Tottenham have struggled to create goalscoring chances while Manchester United also have problems breaking open organised defences. So, it is likely to be a cagey affair at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that will end in a 1-1 stalemate.