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Preview: The return of Mourinho. Can United and Solskjaer return to winning ways against a team currently in the zone and scoring goals?

Manchester United -v- Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 4 December 2019, KO 19:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis; Harry Lennard Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United have two big matches this week, the first will be to welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford, along with former manager Jose Mourinho, who has a 100% record in his first three matches at the club, including coming back from 2-0 down against Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League last week, winning 4-2. The former United manager will be happy to face United in their current form.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are not anything like the teams they have been at various times during the history of the club. Gone is that success, that determination, that winning mentality and it needs to all be rekindled once again, however that is possible. United will also face Manchester City this week, who are a team fallen from their last two seasons of dominance – a good time to face them?

United currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League, which will change as there are two matches which will be played in Tuesday evening, four more kicking off at the same time, one more 45 minutes later, two more on the following day. All these fixtures will be live on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom, the first time Premier League football has been streamed on the platform.

Form: United winless in their last three matches, winning twice in their last six matches. Spurs unbeaten in their last six matches with Jose Mourinho having a 100% record in his first three Spurs matches.

Manchester United: DLDWWL

Aston Villa 2-2 D, Astana 2-1 L, Sheffield United 3-3 D, Brighton And Hove Albion 3-1 W, Partizan Belgrade 3-0 W, Bournemouth 1-0 L

Tottenham Hotspur: WWWDWD

Bournemouth 3-2 W, Olympiakos 4-2 W, West Ham United 3-2 W, Sheffield United 1-1 D, Crvena Zvezda 4-0 W, Everton 1-1 D

Top Scorers: United and Spurs have scored 70 goals between them this season, United scoring ten goals fewer than Spurs. To take three points in this match, United will have to pull out all the stops and show that they still care.

Manchester United: 30 goals scored by United this season including an own goal. 10 goals fewer than Spurs by Marcus Rashford is keeping up with Harry Kane.

Goals: 10 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Own Goal, Victor Lindelof

At a time where it seemed United had turned a corner, they turned another – an inability to take on their opposition, pressure them and more importantly beat them. A baptism of fire will come this week a United face Spurs and Manchester City which could well see United, in the worst case scenario, securing a place in the bottom half of the table. Two wins, as unlikely as it may seem, could see them rise to the top half.

Tottenham Hotspur: 40 goals scored by Spurs this season, 10 of which have come under the reign of Mourinho. Harry Kane the top scorer for the club, setting the pace for the league?

Goals: 13 – Harry Kane, 9 – Son Heung-Min, 5 – Dele Alli, 3 – Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Tanguy Ndombele, 1 – Serge Aurier, Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko

Spurs are fifth in the Premier League, 20 points off leaguer leaders Liverpool and just two points ahead of United. To break into the top four, Spurs will need to ensure victories over both United and and Burnley this week and hope for the likes of Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United and Arsenal slip up. Can Spurs come up against this United side and reign supreme? They have the talent to do so.

Team News: Could Paul Pogba be fit enough to face former manager Jose Mourinho? Will Scott McTominay be back to bolster the midfield? Does United have fully fit players to fight for the victory?

Solskjaer has some problems with injury with is affecting him team selection. Fred and Andreas Pereira played in midfield against Aston Villa and the latter was nothing special. Scott McTominay could be back to face Spurs on Wednesday, although it was hoped he would face Villa. Paul Pogba is likely to be out for this game too, possibly returning against Manchester City at the weekend.

Marcos Rojo will not be fit for this game either but there is hardly a problem with injury in the defensive area, just a lack of quality in places. Nemanja Matic, despite returning to training seems unlikely to get himself back into the team at this moment in time and the likes of Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Diogo Dalot are unlikely to feature much until the latter end of the month.

Mourinho has injury problems to contend with which keeps two goalkeepers on the sidelines through injury; Hugo Lloris (arm/elbow), who will not be back in contention until February 2020 and Michel Vorm (calf/shin/heel) who might not be back until the weekend, at the earliest. Erik Lamela is also out with a thigh injury and Ben Davies unlikely to feature with an ankle/foot injury.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line, Anthony Martial in behind, flanked by Marcus Rashford and Daniel James?

One match played in December sees eight more remaining until the end of the month, nine if you include New Year’s Day. It is important to rotate the team, where possible, to keep players fresh for upcoming matches. Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, and Mason Greenwood could add something. A slight formation change needs to happen to as the way United play, especially with dire midfielders (due to injury) it is just not working as well as it is for other teams.

Match Prediction: Spurs on form unbeaten in their last six matches with Mourinho holding a 100% record since he became the manager. Solskjaer needs to get a grip on the squad and lead them to winning matches, especially matches as big as this one.

United and Tottenham Hotspur have played 191 times in the history of both clubs. United have won 91, drawn 48 and lost 52 times. The first match between the two clubs was played in 1899. United met Spurs at Wembley in January, winning 1-0. In the last ten matches, United have won six of them, losing four times. In the last nine matches, there has been a pattern; United WLWLWLWLW.

If that pattern continues, United are destined to lose at Old Trafford on Wednesday but they can break that pattern themselves, if they desire to. In the last match at Old Trafford, Spurs beat United 3-0 with a goal from Harry Kane and a brace from Lucas Moura. United last beat Spurs at Old Trafford in October 2017, a 1-0 victory with Anthony Martial scoring the winning goal in the 81st minute.

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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