Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening following their 4-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. Spurs beat Everton 5-0 on Monday evening and their form is considerably better than United’s.
Ralf Rangnick’s side will need to start grinding out the results this season or they will face a season without UEFA Champions League football, which seems to be happening more often than not post-Sir Alex Ferguson. It will be the player’s fault if that happens.
When City scored their third goal on Sunday, United never got over that, holding their heads down rather than putting up a fight. It just underlines the fact that there is no desire, determination or fight in this team and considering how much this team is paid, that is disgusting.
Personally, I have never been as disgusted in this team as much as I have this season. The captain of the club just does not know how to lead and the so-called world class players seem to have given up, which says more about them than anything else at this moment in time.
Previous meetings with Spurs and their connections with United.
United and Spurs have met a total of 59 times in the Premier League. United have won 37 times, drawing 12 matches with Spurs winning 10 times. United have scored 101 goals, winning eight penalties, scoring all of them. Spurs have scored 57 goals, winning one penalty, scoring it.
United have kept 28 clean sheets in these fixtures with Spurs keeping eight. Discipline is a problem with United player shown 106 yellow cards and four red cards and Spurs players shown 95 yellow cards and one red card. United won the last match – they need to win this one.
Jack Hall, Jimmy Brown, Garth Crooks, Alan Brazil, Terry Gibson, Chris McGrath, Fraizer Campbell, Chris Jones, Zeki Fryers, Teddy Sheringham, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick have played for both United and Spurs in the history of the two clubs.
The more famous three; Sheringham made 153 appearances, scoring 46 goals and 28 assists, Berbatov making 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists and last of all Carrick making 464 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 37 appearances for United.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea needs to start against Spurs. For weeks now, despite him conceding goals, it has been clear that his defence has been letting him down time and time again. When their heads went down against City, that just shows the level of these players.
The Spanish goalkeeper is a great shot stopper but is not the best all round goalkeeper in the world. That said, he is the best player in this position at United, even though Dean Henderson wants to challenge for the position. I don’t believe that he should start against Spurs though.
Henderson had a good few seasons on loan with Sheffield United, helping them reach the Premier League and have a relatively good first season in the top flight. That said, his lack of game time last season was a shame and he’s started fewer matches this season.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelöf, Raphaël Varane, Alex Telles
United’s defence still has the same problems that have been around for years – no real defensive ability or consistency in many of the players. Diogo Dalot should start in the right-back position with Alex Telles at left-back. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has not won his place back in my opinion.
Harry Maguire was terrible against City. Watching the captain of the club hold his head down on conceding a third goal against City is not typical of a United player of captain. Raphaël Varane should start ahead of him against Spurs.
I believe that Victor Lindelöf should be given a chance to form a partnership with Varane. Maguire seems to be running out of time at United, especially with another new manager coming in during the summer, it could mean many changes lie ahead, which needs to happen for the sake of the club.
Midfield Three: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes
Scott McTominay returned from illness against City but did not have the best of matches, however, the passion that he shows is second to none. He’s got a determination about him that does not make him a push over either, which is great to see – a backbone if you will.
Paul Pogba does seem to be a player that is counting the days before he once again leaves United as a free agent, despite coming back to finish what he started, but few people knowing what he started. If he puts his head down and performs, he could be a star player in this team but does he want that?
Bruno Fernandes is a player that gets things done. Despite the frustration, which could be a form of embarrassment for the position United are in this season, knowing that he and his teammates must do better. He should start once again as United needs him to perform.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Elanga
Cristiano Ronaldo did not face Manchester City last weekend and there was an uproar about that with some reports not actually confirmed, so they will not be mentioned. Ronaldo is the clubs top scorer this season and will want to win matches like this. If he is fit, he should start.
Jadon Sancho is still very much a player in form at this time, fresh from scoring United’s only goal against the club he was an academy player for. That was his fifth goal of the season and it seems he will be seeking to score many more of those. He should be a definite starter against Spurs.
Anthony Elanga started against City after a good period of form by the young Swede in the previous weeks. He is a player with something to give and lots to learn and at this stage, he’s definitely much better placed to start over the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Nemanja Matic; Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani
Rangnick will need to have some strengths on the bench just in case the starting XI are unable to deal with the threat of Spurs. After what happened against City, United need some significant firepower on the bench – something which they don’t have much of.
I would expect Dean Henderson to remain on the bench for this match. In defence, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. Jesse Lingard, Fred and Nemanja Matic could be on the bench in the midfield and attacking midfield areas.
In terms of attack, United lack attacking players at this time despite having a healthy balance earlier in the season. Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani could both be available, which would take some reliance away from Ronaldo, if he is fit to start against Spurs.
Written by John Walker