Preview: Mourinho to give youth a chance in White Hart Lane farewell?


Tottenham Hotspur -v- Manchester United

White Hart Lane, London

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 14th May 2017; KO 16:30 BST

Manchester United will travel to North London again this weekend, this time to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at White Hart Lane, the last ever competitive match at the stadium before it is demolished for development. Next season this fixture will be played on the hallowed turf of Wembley. Both United and Spurs have little to play for in the league at this stage; Spurs already finishing second to champions Chelsea, who clinched their fifth Premier League title on Friday evening with a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, their sixth league title in total. United have nothing to play for either sitting in sixth place, out of the Champions League places and in with a tough chance at breaking through into the top four, with Jose Mourinho stating it was impossible with three matches left to play this season. Mourinho playing youth may just be the best thing that could happen in the league, resting the players for their UEFA Europa League final against Ajax in a week and a half.

Mourinho utilised Axel Tuanzebe from the start against Arsenal last weekend, also giving Scott McTominay his debut at the end of the match, which United lost 2-0. Both players could be in with the chance to play again this weekend, but adding the likes of Demetri Mitchell and maybe even Matthew Olosunde could be a good thing for Mourinho and United, even though the U23’s will be due to face Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday evening, the final match of the season at that level of football. United could use the last three league matches of the season to blood in youth, test them at the top-level in view of what to do next season. A new star could be unearthed – stranger things have happened – look at Marcus Rashford, which will be viewed as a benchmark for the youth players at this moment in time. Mourinho was asked about his selections for the final three league matches of the season, starting with Spurs away and he said:

“I approach these games the same. I have to give some minutes to everyone because we only have 15 players. We don’t have more. We only have 15 so I have to play them but I have to play them in a mixed way and by periods. 

“I don’t have another solution. In the Premier League, we can only finish fifth or sixth. I don’t think we can finish seventh or we can finish fourth so it’s fifth or sixth and we can win a trophy. By winning that trophy, we can play in the Champions League next season so that’s the game but, obviously, like we did against Arsenal, we didn’t throw the match away. 

“We played and we tried to win. We gave a difficult match to our opponents and had chances to get a different result. It’s what we are going to do. We are not going say matches are not important – they are important. But we have one that is more important than others. The match on Sunday is important for us too.”

Match Officials: Jonathan Moss to officiate the last ever United v Spurs match at White Hart Lane

Jonathan Moss will officiate the final match at White Hart Lane on Sunday. This will be Moss’ 36th match of the season; 29th in the Premier League, also officiating two League One matches, three FA Cup matches and two League Cup matches this season. In total, Moss has shown 137 yellow cards and three red cards in the matches he has taken charge of this season. This will be his fifth match involving Manchester United this season, taking charge of his fourth Premier League match involving Mourinho’s side; the 1-0 victory over Hull City, the 1-1 draw against West Ham United and the 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough. Moss also took charge of the 2-1 EFL Cup defeat to Hull City, with United progressing to the final on aggregate. The assistant referees have been names as Eddie Smart and Andy Halliday with the fourth official confirmed as Lee Mason.

Form: United’s season can end with two trophies, Spurs have won nothing…

Manchester United: This season, despite United’s league position, it has been a successful one. United started with an FA Community Shield victory, winning the EFL Cup on the hallowed turf of Wembley in February and could lift the UEFA Europa League in Sweden at the end of the month, completing their haul of every major honour the clubs has entered, which will be a foundation ahead of next season where United will be tasked to take on Chelsea for the Premier League title, lifting their second in three years at the end of this season after clinching the title on Friday evening. Mourinho has been successful, but United still require improvement, clearance of the deadwood and taking a chance on youth, which could come over the next three matches.

Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino’s side have played attractive attacking football for most of the season, coming unstuck when it mattered, allowing Chelsea to win the Premier League – at the moment with ten points over their London rivals. Spurs could peg that back to seven with a victory over United on Sunday, but will their season have been all that successful? Spurs exited the EFL Cup, the Emirates FA Cup, not to mention the UEFA Champions League at the group stages and then the UEFA Europa League in the round of 32. Winning nothing will be what Spurs’ season was all about, despite looking good, what do they really have to show for it. That will all come to a head in the final match at White Hart Lane, where just like West Ham United, the London club will be looking to end their time at the stadium on a high.

Who are the top scorers at both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur this season?

Manchester United: 28 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 8 – Anthony Martial, 7 – Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Tottenham Hotspur: 27 – Harry Kane, 21 – Dele Alli, 19 – Son Heung-min, 12 – Christian Eriksen, 6 – Vincent Janssen, 3 – Victor Wanyama, 2 – Eric Dier, Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, 1 – Toby Alderweireld, Tom Carroll, Ben Davies, Mousa Dembélé, Josh Onomah, Harry Winks

Team News: Youth to be given the chance by Jose Mourinho in penultimate away match of the season?

Manchester United will be without Marouane Fellaini, who will be sitting out of his third league match in a row after being sent off against Manchester City a few weeks ago, being available for the final two matches of the season away to Southampton and at home to Crystal Palace. Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are all out for the remainder of the season through injury. It is possible that Mourinho will rotate his side like he did against Arsenal a week ago, possibly with some youth players being granted a chance to show what they can do in order to get in the manager’s plans next season. Mauricio Pochettino will be without three players; Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and possibly Danny Rose who was due to recover from his MCL injury ahead of this important match – the final match at White Hart Lane.

Previous Meetings: 118 years at White Hart Lane ends this weekend for Tottenham Hotspur who could win their 50th match against United!

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have played 185 times in the history, the first meeting being played on the 28th January 1899, a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup. United have won 88 times against the North London club, drawing 48 times and losing 49 times. The first match at White Hart Lane between the two sides was played on the 11th September 1909, a 2-2 draw in the old division one. There have been a number of great fixtures between the two sides over the years, both at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford. The 5-2 thriller on the 25th April 2009 was one of the most memorable, United were 2-0 down in the 32nd minute – scoring five second-half goals in 22 minutes from a penalty in the 57th minute, to the final goal eleven minutes from time – which was scored by former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov. The other four were scored by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney – a brace a piece. United once went 26 matches unbeaten against Spurs in domestic competitions stretching from the 5-3 victory on the 29th September 2001, right the way to the 3-1 victory on the 4th March 2012 – more than ten years unbeaten. Recently, though, United have found it tough against Spurs – winning three times in the nine matches played since their 26-match unbeaten run was ended. United have drawn once and lost once in two matches at White Hart Lane since their last win back in 2012.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Tottenham Hotspur?

Predicted Score:

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United

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