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Preview: Under Pressure but will Another One Bite The Dust against Spurs? Solskjaer to unify United?

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Tottenham Hotspur -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Saturday 30 October 2021, KO 17:30 BST

Referee: Stuart Attwell Assistants: Harry Lennard, Simon Long

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday evening as they travel to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under severe pressure at this time following the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. United have been poor recently, losing to Aston Villa, Leicester City and Liverpool in the league, and drawing with Everton. United have only beaten Villarreal and Atalanta – both in the UEFA Champions League since they beat West Ham United in the league back in September. United need to find a way out of this poor form whilst they can still make amends.

Spurs have not started the season in style with Harry Kane in poor form, even though he has played most matches since him move to Manchester City fell through, plus he has played for England and based on his individual performances, he should be dropped – but seems untouchable. Spurs have been fragile, despite having much better form, based on results, winning four matches and losing twice. Solskjaer might be at rock bottom at this time but he has the squad to turn this around, which could see them rise ahead of Spurs, with a victory ahead of a tough run of matches lying in wait. Come on United!

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWLDWL

Liverpool 5-0 L, Atalanta 3-2 W, Leicester City 4-2 L, Everton 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-1 W, Aston Villa 1-0 L

Goals: 5 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Victor Lindelof, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Tottenham Hotspur – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLWWW

Burnley 1-0 W, West Ham United 1-0 L, Vitesse Arnhem 1-0 L, Newcastle United 3-2 W, Aston Villa 2-1 W, NS Mura 5-1 W

Goals: 7 – Harry Kane, 4 – Son Heung-Min, 2 – Dele Alli, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, 1 – Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura

Assists: 2 – Son Heung-Min, Sergio Reguilón, 1 – Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Bryan Gil, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Harry Kane, Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura, Harry Winks

Previous meetings with Tottenham Hotspur and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Spurs have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 36 times, drawing 12 times with Spurs winning the remaining 10 matches. United have scored 98 goals, winning eight penalties and scoring all of them. Spurs have scored 57 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Spurs keeping eight. United players have been shown a total of 103 yellow cards and four red cards with Spurs players being shown 93 yellow cards and one red card. This needs to be a comeback for United.

Jack Hall, Jimmy Brown, Garth Crooks, Alan Brazil, Terry Gibson, Chris McGrath, Fraizer Campbell, Chris Jones and Zeki Fryers have all played for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. More recently though there are treble winner Teddy Sheringham, who made 153 appearances, scoring 46 goals and 28 assists, two-time Premier League winner Dimitar Berbatov, who made 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists and winner of seven or the eight honours United have contested, Michael Carrick, who made 464 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 37 appearances. He is now one of the coached for the first team.

Team News: Solskjaer will be hoping that Raphael Varane is fit enough to feature this weekend after poor defensive showing in at least the last three matches.

Paul Pogba has been suspended for the next three Premier League matches after his unprofessional red card against Liverpool last weekend. He will miss the matches against Spurs, Manchester City and Watford. Amad Diallo (Thigh) has a 25% chance of being fit, but I see him more as a player that will feature for the U23’s than the first team, until he is fully fit. Anthony Martial (Fitness) has a 50% chance of featuring for United after missing the last few matches. Raphael Varane, who was injured in the last international break, also has a 50% chance of featuring for United this weekend, which is a must based on United’s defensive failures.

Ryan Sessegnon (Other) has been ruled out for the long term and is the only confirmed absentee for the clash against United. Bryan Gil (Hamstring) has a 25% chance of featuring against United, which suggests he will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Spurs seem to be in good shape ahead of an important Premier League match this weekend, but they are not in great form, which can be said for United too. Spurs Stade started well against United last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford, but lost 3-1 at home. They sit a point ahead of United at the time of writing, which will probably see them as the favourites heading into this match.

Predicted Starting XI: A change of formation and tactics could solve United’s problems, or show that the manager and the coaches are the ones lacking ideas – or the players don’t care for this club!

To save himself and get United back on track, Solskjaer needs to change his trusted formation and the tactics, which I feel are a cause of the problems. He also needs to show the players that he is the boss and they need to do what he says, or they will be dropped. This will probably cause the media to hound him even more as they don’t like to show faith as negativity drives hits to their respective websites, which in turn makes them money. It always seems to be United that they are against as that makes them the most money. If Solskjaer cannot change anything, it will only be a matter of time before he will be relieved of his duties.

David De Gea should keep his place as despite conceding 11 goals in the last three matches, they have mostly been defensive errors. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will need to retain his spot as I have no faith in Diogo Dalot. Hopefully Raphael Varane is fit to start as he should partner Harry Maguire, to see if he can find some form after his injury layoff. Alex Telles should be given a shot in the left-back position. Nemanja Matic should play in the defensive midfield position with Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford playing in the four positions behind the striker, which in this match should be Edinson Cavani.

Match Prediction: Manchester United will need to dig deep, root out the problems and find belief, desire and determination to come back from a terrible few months of poor performances and inability.

Last season, United were defeated by Spurs at Old Trafford in a 6-1 thrashing, which was a devastating defeat for the Old Trafford club. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the second minute with Spurs equalising and taking the lead within five minutes. Anthony Martial’s red card saw United collapse with four more goals being scored. At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, United got their revenge, beating the club 3-1 with Son Heung-Min opening the scoring in the 40th minute, Fred equalising in the 57th minute, Edinson Cavani putting United ahead in the 79th minute and Mason Greenwood securing the victory in added time.

United need to find passion, determination, ability and more importantly a game plan for when things do not go the way that was expected. If tactics and the formation are not changed, United will continue to head in the wrong direction after all this work, which has changed the course the club has been heading in. The coaching seems to be problematic and perhaps some tweaking needs to be done there. After a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Liverpool last week, at the Theatre of Dreams, this team should be losing to hit Spurs hard. If that does not happen, questions will be asked and the pressure will end up ripping everything apart.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW