Preview: United need to show they are willing to battle against Spurs, not hold their heads down

Desire, determination and fight is needed to get something from this season

Manchester United -v- Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 12 March 2022, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Jonathan MossAssistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Andre Marriner – Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton

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.

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

Manchester City 4-1 L, Watford 0-0 D, Atletico Madrid 1-1 D, Leeds United 4-2 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D

Goals: 15 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, 3 – Anthony Elanga, Fred, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, 1 – Own Goal, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 14 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Luke Shaw, 4 – Fred, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Alex Telles, Raphael Varane

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

Everton 5-0 W, Middlesbrough 1-0 L, Leeds United 4-0 W, Burnley 1-0 L, Manchester City 3-2 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 L

Goals: 18 – Harry Kane, 12 – Son Heung-Min, 6 – Lucas Moura, 3 – Steven Bergwijn, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 2 – Dele Alli, Dejan Kulusevski, Tanguy Ndombele, Sergio Reguilón, Davinson Sánchez, 1 – Matt Doherty, Own Goal, Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks

Assists: 6 – Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura, 4 – Matt Doherty, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Harry Kane, 3 – Sergio Reguilón, 2 – Dejan Kulusevski, Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks, 1 – Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Ben Davies, Tanguy Ndombele, Emerson Royal, Ryan Sessegnon

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.

Team News: United have four doubts ahead of Spurs clash with the North London club having three players rules out due to injury.

Manchester United: Edinson Cavani (Groin), Cristiano Ronaldo (Hip), Raphaël Varane (Coronavirus) and Luke Shaw (Coronavirus) all missed Sunday’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City. All four players currently have a 50% chance of featuring in this match. Varane most likely to be involved.

Tottenham Hotspur: Ryan Sessegnon (Thigh), Oliver Skipp (Groin) and Japhet Tanganga (Knee) have all been ruled out of Saturday’s trip to the Theatre of Dreams. Spurs will have enough in the bag for this match and a confidence boost after the 5-0 victory over Everton.

Predicted Starting XI: United need to show fight, determination and heart on the pitch – anything less than that is not good enough and never will be…

Rangnick should really be annoyed with the performance of his team on Sunday. For the first half and 22 minutes of the second half, United seemed to weather the storm that City were directing towards them. Then when the third goal was scored – heads were down.

That shows that this team is not right – nothing about it is right. You can have two or three players trying to fight back but when the rest don’t bother, it is never going to work. Gone are the days that United fought to the end, even if defeat was likely.

David De Gea should keep his place as this defence needs to find itself and some kind of ability to defend – without him, it could be much worse this season. Diogo Dalot should be recalled with Alex Telles keeping the other fullback place. Raphaël Varane and Victor Lindelöf should start together.

In the midfield, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes should occupy those positions, which on paper is the best midfield combination. Anthony Elanga (left) and Jadon Sancho (right) should flank Cristiano Ronaldo, if he is fit to start this match following his absence against City.

Match Prediction: United won one and lost one last season against Spurs and they beat them 3-0 earlier in the season – this match needs to be a victory for United.

Last season in this fixture at Old Trafford, Spurs were able to come from 1-0 down in the first few minutes of the match to score six goals, making it the biggest defeat for United that season, starting off in very bad form but recovered at the end of the season.

It was a day that many would like to forget as Spurs were a flip flop team last season, eventually ending up in the UEFA Europa Conference League position, and embarrassing themselves in that competition earlier this season.

There is no love lost for Spurs. At the Tottenham Hotspur stadium last season, United got a 3-1 victory, ending the season in much better form than the season started. However, this season seems to be the opposite. United started well and are looking to finish terribly.

Earlier this season, United beat Spurs 3-0 away from home but now they have a new manager in Antonio Conte and they seems to have changed their form, albeit not all that consistently. This is an important match for United – one that they have to win.

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.