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Preview: Victory over Spurs is a must with players using the 6-1 defeat as the ammunition to get the win

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Tottenham Hotspur -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Sunday 11 April 2021, KO 16:30 BST

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Adam Nunn, Sian Massey-Ellis

Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

VAR: Craig Pawson Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they face Tottenham Hotspur at their new stadium three days after beating Granada 2-0 in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg in Spain. Spurs exited the competition in the last round, so will have had the best part of a week’s rest ahead of this match meaning that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could be at a disadvantage with Jose Mourinho’s squad having extra resting time following United’s return to Manchester in the early hours of Friday morning. United beat Brighton and Hove Albion in the league last week, giving them a four-point cushion over third-placed Leicester City.

Spurs sit in sixth place in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of United, which is some distance considering the Spurs supporters still talk about them beating United 6-1 at Old Trafford earlier in the season – it did not get them far, did it? If Chelsea do not get the upper hand over Crystal Palace, Spurs could be looking to break into the top five and with West Ham United facing Leicester City, a win could give United more breathing space with the Hammers seeking to remain in the top four, which they achieved because of Chelsea losing to West Bromwich Albion last week and them beating Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

Manchester United: WWLWWD

Granada CF 2-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Leicester City 3-1 L, AC Milan 1-0 W, West Ham United 1-0 W, AC Milan 1-1 D

Tottenham Hotspur: DWLLWW

Newcastle United 2-2 D, Aston Villa 2-0 W, Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 L, Arsenal 2-1 L, Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 4-1 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane have both scored 24 goals in all competitions this season with Kane scoring three more goals in the Premier League than Fernandes.

Manchester United Goals: 24 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Mason Greenwood, Daniel James, Paul Pogba, 3 – Own Goal, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

In the past six matches, United have won four, drawn once and lost once – scoring eight goals, conceding five and keeping three clean sheets. In their last Premier League match, United moved four points away from Leicester City, who were in third place, opening up a nine-point lead between them in second place and the fifth-placed team, which gives United some security, as long as they keep winning league matches. Beating Spurs this weekend should give United some thunder in the top four and they should be in the mind to beat them, after the 6-1 defeat at the start of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur Goals: 24 – Harry Kane, 17 – Son Heung-Min, 10 – Gareth Bale, Carlos Vinícius, 8 – Lucas Moura, 5 – Tanguy Ndombele, 3 – Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso, 2 – Dele Alli, Serge Aurier, Davinson Sánchez, Harry Winks, 1 – Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Alfie Devine, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Moussa Sissoko

In their last six matches, Spurs have won three, drawn once and lost twice – scoring 11 goals, conceding eight and keeping two clean sheets. It is not the best form for a team looking to reach European football of some substance next season, which is going to be tough if they expect to make the UEFA Champions League places. Spurs supporters will mock United for the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford at the start of the season but though three points they earned do not seem to have done much for them. They will probably crow about their Carabao Cup final place at the end of the month too, pretending that they have a chance of winning it.

Team News: Three players ruled out for United with two players ruled out for Spurs. United could be sweating on two players with two more welcomed back for Spurs.

Phil Jones (knee), Anthony Martial (knee) and Eric Bailly (coronavirus) have all been ruled out for the visit to Spurs on Sunday. Paul Pogba is a slight doubt after suffering a niggle against Granada on Thursday evening and has a 75% chance of facing Spurs with Luke Shaw also having a slight problem during the match inn Spain which saw him replaced by Alex Telles at half time, but he also has a 75% change of featuring against Spurs. Both players will be subject to a late fitness test. United did not suffer any other problems on Thursday so should have a relatively big squad to choose from ahead of the match.

Matt Doherty (muscular) and Ben Davies (calf/shin) have both been ruled out of the visit of United in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier had problems returning to the club after the international break which meant they did not feature for the club last weekend due to not getting their COVID-19 tests in time to return to training last Thursday and Friday. They are both fully fit and should be included in the squad this weekend with Spurs seeking to do the double over United and the Old Trafford club seeking revenge for the defeat earlier in the season which was based on fitness, not the greatness of Spurs.

Predicted Starting XI: David De Gea to keep his place with Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood leading the line for United?

Solskjaer probably won’t make any changes against Spurs and will be seeking to get a good result on the road after losing their away run against Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup before the international break. Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood could lead the line, supported by Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Fred in midfield. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw (providing he comes through a late fitness test) could start in the fullback positions with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire partnering in the centre of defence. David De Gea could keep his place for this match after missing the past seven matches, so he will be eager.

Match Prediction: 57 matches played in the Premier League but United have won 35 of the matches, drawing 12, meaning Spurs have won ten times in the history of the Premier League which is poor form.

United and Spurs have met 57 times in the history of the Premier League, this weekend being the 58th time the two club have met in the English top flight. United have won 35 of the encounters with the two teams drawing 12 times and Spurs beating United just ten times. United have scored 95 times with Spurs scoring 56. United have been awarded eight penalties, scoring all of them with Spurs winning one and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets against Spurs with the North London club keeping eight. United players have been booked 98 times with four red cards. Spurs players have been booked 92 times with one red card.

Earlier in the season, United and Spurs met at Old Trafford in the Premier League which resulted in a 6-1 victory for the North London club. Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in the second minute but Tanguy Ndombele equalised two minutes later, there was a brace for both Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane with Serge Aurier scoring the other. In this fixture last season, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it was a 1-1 draw which was also the first fixture played during the first coronavirus lockdown. Steven Bergwijn opened the scoring in the 27th minute with Paul Pogba winning an 81st minute penalty, scored by Bruno Fernandes.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW