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Ratings: Ronaldo, Cavani and Rashford leave Spurs in the doldrums; Solskjaer was spot on today!

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the Premier League. It was a good comeback for United after their humiliation against Liverpool last week. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 39th minute of the match, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. United doubled their lead through Edinson Cavani in the 64th minute of the match, assisted by Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford scored the third goal of the match in the 86th minute, assisted by Nemanja Matic. United face Atalanta on Tuesday evening, then Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season next weekend.

It was a mixed start against Spurs with United seeming cautious rather than playing a pressing game, which saw them defeated 5-0 by Liverpool so I guess that is why United were not pressing. The said. it did not take Spurs long to get into the game, pressing United. To be fair, United did well under that pressure but this was not going to be a swashbuckling comeback from the devastating defeat last week. Spurs had a fair few chances in the first half but did not seem to be able to taken them, which is the story of their season so far. United had an ideal match to regain some confidence against Spurs, but it was not going to be easy.

United seemed to continue the caution approach throughout the first half but Spurs found a goal late in the half with Christian Romero tapping in at the far post but the flag was then raised with the goal being disallowed by VAR. United, minutes later, attacked Spurs with the players preying in the final third, passing the ball around before Bruno Fernandes lofted the ball over the defence into an onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the scoring for United in their first match after the despicable defeat to Liverpool. It was a positive half for United, even better that Solskjaer’s side were in the lead at the break. This was not over though.

There were not changes at the start of the second half for either team. Ronaldo did score a second goal for United early in the half, but he was offside and the goal was ruled out. It seemed to have been a good game plan for United at this stage in the match, but a second goal should be pushed for with United needing this victory more than anything else in the world right now. There will be some so-called supporters of this club that will have been upset to see United score and in the lead at the end of the first half. These people are not supporters of the club, they just have an agenda that they just want to be correct.

United doubled their lead in the 64th minute of the match with Ronaldo playing Edinson Cavani through on goal, finding the back of the net. It was a cushion for United, but this Spurs side seem to be dejected to a point, which is where United were against Liverpool last week. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 71st minute of the match, with United 2-0 up. Marcus Rashford replaced Ronaldo. Straight after this, Fred was booked for a challenge, minutes after being let off for something similar. Solskjaer made his second substitution in the 76th minute of the match, bringing Nemanja Matic on for Fernandes – it should have been Fred though.

Solskjaer made his final substitution in the 82nd minute of the match with Jesse Lingard replacing Cavani, which left Fred on some dangerous group if he was to get himself booked again. United should have enough talent on the pitch to grind out this victory – which has not been the most entertaining match this season, but a win is a win and United can start getting back to work after their poor period of results. Solskjaer will need to keep players fit for Tuesday’s match against Atalanta in Italy, then the Manchester derby at Old Trafford next weekend – which is an important match for United to get another good result in.

United scored a third goal of the game through Marcus Rashford in the 86th minute of the match. Matic assisted the goal, which shows that Solskjaer chose the right players, formation and tactics today and more importantly, chose the right substitutions as this team has risen above Spurs, in their own backyard, showing them who the boss is. There will still be people calling for Solskjaer to be sacked as their own ego’s will be pressing for that as it is so important for them to be right – even though they have been made to look wrong for the time being. If you support Manchester United, you want them to win, not lose.

Three minutes were added on at the end of the match but United were in a great position to guarantee all three points in this match. It was a good win for United and a better on for Solskjaer. There is still a lot of work to be done at United to get this team firing again but this victory came at the right time. United will face Atalanta on Tuesday evening in the Champions League, before welcoming Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday, which will then see the third international break of the season and the last of 2021, ahead of another important run of matches for United and Solskjaer.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Got his second clean sheet of the season, which is important. Played a good game against Spurs and seemed confident. Did all he could do as this Spurs side played a shocking standard of football - and Solskjaer is the manager that is facing loads of criticism - there are many worse than him in this league.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played a good game defensively, which was a relief after last week. This formation worked today. Will have found confidence in the clean sheet, which is something United need to achieve more often.

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19 Raphael Varane

The best defender on the pitch today and he was needed. Might have been rusty but played the game and did what he needed to do. The clean sheet was the better result, other than the win. United need more of these.

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5 Harry Maguire

Since his return from injury, he has not been the best. Played better with Varane and Lindelof in the back three, which might be a plan going forward. He will regain his form again. This happens in football.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did well both defensively and whilst attacking. I worked well today for Solskjaer. I would like to see him offer a lot more going forward, but let's walk before we can run.

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17 Fred

Many will have been annoyed to see him start, but he did well. Had a shot on goal and generally played well. He has this in his game, just needs consistency. Booked for a rash challenge and was left on for the remainder of the game, when he could have been substituted for Matic.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played a good game and seemed to be up for this challenge. Showed his pride and generally did his job during the match. There will be some that will criticise his performance.

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23 Luke Shaw

He's lost the form that he was in but it will come back. He played well in the left wing-back role. Got forward at times and will be full of confidence after that clean sheet.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Assisted for Ronaldo's goal, which was the first goal for United. It was a very good ball. I think he started to regress into the second half, which is why he was replaced by Matic in the 76th minute.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Opened the scoring for United with six minutes of the first half left. Scored another, which was offside. Fed the ball into Cavani, who scored United's second goal of the game. It was a much better performance from the Portuguese forward. He was replaced by Rashford in the 71st minute of the match.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Scored his first goal of the season for United, after being set up by Ronaldo. He played a good game with Ronaldo and him up top, and I feel they worked well together. This may not work for every match moving forward, but it was good it was tested out today. He was replaced by Lingard in the 82nd minute.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Ronaldo 71'. Came on and led to find another goal, which was great for him. Used his energy and his presence to add something to United's attack. A good performance for him, which should see him start on Tuesday. Three goals in four games is a good return from injury.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fernandes 76'. Came on to strengthen the midfield at 2-0 up. Assisted for Rashford's goal, which was good for him - his second assist of the season.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Cavani 82'. Should have been Van de Beek coming on. I feel sorry for him. Lingard did what he needed to do and got a run out in this win.

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Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 39′, Edinson Cavani 64′, Marcus Rashford 86′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 39′, Cristiano Ronaldo 64′, Nemanja Matic 86’

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Varane, Maguire; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, McTominay, Shaw; Fernandes (Matic 76′); Ronaldo (Rashford 71′), Cavani (Lingard 82′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Van de Beek; Greenwood, Sancho

Bookings: Ben Davies 78′; Luke Shaw 19′, Harry Maguire 22′, Fred 73′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo and Cavani lead the line against Spurs with Solskjaer changing formation and tactics

Manchester United return to Premier League action this 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:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Varane, Maguire;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, McTominay, Shaw;

Fernandes;

Ronaldo, Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Rashford, Greenwood, Sancho

Tottenham Hotspur:

Lloris;

Royal, Romero, Dier, Davies;

Hojbjerg, Skipp;

Moura, Lo Celso, Son;

Kane

Substitutes:

Gollini; Doherty, Reguilon, Sanchez, Rodon, Tanganga; Alli, Ndombele; Bergwijn

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-1-4-1] Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes, Van de Beek and Sancho to start against Spurs? Tactics need to change!

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!

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been in good form this season. Most of the goals that have been conceded this season were not all errors of his, which is something that seemed regular last season. He has been the payer carrying the team this season and if it was not for him, United could have lost some of the matches in which they have won recently. United have a good squad but the form is not there right now and many so-called supporters on Twitter have put that on the manager. United’s form changed when Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho and good players don’t just perform poorly overnight. There will be another explanation.

However, you will not find any other explanation that ‘Solskjaer is the problem’ on Twitter as it seems to be overrun by so-called fans who don’t care about the club and will just throw disrespect at anyone who tried to defend the manager. Granted, Solskjaer has let this happen and the tactics have been down to him, but it is all something that can be sorted out in time. However, these so-called fans on Twitter don’t want to give any time as the agenda they have built needs to be right for them, otherwise it will be well known that they were not proper fans after all. It seems funny that the majority of match-going fans back the manager!

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

The defence is an area of problems right now. 11 conceded goals in the last three matches gives much room for improvement and it was the captain’s poor performances which was really letting the side down. Now that Raphael Varane is back in training, hopefully he should be ready to get back into action with United still facing some important fixtures over the next week or so. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place at right-back as Diogo Dalot has not really proven himself in the position. At left-back, Alex Telles should be given an opportunity to fit himself into the team seeing as Luke Shaw’s performances have suffered recently.

Providing that Varane is fit, he should start this match with Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence. Hopefully the Frenchman can help raise the game of the captain which could stabilise the United defence, which is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. If Maguire is still terrible, perhaps the captaincy is the most pressure on him, so perhaps that should all change. It is early days to appropriate blame right now and things need to be tried in order to find a solution. Sooner or later, one needs to be found in order for United to turn a corner and get back to winning ways in the form we know they are capable of.

Defensive Midfield: Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic is the only defensive midfielder at the club who offers experience. Scott McTominay and Fred have not been the answer to any of the problems at the club and the duo have hardly shown how undroppable they have been. With a great midfielder at the club in the future, the duo would not really feature in many matches other than the rotation ones. Matic might be getting older and may not be able to put in the performances in week in and week out but he is the most able player in this position as long as other players on the pitch are doing the running.

The Serbian midfielder has a good eye for playing the ball forward and without him having to cover much of the pitch, the likes of Rashford, Van de Beek, Fernandes and Sancho could do all that for him, aiming to supply Cavani who should be leading the line in this match. Of course, with the substitutes available, Solskjaer could change the game at any given time, as long as United are a few goals up, the formation could be changed in-game, which would be some good management, rather than leaving the substitutes so late and rueing the lack of opportunities, which has been the case in the past. Solskjaer has this chance to reduce the pressure on him.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

Playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation will give United Matic to play in front of the defence, giving four players the freedom to assist the attack, when on the ball. In the moments when Spurs are attacking, the wide players could close down the wide players on the opposition with the central players, helping to defend. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should be the wide players, as both are very talented and despite Sancho not yet scoring or assisting, he needs to be given sufficient chances to further his career at the Old Trafford club. If Solskjaer trusts these players, he could find the key to unlocking the solution for the club.

In the middle of these four attacking positions, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek should be given the chance to show what they can do together on the pitch. The Dutchman had a great time at Ajax and he is an able player. Solskjaer has not trusted him and perhaps the manager should let him play football. I would rather see him than Pogba, as despite his seven assists this season, he has offered little going forward and let his team down against Liverpool, especially with that smile after he was sent off. No respect given means no respect offered. This could be a great formation for this United team to show themselves again.

Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford

United’s attacking line needs a few tweaks here and they to get the best out of the team. Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line has not really worked out in the last few matches, despite him scoring the winner against Atalanta. Solskjaer needs to find the strengths of his team in this area and have them playing to their strengths. I think Jadon Sancho should be given a chance to shine. United should be determined to hit back hard against Spurs, not only thinking about that 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, but the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Spurs last season. Sancho is a player that has bags of talent but people seem to be writing him off as a fraud.

It is probably the same people that tweeted incessantly throughout 2020, moaning about not signing Sancho and stating that he was the missing link to this team. The same people are suggesting that Solskjaer is not the right manager and Antonio Conte is. I would worry about their opinions. Marcus Rashford should playing on the left-wing, as I feel he seems determined to overcome Sunday’s defeat and help get United moving forward. Edinson Cavani should lead the line as I feel he could be the missing link in this attack. From there, having the Uruguayan in some kind of form, it could be an option to have him and Ronaldo leading the attack.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Scott McTominay; Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood

The substitutes against Spurs will need to be right. Bringing on Paul Pogba against Liverpool, at 3-0 down was nothing more than a disaster and for that reason, the Frenchman should not be playing a part in any matches for the foreseeable future, unless there are injuries, with respect to next week’s Champions League clash with Atalanta. Dean Henderson will remain on the bench. It does not look like he will get much football at this time, unless it is U23 football. In defence, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw should be available if needed with the latter benched to give Telles a chance to get stuck in for United. A change is always good for the soul.

In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Fred, and Scott McTominay should be available with Solskjaer needing to change things up and not stick with the players that have continually let him down, giving players with an opportunity to prove themselves, especially in the case of Van de Beek. In attack, which is United’s major strength this season, despite that no really being shown recently, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood will be available. Things need to change and I feel this could work. I would like to see two strikers playing at he same time but with Cavani and Ronaldo so similar, it might take something big to make it work.

Written by John Walker

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

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

Tactical Analysis: A Game of Two Halves – Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester United

Manchester United gained an important three points against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, in a game which typified both teams’ campaigns this season. United prior to the game had amassed an impressive 28 points from losing positions and extended their impressive unbeaten away run, whereas Spurs failed to win after leading at the interval for the seventh time. What seems to have gone under the radar, is the tactical switch Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made at half time which changed his sides’ fortunes.

In what was a fairly uneventful first half an hour, Jose Mourinho will feel he had a slight tactical advantage as the game began to unfold. Marcus Rashford started on the right with Paul Pogba occupying the left, an immediate small win for Mourinho as his Spurs side no longer had to worry about Rashford’s dangerous “out to in” run in behind. Without Rashford to properly threaten the space in behind, Spurs managed to nullify United’s build up by adopting the setup below.

There are several keys here. Firstly, Spurs are marking the United midfielders’ man for man. Scott McTominay and Fred are both susceptible to poor touches under pressure and Mourinho wanted his two central midfielders tight to them, to either capitalise on any mistakes or eliminate them as an option. Pierre Hojbjerg would then man mark Bruno Fernandes. In addition, note Harry Kane’s position as he splits the two central defenders. Spurs are happy for Lindelof to have to ball here, as they are effectively limiting his options to just Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Again, Mourinho knows Wan-Bissaka is arguably United’s weakest player in possession and Son continuously applied intense pressure as soon as Wan-Bissaka received the ball, as illustrated below.

For the first half an hour, this pattern of play happened regularly when United had possession in their own half. The game plan in possession seemed to centre around avoiding giving Spurs any turnovers in possession in dangerous areas and looking for long balls into Pogba, who had a significant height advantage over Serge Aurier. 

The United game plan out of possession, was to get tight to the Spurs front three to either win possession or keep them with their backs to goal. Solskjaer understood the importance of minimising the link up between Son and Kane specifically and the example below was another common theme throughout the first half. 

However, Spurs whole game plan in possession was understandably to find ways to get the ball into Harry Kane and ultimately led to the first goal. 

At half time, Solskjaer made a crucial tactical tweak by changing to a diamond set up, which allowed United to completely control the second half and ultimately win the game. Firstly, Pogba came central which nullified Spurs’ man to man stronghold in midfield as they were now overloaded. There are several examples below where Lo Celso did not know whether to press or whether to sit next to Hojbjerg in a 4-2-3-1.

Secondly, McTominay began to drop into defence to allow Wan-Bissaka to get further forward as highlighted here. 

With McTominay dropping between Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka, it either allowed him to either get time in possession or draw a Spurs midfielder out with him, leaving more space in the centre for United to exploit. This also solved United’s first half issue of Wan-Bissaka being trapped on the touchline by Son, as he began to position himself further up the field towards Reguilon. Luke Shaw also became more involved in the game, as Spurs were unable to restrict United to the right-hand side of the pitch like they did in the first half. 

As a result of the tactical tweaks, United began to play with more intensity. The passing became quicker, the rotations in midfield became more frequent and they started to apply a full press on Spurs, cementing themselves in the opposition half. Subsequently, United were able to create frequent goalscoring opportunities which led to three very well worked goals. The goals themselves all included individual class, but they were also a perfect example of how the right set up allows players to flourish. The first half setup was all about containing the opposition and United suffered in possession. Once Solskjaer adapted his tactics, United took control of the game and Spurs never really recovered.

Written by Chris Greening

Ratings: Henderson, Fred, Pogba, Cavani and Greenwood perform well in Spurs win but the MOTM will be between Pogba and Greenwood

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the Premier League. Edinson Cavani opened the scoring in the 33rd minute of the match but it was ruled out after Scott McTominay was adjudged to have fouled Son Heung-Min in the build up. Son then put Spurs ahead before the end of the first half. United attempted to get back into the game, that coming in the 57th minute when Fred found the back of the net after Cavani’s effort was parried out. Cavani then put United ahead in the 79th minute of the match, getting his eighth goal of the season. Mason Greenwood finished the victory with a late goal.

It was a fairly fair start to the clash with both teams seeking to get something early on but you could see which team had a week’s rest and which team was playing three days ago. Both United and Spurs were working hard to get a good start to the match, which should bring out the determination of United to get revenge over the club that beat them 6-1 at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Scott McTominay was the first player to be booked, getting a yellow card in the 18th minute of the match. United needed to work a lot harder and Fred needed to find some form, as he was well out of canter in the early stages of the half.

United took the lead in the 33rd minute of the match after Paul Pogba played a great pass into the box with Edinson Cavani breaking through and beating Hugo Lloris at close-range. However, there was appeals for the referee to look into the goal as McTominay had supposedly fouled Son Heung-Min in the build up to the goal. VAR was brought in with the referee watching on the screen and he ruled the goal out for a foul. It seems that Son was touched on the chin and went down holding the upper part of his face, seconds after trying to grab McTominay’s shirt to impede him. There was a cloud over the first match with Erik Lamela and a cloud today.

Spurs took the lead in the 40th minute of the match, breaking forward at pace with Lucas Moura on the ball and seemingly likely to try his shot on goal, however, he crossed the ball into Son, who beat Dean Henderson to put his side 1-0 up with five minutes and added time to play before the half time break. Cavani was clearly not happy that his goal had been ruled out and he was aiming to get in the box again, but got booked himself in the 42nd minute of the match after an argument with Joe Rodon, who went down easily. You can see the Jose Mourinho in this team which is not really a compliment. United needed to try harder in the second half.

There were no changes for either team during the half time break. The game continued how it ended with United aiming to get level but not able to penetrate Spurs early doors. Fred was booked within three minutes of the restart, which just shows how little impact he has been having recently. His work rate is what gets him picked but he needs to be doing a lot more. As that was being written, Fred equalised for United after Cavani’s effort on goal was parried by Lloris and Fred was there to bang the rebound into the back of the net and give United a lot more to play for. It just shows that if you have to cheat to get ahead, it’s not going to last.

United had some good opportunities after Fred’s equaliser with Bruno Fernandes forcing a save from Lloris and United having a second go minute later. Luke Shaw became the fourth United player to be booked in the match for a foul, of which he has no complaint. Minutes later, Harry Maguire became the fifth player to be booked in this match which puts him closer to a two-match suspension. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 72nd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood replacing Marcus Rashford. United should be doing a lot more than they have been doing to get ahead, which is the position they should rightfully be in anyway.

United took the lead in the 79th minute of the match and Cavani got his eighth goal of the season, assisted by Greenwood, who had been on the pitch for seven minutes or so. It was a great goal which garnered a loud celebration from the United players, who will feel robbed from the first goal of the game being disallowed. Spurs won’t feel to happy though, but it was their fault they were in this position. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the final minutes of the match, the referee continued to side with Spurs when they were fouling United players, which is how the match started anyway.

At the turn of the 90th minute, Solskjaer made his second substitution with Nemanja Matic replacing Bruno Fernandes, who did not have a bad game, despite not assisting or scoring any goals. Six minutes of added time were to be played to end the match, which seems a lot of time as there has not been many breaks in play during the second half. Still, that is what United will need to get through in order to end the game, keeping their lead and taking three points back to Manchester with them. I am sure Mourinho will be unhappy about something, but that is only natural, right?

Mason Greenwood scored a third goal for United in added time to win the game comfortably with a 3-1 scoreline. Spurs just did not have enough cheating in their locker to get the better over United, even if the referee did happily book United players throughout the match. United have earned 28 points in the Premier League this season, which shows that corner they have turned and the improvement they have made during Solskjaer’s reign at the club. On to Granada at Old Trafford on Thursday evening now whilst Spurs get used to resting in midweek like all the rest of the small clubs.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Could not have stopped Son from scoring in the 40th minute of the match. Made some good saves at 1-1. Good to see him play in a big game and help United get the win.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Was tasked with pressing high to limit Son, which worked some of the time. United need to be able to switch attacks from the left to the right.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Did not have the best of matches after his great assist on Thursday evening. His positioning for Son's goal was just another reason why United need a new centre-back this summer.

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5 Harry Maguire

Off the space at times but he has not missed a minute of Premier League football since signing for United. Schooled Reguilon verbally at times too, which was good to see. Vocal in the team, especially when Cavani got his goal.

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23 Luke Shaw

Had a bad opening 45 minutes with a slow display. Played a more intense game in the second half. Booked though, which was a shame.

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39 Scott McTominay

Booked in the 18th minute of the match. Adjudged to have fouled Son in the build up to United's disallowed goal. Son tried to grab his shirt, and he swiped back to protect himself. Son went down clutching his face like a cheat.

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17 Fred

Started terribly and seemed more of a void in the first half. When in form he offers something. Got United level, tapping in Cavani's effort with was parried by Lloris. He excitedly celebrated that equaliser. He improved when United were on top.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Still did not look 100%, which some will moan about but if the player, the coaches, the physio and the manager feel he's able to play - he will. Had an impact but got nothing from the game. Replaced by Greenwood in the 72nd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Played a good game for United and was unlucky in the second half as his shot on goal had power and accuracy and resulted in Lloris not being able to hang onto the ball. His passion came out as United got ahead, which should have put them 3-1 up if the first goal was not disallowed. He was replaced by Matic in the 90th minute.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played a brilliant pass into Cavani for the Uruguayan to open the scoring in the 33rd minute of the match, which was disallowed due to McTominay's foul - which was harsh and out of context. Got an assist for Greenwood's late strike.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Scored a great goal in the 33rd minute of the match after being played in by Pogba. It was disallowed though. Got his eighth goal of the season in the 79th minute of the match, putting United 2-1 up and ended that with a loud celebration.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 72'. Made an impact as soon as he came on. Got a great assist for Cavani's goal which put United ahead. Got a late goal himself, which was great to see. He's going places is this lad.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fernandes 90'. Came on late in the game to both run down the clock and add more defensive ability to secure the win. United scored again in added time to cement their lead.

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Goals: Son Hueng-Min 40′; Fred 57′, Edinson Cavani 79′, Mason Greenwood 90+6′

Assists: Lucas Moura 40′; Mason Greenwood 79′, Paul Pogba 90+6′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford (Greenwood 72′), Fernandes (Matic 90′), Pogba; Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Van de Beek

Bookings: Moussa Sissoko 90+2′; Scott McTominay 18′, Edinson Cavani 42′, Fred 48′, Luke Shaw 67′, Harry Maguire 70′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: McTominay, Fred and Pogba in midfield; Cavani and Rashford up top as United look to get revenge over Spurs

Manchester United return to Premier League action the afternoon 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 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:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba;

Cavani

Substitutes:

De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

Tottenham Hotspur:

Lloris;

Aurier, Dier, Rodon, Reguilon;

Ndombele, Højbjerg;

Moura, Lo Celso, Son;

Kane

Substitutes:

Hart; Alderweireld, Tanganga; Winks, Lamela, Sissoko, Alli; Bale, Vinicius

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] De Gea to keep his place, Pogba, Fernandes and Rashford to inspire victory over Spurs?

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.

How United have faired against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper returned against Granada in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday but was not really challenged by the team from his home nation. It was good to see him back after Dean Henderson started the last seven matches, which has given David De Gea something to achieve to get back into the number one spot with the rumours suggesting that Henderson is the clubs number one goalkeeper now. By as Solskjaer says, the media reports and what goes on at the club tend to be two different things, which is probably the case for more things, not just football.

This match against Spurs, with Manchester City losing to Leeds United, is another important match for United and they must win, not just to overcome the demons of the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the season, but to gain some ground in the league this season. Some will say that United are only second because some teams have fallen behind as they don’t want to praise Solskjaer as agendas are better than admitting that they were wrong. United have turned a corner and have been getting better, despite some results this season and a period where United seemed to be stagnant and complacent. De Gea’s return could be good for United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has done well this season in the Premier League and have conceded 33 goals so far this season, having conceded 36 last season, which was an improvement on the 54 conceded in the 2018/19 season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should both keep their places in the fullback positions against Spurs, although I would like to see Wan-Bissaka play a more attacking game, improving on his defensive abilities, which have been rather basic at stages this season. Shaw is continuing to build on good spells this season, which have shown that United were right to stick with him during the tough times.

Victor Lindelof played a brilliant long-ball over the top to Marcus Rashford against Granada to open the scoring for the club in a game that was a bit slow to start. It shows that United have creative players all over the pitch and despite Lindelof being criticised at times for poor decisions, he also has some good ones. Perhaps he is not bad at all? Harry Maguire will be a big player in this match – he will want to undo the damage caused by Spurs at the start of the season, which does not seem to have done much good for the North London club after 30 matches have been played, especially with Jose Mourinho reportedly on the brink, which is media hype.

Midfield: Fred, Paul Pogba

The midfield is an area that needs to be right in order to get United playing well. In the 4-2-3-1 formation, there is usually a pivot in midfield which needs both players at the top of their game, both defensive and offensive. Paul Pogba is a player that will probably keep his place in the team but his partner will need to be the right fit for him. Since he returned from injury, Pogba has scored some important goals but needs to do more on the pitch to get the respect that he is worthy of as a player, but getting rid of his agent will probably get him more respect as a man, as it is clear his agent wants to move him on and Pogba must want the same too.

Fred could be recalled into the team for this match. He has the ability to man-mark and puts a lot of work rate into his game, despite not being an outlet of much creativity or goal threat, his performances are usually something that he is praised for by those who have seen what he can do. However, most recently, his performances have been poor and he will need to stand up in order to be counted against a team like Spurs, who have many good players to devastate United, especially if they to not step up to the place in the midfield. I wonder if a midfield three would be better against Spurs.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

The three players that usually play in this area are responsible for 50 goals and 31 assists so far this season with Bruno Fernandes on 24 goals and 14 assists, Marcus Rashford on 20 goals and 12 assists and Mason Greenwood on six goals and five assists, which is a great return of goals from three players this season. Of course, it will need to get better before the end of the season as United still have a lot of work to do to keep their second-placed position in the Premier League and go all the way in the UEFA Europa League, which is what Solskjaer and his team will want to achieve.

Fernandes is a player that has been overused this season, but he needed to be as there is no other player in the team that offers the same impact. Rashford is in a position whereby his injury has not fully recovered, but if the player said that he was alright to play on and the coaches and the physios at the club said the same, then clearly it is not a problem. Perhaps Rashford will recover at some stage, although with the Euro’s this summer, it does not give him much rest. Greenwood is a player that can give more and perhaps leading the line is not in his bag yet, but it soon will be as he gains more confidence moving forward.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has been a let down since he returned Fromm injury and his availability this season has been questionable. It is expected that it will return to South American this summer with nothing yet confirmed about the possibility of him remaining at United for another season. United will need to find a new striker sooner rather than later, so this summer will be a big one for the club, if the ambition above the manager is there, which is something that can be argued at times. Cavani has scored just seven goals this season, adding a further two assists. Not great but at least he has offered something.

Cavani is probably the best striker at the club at this time and he has something for the likes of Rashford and Greenwood to learn from. Anthony Martial too but his poor form this season seems to have ended with a knee injury sustained whilst playing for France, which could have seen him play his last club game for United this season. United need to be more prolific up front as goal win matches. There are many players on the pitch that score goals but Cavani should be a player that gets into double figures, needing three more goals between now and the end of the season for that to be the case. He has the time and determination to do just that.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Daniel James, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek

Solskjaer can name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League, using three of those. Granted, he does not make changes all of the time and when he does, it is usually late in the game, unless there is a problem. He might need to start making them tactically to get the best out of his team. There are players that need more minutes on the pitch in order to develop, which will be good for them. I expect Dean Henderson to be back on the bench with De Gea regaining his place in goal on Thursday evening. It could be a good time for De Gea to show United the player he is, which could get United what they want to achieve this season.

In defence, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could all be available should the club need to change things up at the back. It seems unlikely that Eric Bailly will be back in action any time soon, which is just another problem for him during his career at United. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Daniel James, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek all have something in their respective lockers to add something, if United need to make a change. There will be a lack of attacking players so Mata, Diallo and James could all operate in this areas with Diallo needing more game time this season after that goal he scored against AC Milan.

Written by John Walker

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

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

Review & Ratings: Fernandes equaliser spared United’s blushes against Spurs; Pogba’s return could spark something; Greenwood a player for a new generation

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Friday evening. It was a seventh match without a win for Jose Mourinho’s side and the twelfth consecutive match without a defeat for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. United will face Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday in a must-win match.

United started well in the game and looked like the brightest team and aside of Marcus Rashford’s effort on goal, nothing was seemingly coming forward. Spurs took the lead in the match in the 27th minute after a David De Gea error after Steven Bergwijn’s effort on goal was punched into the back of the net. A poor display there from the Spaniard.

Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba replacing Daniel James, who was booked in the first hand and Fred. With United still chasing an equaliser, Solskjaer made two more changes with Odion Ighalo and Nemanja Matic replacing Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof.

United equalised from the penalty spot after Pogba was fouled by Eric Dier, who was not booked for the foul. It would seem the referee fancied Spurs bu not showing them any cards with Erik Lamela needing a booking after four fouls. United were given a second penalty in the game, which was cancelled out by VAR. A point for each team was the result.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper made yet another error which has led to conceding a goal which is something De Gea needs to change, and quickly.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back played well against Spurs, despite the home side scoring a goal in the first half. United got a point, which was not the greatest result, but will do, for now.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The so-called Iceman has not been a revelation in defence. He was replaced by Matic in the 78th minute of the match.

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5 Harry Maguire

The defender played well and put in a fair few clearances. This game was never going to be the game it could have been in March, but is part of the progress. United need to be more clinical.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back did well at times but will need to improve if United are to get where they want to be this season. When match fitness comes in, in a few matches time, we shall see.

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17 Fred

Fred did well in stages for United with form well and truly out the window after three months without football. The Brazilian was seemingly upset that he was replaced in the 63rd minute with Pogba making his return from injury.

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39 Scott McTominay

The Scotland international did not have the best of games, but the whole squad seemed off. A draw and a point is not the best outcome, but not the worst either.

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Review & Ratings: Fernandes equaliser spared United’s blushes against Spurs; Pogba’s return could spark something; Greenwood a player for a new generation

The Welshman was not the best player on the pitch against Spurs by a long shot on Friday evening but seemed to be booked after just one foul despite Lamela not being booked after about four of them. He was replaced in the 63rd minute by Greenwood.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder was probably the best player in the match, before Pogba came on. He scored his fourth goal at the club, albeit from the penalty spot, equalising for United.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England striker had a good chance for a goal in the first half of the game but didn't get it, obviously. The fitness is there but after three months, it was never going to be a spectacular match, as it could have been back in March.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman was back to sheer frustration against Spurs and seemed far too slow at times, giving that suggestion that he's not fit to lead the line again. With United still chasing a goal, he was replaced by Ighalo in the 78th minute.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Fred 63'. There was a spark that didn't go out when Pogba came into the game. He seemed to work well with Fernandes and won the penalty which drew United level.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 63'. It was a great performance for the player who has been working hard during the lockdown. He will be a special player one day. He was unlucky to miss his chance late in the game.

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Review & Ratings: Fernandes equaliser spared United’s blushes against Spurs; Pogba’s return could spark something; Greenwood a player for a new generation

Replaced Martial 78'. The Nigerian should have perhaps been involved much earlier in the game with United chasing a goal.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Lindelof 78'. Did what he needed to do when he was on the pitch. No complaints from me.

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3 Eric Bailly

Replaced McTominay 89'. Cam on too late to really get involved in the game.

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Goals: Steven Bergwijn 27′; Bruno Fernandes 82′ penalty

Assists: Serge Aurier 27′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof (Matic 78′), Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Pogba 63′), McTominay (Bailly 89′); James (Greenwood 63′), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Ighalo 78′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Williams; Mata, Lingard

Bookings: Daniel James 41′

copyright: JW