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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

Player Ratings: United terrible in 6-1 mauling; Martial sent off, Lamela a cheat – United deserved what they got

Manchester United were absolutely destroyed by Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford with another 6-1 scoreline. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be mortified with the performance of his team, which was nothing to write home about. United started brightly with Anthony Martial winning a penalty which was scored by Bruno Fernandes. Spurs then hit back to equalise through Tanguy NDombele, then Hueng-min Son put them ahead, scoring a brace in the end. Harry Kane scored a brace and Serge Aurier also got himself on the scoresheet. This United team is not united and has major problems.

It was a good start to the match for United with them on the attack from the off with United immediately getting into the box through Anthony Martial and winning a penalty after being fouled by Davinson Sanchez. Bruno Fernandes took the spot kick, stuttering his run, jumping and beating Hugo Lloris to put United 1-0 up in the game. That was a good start based on previous matches, however, it was a short-lived scoreline. Spurs immediately broke forward and Harry Maguire had a mare and Tanguy NDombele equalised two minutes after United opened the scoring.

With the game level, Spurs continued to drive forward and both Harry Kane and Hueng-min Son looked to be in perfect harmony once again on the attack with United looking pathetic at the back with Kane threading the ball into Son and both Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw left for dead as the South Korean scored his sixth goal of the season for his club with Spurs beating De Gea for the second time in five minutes. It was a shambles for United, who may now need to seek a defender in the transfer window before the Monday night deadline.

United sought a response to going 2-1 down after opening the scoring and on a positive attack, Marcus Rashford broke through and fired a shot which beat Lloris diagonally crossing him and hitting the outside of the post with Spurs regaining possession. United had another positive moment but were caught with Son pushing United once again, only for him to not have the momentum on the ball to beat De Gea, who gathered the ball. Spurs could have scored multiple goals heading past the halfway period of the first half. It was not going to be a good day for United.

Martial was sent off for violent conduct in the 28th minute of the match after Erik Lamela seems to elbow him on the neck and Martial struck the Argentinian, who immediately went down like the Belgrano. The Frenchman was sent off and VAR ruled it a red card too, giving nothing to Lamela, who struck first. United were down to ten men and Spurs put themselves into second gear with Kane scoring Spurs’ third goal in the 30th minute assisted by Son, who scored his second goal seven minutes later to but his side 4-1 up in the match. United seemed to be down and out.

At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made a double substitution with Scott McTominay and Fred replacing Nemanja Matic and Fernandes. Spurs also took off their cheat, Lamela, bringing on Lucas Moura, possibly to ensure he did not get sent off for the yellow card he received, which sold have never happened as the player should have been sent off with Martial. United have a big half ahead of them to stop Spurs from causing more damage. It was a positive start to the season after the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace but this match has made things a bit more negative for United.

Spurs got their fifth goal in the 51st minute of the match with Serge Aurier, assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg assisting him. There was no way that United were going to get anything back from this result. Bailly was booked for a challenge on Son in the 63rd minute of the match and around the same time, the players seemed dejected and their body language was showing they they just wanted the final whistle to be blown for the end of the match. It was a terrible performance for United and one the manager will not be happy with. I just hope he crucified them in the dressing room.

In the 68th minute of the match, Solskjaer made his third and final substitution of the match with Donny van de Beek replacing Mason Greenwood, who had a quiet match after Martial was sent off. Van de Beek should have started this match and should be starting more often. I don’t think Paul Pogba has done enough to start matches at this moment in time as for a player considered as a leader, he has done nothing but hide on the pitch, like everyone else. De Gea made a save to dent Kane form scoring again in the 72nd minute of the match.

Spurs got their sixth goal in the 79th minute of the match after Pogba slid in for the challenge, taking the player out and the referee giving a penalty. Kane stepped up and scored his second goal of the afternoon putting immense pressure on United. The camera focussed on Solskjaer, who looked humiliated in the dugout and then to Ed Woodward in the directors box, who looked happy to be messing around on his phone oblivious to what was going on below him on the pitch. The Glazers and Woodward are a poison chalice for Manchester United and always will be.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Pathetic is the best word for his performance. Let down by his defence and let down by himself. Six goals conceded in once match, 11 goals conceded in three Premier League matches this season.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defensively, United struggled massively. Getting forward was a problem after the red card. United should be doing so much better. This is not a team. Nowhere near to being a team.

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3 Eric Bailly

Played brilliantly against Brighton in the Carabao Cup but in this match, he seemed so much out of it. Perhaps it is because he's not had many minutes the season or that he's a terrible defender. Time will tell but this squad need to build something and strike back after the internatioanl break, but they won't.

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5 Harry Maguire

Captain? Really? For a defender, he needs to learn to defend. Could he be United's main problem in the squad. Out of position. Out of form. Unable to defend. Nutmegged in the box. Not good enough. Time for a reset during the international break?

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23 Luke Shaw

Could be under pressure at the club with Alex Telles' impending arrival. Terrible performance for United. Should have seen red for a foul late in the game with was purposefully directed at the man in frustration and that is not professional.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Seemed to be a player who wanted to get the ball forward after going 2-1 down. United had a good period getting forward with Rashford's chance the best to level the game, hitting the post. Replaced at the start of the second half by McTominay.

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6 Paul Pogba

Terrible performance. Patrice Evra, before the match, stated that Pogba was the best midfielder at the club. Someone better tell Pogba that as if he was the best, I would not like to see who the worst midfielder is. Gave Spurs a penalty late in the game, contributing to a 6-1 defeat. Needs to understand what hard work is.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Started the game well with United breaking forward. After the red card, United were not attacking well. Greenwood could not help get United back into the game and 2-1 down quickly became 5-1 down. Van de Beek replaced him in the 68th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored the penalty to put United 1-0 up inside two minutes. As Spurs were scoring the goals, nothing was going well for United, until at 2-1 Rashford broke forward. After Martial's red card, United's attacks were limited. Replaced by Fred at the start of the second half.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had a chance to get United back into the game at 2-1 down but he hid the post. After Martial's red card, United lacked any sort of spine and all of the players hid on the pitch.

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9 Anthony Martial

There Frenchman started well, immediately breaking into the box from the kick off and winning a penalty after Sanchez took him out in the box. Fernandes scored to put United 1-0 in two minutes. United then conceded twice before the seventh minute and Martial was send off after Lamela struck him and Martial struck him back. Lameba went down like the Belgrano and Martial was dismissed, Lamela was not even booked. Typical.

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Substitutes

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Matic 46'. Brought on to pack the midfield to stop the Spurs onslaught. United conceded two more goals in the game. It could have been worse.

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17 Fred

Replaced Fernandes 46'. Brought on at the same time as McTominay. Could not do much and saw United conceded two more goals. United have some pieces to be picking up now.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Greenwood 68'. Should have started. Will not be happy at coming on with United 5-1 down. Has played few minutes and should be starting ahead of Pogba now.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 2′ penalty; Tanguy NDombele 4′, Hueng-min Son 7′, 37′, Harry Kane 30′, 79′, Serge Aurier 51′

Assists: Harry Kane 7′, Hueng-min Son 30′, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg 51′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (McTominay 46′), Pogba; Greenwood (Van de Beek 68′), Fernandes (Fred 46′), Rashford; Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Lindelof; Mata, Lingard

Bookings: Anthony Martial 28′ s/o, Eric Bailly 63′, Luke Shaw 84′; Erik Lamela 32′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford start against Spurs; Son fit to start too

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action this afternoon when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in their second home match of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have turned a poor start to the season into a positive with wins in their last three matches following their opening day defeat to Crystal Palace. United will be seeking to get another three points on the board against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side, who are in good form after playing in the qualification rounds of the UEFA Europa League, although they could be tired after having played four matches in eight days.

It would seem that excitement could well be on the horizon for United supporters with the summer transfer window closing at 2300 hours on Monday 5 October. Saturday saw United being linked with former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani, 18-year-old compatriot Facundo Pellistri and Brazilian left-back Alex Telles with speculation giving the impression that deadline day could be busy for United, if all of the reports are true and correct. Of course, there is no excuse for United not doing their business weeks ago and there will be criticism of this pointed at the club, probably Solskjaer when it should be directed at Ed Woodward and above.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Lindelof; Mata, Lingard, Fred, McTominay, Van de Beek

Tottenham Hotspur:

Lloris;

Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon;

Sissoko, Højbjerg, NDombele;

Lamela, Kane, Son

Substitutes:

Hart; Doherty, Alderweireld, Davies; Winks, Alli, Moura

United have met Spurs a total of 56 times in the Premier League with United winning 35, drawing 12 and losing just nine times. In all those matches, United have scored 94 goals with Spurs scoring 50. United have been awarded seven penalties against Spurs, scoring all of them with Spurs having won no penalties at all. United have kept 28 clean sheets compared to Spurs’ eight. A total of 96 yellow cards were shown to United players with Spurs getting 91. United have had three players sent off in matches against Spurs with the North London club having one player sent off. Based on the previous matches, this fixture will be the biggest of the season so far.

In this fixture last season, played at Old Trafford, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the sixth minute of the match. However, Dele Alli levelled the score in the 39th minute if the match. United took the lead again in the 49th minute with Rashford scoring from the penalty spot. It was a good win for United. In the last match between the two clubs which was played in June and was the first match back after the coronavirus lockdown, it ended 1-1 with Steven Bergwijn opening the scoring in the 27th minute and United again scoring from the penalty spot in the 81st minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes scoring it.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Martial out to stake his claim against Spurs with transfer rumours rife; Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood to get the job done?

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in their second home match of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have turned a poor start to the season into a positive with wins in their last three matches following their opening day defeat to Crystal Palace. United will be seeking to get another three points on the board against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side, who are in good form after playing in the qualification rounds of the UEFA Europa League, although they could be tired after having played four matches in eight days.

Over the past week or so, there has been some banter between Solskjaer and Mourinho which was started following United’s victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League last week after Brighton levelled the score in added time only for United to win a penalty after the final whistle, awarded by VAR for a Neal Maupay hand ball inside the box. Solskjaer, speaking about the victory, told talkSPORT:

“We got away with one, to be fair. When they equalised I thought that’s two points lost. Maybe one point was what we deserved – I don’t think we deserved more but the character we showed deserved more.”

Solskjaer then spoke about the fact that Brighton hit the frame of the goal five times with the Norwegian jokingly saying:

“We have to be grateful Jose (Mourinho) is not here to measure the goalposts, it might have been smaller goals!”

Mourinho hit back regarding the number of penalties that United have won over the past season, including their winning penalty against Brighton, seemingly keeping the banter going. Speaking to Sky Sports by reported by talkSPORT, Mourinho said:

“I don’t think he [Solskjaer] will concern himself with the size of the goal but the size of the penalty box. He will not play with an 18 yard box, only 22 yards.”

Solskjaer was asked about Mourinho’s insinuation during his pre-match press conference on Friday regarding the number of penalties that United have been awarded. Instead of stoking the fire before the Old Trafford encounter, Solskjaer, as reported by The Metro, said:

“The rules are as they are in football, aren’t they? I didn’t really think more about that one. It’s more for you and the media. I think it’s important that we have a bit of entertainment as well.

“And Jose throughout the years has given us all some fantastic moments in football both in his press conferences and on the pitch. But as a striker I didn’t mind how big the box was, when I got in there it was just a strike on goal.”

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

United have met Spurs a total of 56 times in the Premier League with United winning 35, drawing 12 and losing just nine times. In all those matches, United have scored 94 goals with Spurs scoring 50. United have been awarded seven penalties against Spurs, scoring all of them with Spurs having won no penalties at all. United have kept 28 clean sheets compared to Spurs’ eight. A total of 96 yellow cards were shown to United players with Spurs getting 91. United have had three players sent off in matches against Spurs with the North London club having one player sent off. Based on the previous matches, this fixture will be the biggest of the season so far.

In this fixture last season, played at Old Trafford, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the sixth minute of the match. However, Dele Alli levelled the score in the 39th minute if the match. United took the lead again in the 49th minute with Rashford scoring from the penalty spot. It was a good win for United. In the last match between the two clubs which was played in June and was the first match back after the coronavirus lockdown, it ended 1-1 with Steven Bergwijn opening the scoring in the 27th minute and United again scoring from the penalty spot in the 81st minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes scoring it.

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

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one is being challenged this season by Dean Henderson, who has started twice for United in the Carabao Cup against both Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion, seeing United win both matches with the same 3-0 scoreline and keep two clean sheets, which is impressive. David De Gea seems to be playing in the Premier League with Henderson playing in the cup competitions so far, but with the UEFA Champions League being tough this season, that might change. One day, Henderson will play in the Premier League for United. Against Spurs, De Gea will most likely start but he needs to be watching over his shoulder.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

It is fair to say that United’s defence needs work. Victor Lindelof has been terrible at times. Harry Maguire has problems at the club and Eric Bailly is injury prone and can be rash at times, which is sometimes needed. These are the experiences players who are regularly playing for the club at this moment in time. Axel Tuanzebe is injured, as is Phil Jones. Marcos Rojo is in limbo and Chris Smalling seems to be close to an exit. Teden Mengi has great prospects but in terms of solving a problem, nothing seems to do that. Against Spurs, Bailly and Maguire, if fit, should start with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw in the fullback roles. More is needed though.

Midfield Two: Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic

United have a strong midfield. Donny van de Beek arrived this summer and I would like to see him start alongside Paul Pogba with Bruno Fernandes playing in the number ten role but I don’t think United’s defence would be ready for that at this moment in time. When they have found their feet and built a steel defence to thwart the attack, this trio in the midfield triangle might work. Until then, Nemanja Matic will have to play regularly, which he might not be able to do all the time, shielding the defence. He is good at that, as long as he is fit. He missed the midweek match, so might be ready and he will get a break over the next fortnight. Pogba to partner him.

Midfield Three: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

United’s attacking three behind the striker, in the 4-2-3-1 formation, is a great bunch of players but behind them, in terms of rotation, there are players but the quality is perhaps not as good. United will need to bring in new players in this positions so that freshness is always a factor as the likes of Jesse Lingard and Daniel James are clearly not the players that will continue in the same vein as Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. The trio should start against Spurs, if Fernandes is fit, as they are the best chance of creativity. Rashford has had a few good matches recently, as has Fernandes and Greenwood is still as deadly in attack.

Forward: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman has still not scored this season and has only played in the Premier League, being rested from both of the Carabao Cup matches against Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion. He will be seeking to open his account at the club this season, aiming to build on his 23 goals and 12 assists last season, which was his best season at the club by a long shot. Martial is a talented attacking player, maybe not the striker that would thrive at United, but he is their best option at this moment in time. The seemingly impending arrival of Edinson Cavani could be good for him though, both taking the pressure off him and helping perfect his skills.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Teden Mengi; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek; Odion Ighalo

With three substitutes able to be used in the Premier League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup, when it starts – plus the fact that the UEFA Champions League will see up to five substitutions, like in all competitions after the restart next season, things could become complicated in the coming weeks. Against Spurs, Dean Henderson will likely be the goalkeeper on the bench with Sergio Romero seemingly out of the picture right now. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Teden Mengi could be called upon, if needed. In midfield, Juan Mata, Daniel James and Donny van de Beek could add some depth with the only attacking player being Odion Ighalo.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to continue winning run against Spurs; banter between manager with penalties and goalpost measuring

Manchester United -v- Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 4 October 2020, KO 16:30 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in their second home match of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have turned a poor start to the season into a positive with wins in their last three matches following their opening day defeat to Crystal Palace. United will be seeking to get another three points on the board against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side, who are in good form after playing in the qualification rounds of the UEFA Europa League, although they could be tired after having played four matches in eight days.

Over the past week or so, there has been some banter between Solskjaer and Mourinho which was started following United’s victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League last week after Brighton levelled the score in added time only for United to win a penalty after the final whistle, awarded by VAR for a Neal Maupay hand ball inside the box. Solskjaer, speaking about the victory, told talkSPORT:

“We got away with one, to be fair. When they equalised I thought that’s two points lost. Maybe one point was what we deserved – I don’t think we deserved more but the character we showed deserved more.”

Solskjaer then spoke about the fact that Brighton hit the frame of the goal five times with the Norwegian jokingly saying:

“We have to be grateful Jose (Mourinho) is not here to measure the goalposts, it might have been smaller goals!”

Mourinho hit back regarding the number of penalties that United have won over the past season, including their winning penalty against Brighton, seemingly keeping the banter going. Speaking to Sky Sports by reported by talkSPORT, Mourinho said:

“I don’t think he [Solskjaer] will concern himself with the size of the goal but the size of the penalty box. He will not play with an 18 yard box, only 22 yards.”

Solskjaer was asked about Mourinho’s insinuation during his pre-match press conference on Friday regarding the number of penalties that United have been awarded. Instead of stoking the fire before the Old Trafford encounter, Solskjaer, as reported by The Metro, said:

“The rules are as they are in football, aren’t they? I didn’t really think more about that one. It’s more for you and the media. I think it’s important that we have a bit of entertainment as well.

“And Jose throughout the years has given us all some fantastic moments in football both in his press conferences and on the pitch. But as a striker I didn’t mind how big the box was, when I got in there it was just a strike on goal.”

Manchester United: WWWLLL

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 W, Luton Town 3-0 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 L, Aston Villa 1-0 L (F), Sevilla 2-1 L

Tottenham Hotspur: WWDWWW

Maccabi Haifa 7-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 (5-4) W, Newcastle United 1-1 D, KF Shkënndija 3-1 W, Southampton 5-2 W, Lokomotiv Plovdiv 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Harry Kane has six goal this season but has played more matches then United have. Hueng-min Son has five goals. Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford are United’s top scorers with two goals each.

Manchester United Goals: 2 – Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Mason Greenwood, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay

United seem to have turned their season around after their 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season. Since then, United have beaten Luton Town 3-0 and Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 and 3-0. Returning to winning ways ahead of the visit of Spurs to Old Trafford in important for Solskjaer’s side. Getting the result against Mourinho’s side will be important and after the North London club have already played three times since Sunday last week, this being their fourth match in eight days, it could pose problems for them with fatigue playing a big part also with the fact their only experienced striker is Harry Kane.

Tottenham Hotspur Goals: 6 – Harry Kane, 5 – Son Heung-min, 2 – Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura, 1 – Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele

Spurs have not had much of a break between matches this season, this match being their fourth in eight days so the international break could be a welcome break for those players who have not been called up to represent their countries. Spurs are tenth in the league at the time of writing with United in 13th place, however have only played twice this season with Spurs playing three times so far. The North London club has qualified for the UEFA Europa League this season, coming through the qualification rounds and beating Maccabi Haifa 7-2 earlier this week. It will be a stressful time for Spurs but they will be up for upsetting United this weekend.

Team News: Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire cold be doubts for United against Spurs. Gareth Bale is out of this match whilst Hueng-min Son looks set to miss it too.

United might have some problem ahead of the visit of Spurs to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. Solskjaer already has Sergio Romero (not available for selection), Phil Jones (knee) and Axel Tuanzebe (ankle/foot) out through injury. Harry Maguire (ankle/foot) and Bruno Fernandes (thigh) are both doubts, although Maguire is said to be 100% ready with Fernandes at 75% and due to be assessed ahead of the match against Spurs. United might well be able to field a fresh team with David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial all rested from the 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Brighton.

Spurs manager Mourinho has three problems with injuries ahead of the visit to United. Summer signing Gareth Bale (knee) has been ruled out until after the international break. Giovani Lo Celso (muscular tightness) has a 50/50 chance of being involved against United, possible from he bench and Heung-Min Son (thigh) has a 25% chance of featuring against United at Old Trafford after suffering an injury in this last appearances for his club. Son would be a big miss considering he has scored five goals already this season but Mourinho will be happy with the players that he has at his perusal for this match and will be seeking to take three points away from United.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, Greenwood, Fernandes, Van de Beek, and Pogba to start against Spurs? Bailly to partner Maguire in the centre of defence?

United are in a position whereby some freshness needs to be added to the team this season. Solskjaer has been rotating his squad between the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, which will have got him through to the second international break of the season in good stead. David de Gea seems to be playing Premier League matches with Dean Henderson playing in the Carabao Cup to a good standard. Things might change when the UEFA Champions League starts later this month. Against Spurs, I expect De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all to be recalled.

Match Prediction: 56 matches played between United and Spurs with United winning 35, drawing 12 and losing just nine. Victory number 36 coming for United?

United have met Spurs a total of 56 times in the Premier League with United winning 35, drawing 12 and losing just nine times. In all those matches, United have scored 94 goals with Spurs scoring 50. United have been awarded seven penalties against Spurs, scoring all of them with Spurs having won no penalties at all. United have kept 28 clean sheets compared to Spurs’ eight. A total of 96 yellow cards were shown to United players with Spurs getting 91. United have had three players sent off in matches against Spurs with the North London club having one player sent off. Based on the previous matches, this fixture will be the biggest of the season so far.

In this fixture last season, played at Old Trafford, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the sixth minute of the match. However, Dele Alli levelled the score in the 39th minute if the match. United took the lead again in the 49th minute with Rashford scoring from the penalty spot. It was a good win for United. In the last match between the two clubs which was played in June and was the first match back after the coronavirus lockdown, it ended 1-1 with Steven Bergwijn opening the scoring in the 27th minute and United again scoring from the penalty spot in the 81st minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes scoring it.

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Written by John Walker

Jan Vertonghen hints at Premier League stay as he’s linked to Manchester United

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has hinted that he could be set to remain in the Premier League this summer after leaving Spurs as a free agent after eight years at the club. The 33-year-old gave nothing away, refusing to rule out signing for a club in the Premier League this summer. As a free agent, the player will be weighing up his options as he contemplates his next move. The plater was reported by The Sun as saying:

“I’m considering the options and making a good choice. That will be out probably sooner rather than later.

“Obviously the window now is longer than it was last year, so we’ve got a bit of time to assess the best option.”

The Belgian defender was then asked about his next move and pressed on whether he could remain on the Premier League going into the 2020/21 season. Many will be wondering if there could be something in the links to Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking a partner for Harry Maguire, although they club has been linked with Nathan Ake, Gabriel Magalhaes and Pau Torres. Vertonghen, when asked about remaining in the Premier League, replied by saying:

“It will all depend on the options. I’ve got something in my head and we’ll see if that will come around or not.”

Vertonghen signed for Spurs back in 2012 for £12 million and has made 315 appearances for the club, scoring 14 goals and seven assists in his time there. I am sure that he has plenty to offer his next club but I wonder if he could be the player to provide a partnership role to Maguire. The player has suffered eight major injuries at Spurs which could be something that happens at his new club, possibly more regularly because of his age. He would be a free agent so could allow Solskjaer to spend in other areas this summer.

That aside, I wonder if signing him, if United are interested, would be the best thing for the club. His experience could help the likes of Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe, who seem to be the more trusted defensive players at the club right now and could help the likes of Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi in their development at the club. In terms of playing back to back matches and helping to guide United in the Premier League title race, I have my doubts.

Vertonghen is a classy player and has played some great matches for Spurs, but has also been involved on some poor matches, which is something that could be said for many players around the world right now. The 33-year-old is a professional player and has been lauded as that by manager Jose Mourinho and he was a crowd favourite whilst at Spurs. Speaking about his past season to talkSPORT, as reported by The Sun, Vertonghen said:

“I felt like I owed that to him and to Spurs in general, as it wasn’t my best season and I could be quite disappointed at times.

“But it was my task to train hard and respect team-mates when I wasn’t playing or on the bench, and I hope I did that.

“I had a great time, made a lot of friends and learned a lot of things both off the pitch and on the pitch.

“I will miss everyone, it’s been a great ride and it could have lasted longer but it is time now for it to end.”

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW