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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

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′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, James and Fernandes lead the line against Spurs; Pogba on the bench

Manchester United will return to Premier League action three months after the league was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was a shame as United, back then were in good form and on an eleven match unbeaten run, scoring 29 goals, conceding two and keeping nine clean sheets. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to keep that going.

It will be the first time that Jose Mourinho has faced his former club since he was sacked almost 17 months ago and will face United with his team in dire form with one draw and five defeats in their last six matches and seemingly facing an uphill battle in their bid to qualify for European football next season, which seems tough right now.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Williams; Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Matic; Ighalo, Greenwood

Tottenham Hotspur:

Lloris;

Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies;

Winks, Sissoko;

Bergwijn, Lamela, Son;

Kane

Substitutes:

Gazzaniga; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sessignon; Lo Celso, N’Dombele, Fernandes; White

United and Spurs have played 55 times in the Premier League with United winning 35 times, drawing 11 times and losing nine times. In total, United have scored 93 goals to Spurs’ 49. United have kept 27 clean sheets to Spurs’ eight. United have won six penalties, scoring all of them. In total, United have received 95 yellow cards and three red cards. Spurs had 91 yellow cards and one red card.

This match will be a race to find European football next season for Mourinho’s side, who were placed ninth in the league before the match, with United in fifth; four points better off than the North Londoners. United will be seeking three points from this match which will fortify their position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season as Spurs seek to climb into the UEFA Europa League position.

How Manchester United could look against Spurs; three at the back? Rashford and Martial leading the line?

Manchester United will return to Premier League action three months after the league was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was a shame as United, back then were in good form and on an eleven match unbeaten run, scoring 29 goals, conceding two and keeping nine clean sheets. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to keep that going.

It will be the first time that Jose Mourinho has faced his former club since he was sacked almost 17 months ago and will face United with his team in dire form with one draw and five defeats in their last six matches and seemingly facing an uphill battle in their bid to qualify for European football next season, which seems tough right now.

United and Spurs have played 55 times in the Premier League with United winning 35 times, drawing 11 times and losing nine times. In total, United have scored 93 goals to Spurs’ 49. United have kept 27 clean sheets to Spurs’ eight. United have won six penalties, scoring all of them. In total, United have received 95 yellow cards and three red cards. Spurs had 91 yellow cards and one red card.

This match will be a race to find European football next season for Mourinho’s side, who were placed ninth in the league before the match, with United in fifth; four points better off than the North Londoners. United will be seeking three points from this match which will fortify their position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season as Spurs seek to climb into the UEFA Europa League position.

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

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper has had the time to inspire him to find the form he once had as United’s number one goalkeeper. After a few mistakes this season, De Gea might have had enough time to overcome mental problems and help drive this team forward in their bid to finish in the top four of the Premier League and end the season with a trophy, or two.

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence is now an area where most of the players are fit and ready to go, apart from Phil Jones, who is on the injury list once again. Away from home, Solskjaer has opted for three at the back and in this case, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw could be called upon to try and steer United home with all three points again.

Midfield Four: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Paul Pogba, Brandon Williams

With a three-man defensive line, it normally gives a four-man midfield with wing-backs taking the width and pulling back to a back four or five if and when needed. In this case, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams could play the wide areas with Fred and Paul Pogba playing in midfield. This could lead to Fernandes playing further forward.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder has been a revelation for United since he was signed in January with three goals and four assists in all competitions and seeking more goals to help United move closer to finishing Innside the top four in the Premier League and maybe in the race to win a trophy. In this position, Fernandes could swap with Pogba, keeping Spurs guessing.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

It will be good to see the return of two strikers once again with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford leading the line with Fernandes just behind them. United now have a great amount of depth in these positions with Odion Ighalo and Mason Greenwood on the bench. Rashford and Martial are responsible for 35 goals between them this season, aiming for more.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe; Scott McTominay, Daniel James; Odion Ighalo, Mason Greenwood

United will have some great depth on the bench at this point in the season, which is great – as long as the players retain their fitness and avoid injury. Sergio Romero will keep his place on the bench with De Gea starting. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe could play a part with Scott McTominay and Daniel James in midfield, if needed. In attack, Odion Ighalo and Mason Greenwood could be called upon.

Preview: Solskjaer boosted with Pogba and Rashford return to hit Spurs where it hurts?

Tottenham Hotspur -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Friday 19 June 2020, KO 20:15 BST

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Eddie Smart, Neil Davies Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

VAR: Graham Scott Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

Manchester United will return to Premier League action three months after the league was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was a shame as United, back then were in good form and on an eleven match unbeaten run, scoring 29 goals, conceding two and keeping nine clean sheets. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to keep that going.

It will be the first time that Jose Mourinho has faced his former club since he was sacked almost 17 months ago and will face United with his team in dire form with one draw and five defeats in their last six matches and seemingly facing an uphill battle in their bid to qualify for European football next season, which seems tough right now.

Form: United undefeated in their last six matches and on 11-match unbeaten run; Spurs winless in last six matches, last winning seven matches ago.

Manchester United: WWWDWW

LASK 5-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 W, Derby County 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, Club Brugge 5-0 W, Watford 3-0 W

Tottenham Hotspur: LDLLLL

RB Leipzig 3-0 L, Burnley 1-1 D, Norwich City 1-1 (2-3 pens) L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 L, Chelsea 2-1 L, RB Leipzig 1-0 L

Top Scorers: United were seemingly scoring goals for fun during their 11-match unbeaten run and Rashford could pick up where he left off for the remainder of the season.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 16 – Anthony Martial, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Scott McTominay, 4 – Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are unbeaten in 11 matches, scoring 29 goals, conceding twice, keeping nine clean sheets and driving forward in their bid to reach the top four of the Premier League. Solskjaer’s side will be up against it when they travel to Spurs on Friday but three points from this match will be a must to keep chase on those above them.

Tottenham Hotspur Goals: 17 – Harry Kane, 16 – Son Heung-Min, 9 – Dele Alli, 7 – Lucas Moura, 4 – Erik Lamela, 3 – Christian Eriksen, 2 – Serge Aurier, Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko, Jan Vertonghen, 1 – Toby Alderweireld, Ryan Sessegnon

Spurs have not been as good as they can be this season, losing Mauricio Pochettino and bringing in Mourinho, United’s former manager, which has not changed their fortunes. Four points adrift of United, Spurs will be seeking to make United’s first visit to their new stadium a memorable one, possibly taking all three points, which is a possibility.

Team News: Rashford, Pogba, Fosu-Mensah and Grant off the injury list – Jones back on it as United ready to go again.

Solskjaer will no doubt be boosted with the return of top scorer Marcus Rashford, midfielder Paul Pogba with two other players; Lee Grant and Tim Fosu-Mensah all of the injury list and ready to compete for places in the season run-in with United seeking a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. Phil Jones is back on the injury list though!

Mourinho will be happy to have Harry Kane back and ready to help drive his team forward after the played was due to miss the match between these two sides before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mourinho will be without Troy Parrott and Japhet Tanganga through injury with Dele Alli suspended for this match.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford and Pogba return to the starting XI? Fernandes playing in the advanced position and three at the back for Solskjaer?

It is hard to predict the right formation and starting XI for United, especially three months after the last match and it still being the same season. In the past, Solskjaer has utilised three at the back in away matches, giving United a bit more in the midfield and moving forward. However, that might change but I have gone with that option.

Match Prediction: United the team in form right now but with a three month gap between last competitive matches, either side could be in the driving seat on Friday evening.

United and Spurs have played 55 times in the Premier League with United winning 35 times, drawing 11 times and losing nine times. In total, United have scored 93 goals to Spurs’ 49. United have kept 27 clean sheets to Spurs’ eight. United have won six penalties, scoring all of them. In total, United have received 95 yellow cards and three red cards. Spurs had 91 yellow cards and one red card.

This match will be a race to find European football next season for Mourinho’s side, who were placed ninth in the league before the match, with United in fifth; four points better off than the North Londoners. United will be seeking three points from this match which will fortify their position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season as Spurs seek to climb into the UEFA Europa League position.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Manchester United

Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur interested in signing Dean Henderson this summer

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson who is currently on loan with Sheffield United for the 2019/20 season is reportedly being linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur ahead of the summer transfer window, according to reports. Henderson, 22 has been playing well during his debut season in the Premier League, having spent every season away from United on loan.

Henderson has played in the National League North, League Two, League One and now the Premier League and he wants to represent England at Euro 2020 this summer – but has a lot to do to break through Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope, who are ahead of him in the pecking order in the England squad ahead of the tournament. Henderson has a contract at United until the summer of 2022 but has a further year to be added on.

This gives United power in keeping the player, who is tipped to succeed David De Gea in the future, although the Spanish goalkeeper signed a new contract keeping him at the club until the summer of 2023, with an option for a further year to be added. United’s second choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero is rumoured to want to leave the club this summer and with Lee Grant’s contract expiring, United will have room for Henderson.

Nathan Bishop was also signed by the club during the January transfer window and he will be the clubs third choice goalkeeper for the foreseeable future with Grant on the sidelines with a wrist injury which requires surgery. Henderson could come in and challenge De Gea for and number one shirt next season, if manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees him as the player to do that with Bishop still being the club’s third choice.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain were the first club to be linked to Henderson as they look to freshen up their squad with some young talent in the summer. This should be something that shows Henderson that he’s becoming a top player, hopefully, he will give United the first option to utilise his talent, which is something he has a lot of considering he is one of three goalkeepers in the Premier League to keep nine clean sheets.

Chelsea will be seeking to find competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has been dropped for the last two matches because of his lack of form and Henderson would probably keep him on his toes, however, it should be United where he is doing this but the player will need to have words with Solskjaer to see where his future lies. He could be set to stay at Sheffield United for another season, which would be good for him.

Tottenham Hotspur will also be seeking a new second choice goalkeeper with Michel Vorm leaving the club in the summer and Hugo Lloris not getting any younger. Jose Mourinho had been involved in Henderson’s development at United when he was the manager, so might have a slight advantage over the likes of PSG and Chelsea. Solskjaer needs to think about Henderson carefully though as United won’t want to lose him.

De Gea will turn 30 in November 2020 and although it is an age where goalkeepers are still considered to be in their peak with some playing on for a decade after hitting that age, United will need to ensure they have thought about the future in that position. Granted, with the likes of Matěj Kovář, Bishop and Ondrej Mastny on the books at the club, there are certainly options if Henderson does leave.

Review & Ratings: Marcus Rashford scored a brace to shoot down Spurs; Fred put in a great display, glad to have McTominay back

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday night in the Premier League, ending Jose Mourinho’s 100% record at Spurs since he took the job a few weeks ago. Marcus Rashford scored a brace for United, his fourth against a top-six club in the league. Dele Alli scored the only goal for Spurs six minutes before the end of the half. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with the victory.

United took the lead in the sixth minute of the match through Marcus Rashford who now has 13 goal contributions (11 goals and two assists) in his last 13 matches for club and country. Jesse Lingard did well to pick Davinson Sanchez on the left allowing Rashford to beat Paulo Gazzaniga at the near post, something the Spurs goalkeeper should have done much better in stopping.

The lead lasted 33 minutes with Dele Alli equalising with a sublime goal in the 39th minute of the match after Serge Aurier saw a shot blocked by David De Gea with Spurs recycling play, sending the ball back into the box for Alli to flick the ball over his and Victor Lindelof’s head before volleying into the far corner. There was a short delay to check VAR for a handball but the goal was awarded.

United took the lead again in the 49th minute of the match after Rashford won a penalty. The England forward stared down Gazzaniga on the run-up and rolled the ball into the bottom corner as the Argentinian dived in the other direction. That was Rashford’s ninth goal in his last nine starts, his 14th goal contribution in the last 13 appearances. At 2-1 up, there was still work to do for United to get back to winning ways.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper did not have much to do against Spurs, which was a good sign. One goal was conceded, a sublime finish frm Dele Alli, which De Gea has no chance of stopping. It will be a boost of his confidence. The save from Serge Aurier's effort will help that.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back did what he needed to do in his position. He was not beaten there during the game and got forward into the final third, as he did against Villa at the weekend.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swede did much better against Spurs than he did against Villa at the weekend. Perhaps he steps up his game against better players? Harry Kane was pretty silent this evening.

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5 Harry Maguire

The £80 million man gave a steady performance for United against Spurs but he still has not shown why he was worth the money for me. He's helped to strengthen the defence - perhaps in the coming weeks a mixture of good results and more confidence will start to show the real Harry Maguire.

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Review & Ratings: Marcus Rashford scored a brace to shoot down Spurs; Fred put in a great display, glad to have McTominay back

The veteran winger-cum-left-back showed lots of energy and experience against Spurs. He did well at times although he was partly to blame for Dele Alli's equaliser and should have done a lot better there - a weakness in his defensive game.

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39 Scott McTominay

He improved this team by 100% based on the last few matches which he has missed. He added the necessary steel into the midfield. Add Pogba to him and Fred and United's midfield will be a lot stronger and more creative.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian put in a great performance for United. Dele Alli got the better of him, which may have seen him sink into the game by he made a crucial block to deny Heung-Min Song before Marcus Rashford put United ahead once again.

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Review & Ratings: Marcus Rashford scored a brace to shoot down Spurs; Fred put in a great display, glad to have McTominay back

The Welsh winger was a constant threat for United and could have had his own goal. Jan Vertonghen will be having nightmares about his pace and ability tonight. He could have involved himself a bit more during attacking plays, at times though.

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14 Jesse Lingard

He seemed a lot better than Juan Mata or Andreas Pereira in this position. He added something to United's fluid play but started to die off late in the game.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The in form forward scored another brace in his career, all of which have been against top six teams; Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and now Spurs. His first goal was a good finish, beating Paulo Gazzaniga from close-range (with the help of the post). The second, a penalty was a composed finish against the Argentinian.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The academy graduate did not look out of place in this team. Confident, composed and ready to get going from the very start of the match. He forced a save from Paulo Gazzaniga, which would have ended a good night for him, if it went in.

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Substitutes

15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Greenwood 80'. I don't think he did anything of note in the game to add anything to what the team had already done. Only had ten minutes on the pitch, plus added time though.

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23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Shaw 87'. Came on with three minutes and added time remaining. Not enough time to get involved, however, he was part of an attack which could have seen Marcus Rashford score a hat-trick, but it did not work out for him.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 6′, 49′ (pen); Dele Alli 39′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Fred; James, Lingard (Shaw 87′), Rashford; Greenwood (Pereira 80′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Tuanzebe, Williams; Mata, Garner

Bookings: Harry Winks 13′

Confirmed Starting XI: Greenwood leads the line against Spurs; Rashford, James and Lingard supporting; McTominay back!

Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford this evening, along with former manager Jose Mourinho, who has a 100% record in his first three matches at the club, including coming back from 2-0 down against Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League last week, winning 4-2. The former United manager will be happy to face United in their current form.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are not anything like the teams they have been at various times during the history of the club. Gone is that success, that determination, that winning mentality and it needs to all be rekindled once again, however that is possible. United will also face Manchester City this week, who are a team fallen from their last two seasons of dominance – a good time to face them?

United currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League, which will change as there are two matches which will be played in Tuesday evening, four more kicking off at the same time, one more 45 minutes later, two more on the following day. All these fixtures will be live on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom, the first time Premier League football has been streamed on the platform.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young;

McTominay, Fred;

James, Lingard, Rashford;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Romero; Shaw, Tuanzebe, Williams; Mata, Pereira, Garner

Tottenham Hotspur:

Gazzaniga;

Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen;

Winks, Sissoko;

Moura, Alli, Son;

Kane

Substitutes:

Austin; Rose, Foyth; Dier, Lo Celso, Eriksen, N’Dombele

United and Tottenham Hotspur have played 191 times in the history of both clubs. United have won 91, drawn 48 and lost 52 times. The first match between the two clubs was played in 1899. United met Spurs at Wembley in January, winning 1-0. In the last ten matches, United have won six of them, losing four times. In the last nine matches, there has been a pattern; United WLWLWLWLW.

If that pattern continues, United are destined to lose at Old Trafford on Wednesday but they can break that pattern themselves, if they desire to. In the last match at Old Trafford, Spurs beat United 3-0 with a goal from Harry Kane and a brace from Lucas Moura. United last beat Spurs at Old Trafford in October 2017, a 1-0 victory with Anthony Martial scoring the winning goal in the 81st minute.

How Manchester United could look against Tottenham Hotspur; 4-4-2 variation with Greenwood leading the line and Martial just behind?

Manchester United will come against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It will also be the first time that Amazon Prime will be broadcasting the matches live in the United Kingdom. After getting two draws in the last to Premier League matches; 3-3 against Sheffield United and 2-2 with Aston Villa and a 2-1 defeat against Astana in the UEFA Europa League, changes are needed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to find a way to get his team playing attacking football that is able to not only create goals but score them too. In the last three matches, United have scored six goals but conceded seven, which is not the way to gain anything. Whilst injuries continue to become a problem, there are things that could be changed to get things ticking over once again. Here I will talk about those.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper is still the best goalkeeper at the club. Confidence may not be at an all time high at this moment in time, but it could all change with a good run of results. Injuries have cost United this season and they are still suffering from them, so in the coming weeks, things might become much better. Granted, De Gea needs to rally his troops and get those ahead of him playing to his strengths so that defence is highlighted as a strength once again with United doing what it needed in order to get the much needed results.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence has not been the greatest of late, well over the past three matches. Ignoring that defeat in Kazakhstan, as youth played a big part, United have conceded five goals and scored five goals, getting two draws which should have been victories. Victor Lindelof scored a goal yesterday but I feel he should be replaced in the team with Axel Tuanzebe getting a chance to form a partnership with Harry Maguire. Aaron Wan-Bissaka keeps his place but the fact that Ethan Laird is coming through may present him a challenge. Luke Shaw should start ahead of Brandon Williams, whose mistake against Villa was costly. A match on the bench might be of benefit, especially in terms of rest with nine matches to play up to New Year’s Day.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

This is the main area where there is a lack of ability, confidence, fight, determination and quality at this moment in time. Fred has risen his during recent matches, which is what he needed and he does have some ability in there somewhere but might fall short of the requirement to run United’s midfield. However, right now, he’s one of the only options at the club – all because of injury and a very thin squad, based on experience. Scott McTominay could well be back in action against Spurs, which is needed but it is the likes of Paul Pogba, is this is the challenge that he wants that will make the real difference. When he’s back, only then can we judge what is needed at the club.

Wingers: Daniel James, Marcus Rashford

Daniel James and Marcus Rashford are two of the best players able to play in the wide positions in attack at the club. There are some other talents coming through the ranks though. A slight formation change or tweak could be good for United. The 4-2-3-1 formation is not working all that well and Anthony Martial is not leading the line as a true striker. Some see this differently, probably because they think the sun shines from his posterior. Instead of having three attacking players behind the striker, playing two strikers, having one just behind the leading man might work.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial

Mason Greenwood has scored four goals in all competitions this season and has a good shot conversion rate. Greenwood is a forward with an eye for a goal. Granted he has had many shots on goal and has a small goal rate but in terms of experience, he has little in a first team environment. Greenwood will do what a striker needs to do to get a goal and playing through the middle he is a threat. Anthony Martial is a threat too, but his instinct is to play the ball at his feet, not lie in wait and aim to score. Against Villa, this could be seen a few times. Playing behind the striker might raise Martial’s game significantly. It equally might not but some things need to be tried to see if it changes anything, rather than sticking with the same which has not exactly worked as well as it could have.

Substitutes: Lee Grant; Ashley Young, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, James Garner

As there are still many players on the sidelines through injury, added to the fact there are many players in the squad who fall short of the requirements to play for United, I would rather see some talented youth players on the bench on Wednesday evening. However, as United are also participating in the EFL Trophy against Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday, it is unlikely that many youth players will be on the bench for United, meaning there would be little inspiration off the bench, unless Paul Pogba is able to take his position, which is what I have predicted. I expect Lee Grant to remain on the bench, not knowing what is up with Sergio Romero. Ashley Young and Brandon Williams could be the defensive reinforcement with Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and James Garner could be available to supplement the midfield and attack. Of course, I would rather see Dylan Levitt, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Laird on the bench instead of Young, Mata, and Pereira.

Preview: The return of Mourinho. Can United and Solskjaer return to winning ways against a team currently in the zone and scoring goals?

Manchester United -v- Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 4 December 2019, KO 19:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis; Harry Lennard Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United have two big matches this week, the first will be to welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford, along with former manager Jose Mourinho, who has a 100% record in his first three matches at the club, including coming back from 2-0 down against Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League last week, winning 4-2. The former United manager will be happy to face United in their current form.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are not anything like the teams they have been at various times during the history of the club. Gone is that success, that determination, that winning mentality and it needs to all be rekindled once again, however that is possible. United will also face Manchester City this week, who are a team fallen from their last two seasons of dominance – a good time to face them?

United currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League, which will change as there are two matches which will be played in Tuesday evening, four more kicking off at the same time, one more 45 minutes later, two more on the following day. All these fixtures will be live on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom, the first time Premier League football has been streamed on the platform.

Form: United winless in their last three matches, winning twice in their last six matches. Spurs unbeaten in their last six matches with Jose Mourinho having a 100% record in his first three Spurs matches.

Manchester United: DLDWWL

Aston Villa 2-2 D, Astana 2-1 L, Sheffield United 3-3 D, Brighton And Hove Albion 3-1 W, Partizan Belgrade 3-0 W, Bournemouth 1-0 L

Tottenham Hotspur: WWWDWD

Bournemouth 3-2 W, Olympiakos 4-2 W, West Ham United 3-2 W, Sheffield United 1-1 D, Crvena Zvezda 4-0 W, Everton 1-1 D

Top Scorers: United and Spurs have scored 70 goals between them this season, United scoring ten goals fewer than Spurs. To take three points in this match, United will have to pull out all the stops and show that they still care.

Manchester United: 30 goals scored by United this season including an own goal. 10 goals fewer than Spurs by Marcus Rashford is keeping up with Harry Kane.

Goals: 10 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Own Goal, Victor Lindelof

At a time where it seemed United had turned a corner, they turned another – an inability to take on their opposition, pressure them and more importantly beat them. A baptism of fire will come this week a United face Spurs and Manchester City which could well see United, in the worst case scenario, securing a place in the bottom half of the table. Two wins, as unlikely as it may seem, could see them rise to the top half.

Tottenham Hotspur: 40 goals scored by Spurs this season, 10 of which have come under the reign of Mourinho. Harry Kane the top scorer for the club, setting the pace for the league?

Goals: 13 – Harry Kane, 9 – Son Heung-Min, 5 – Dele Alli, 3 – Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Tanguy Ndombele, 1 – Serge Aurier, Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko

Spurs are fifth in the Premier League, 20 points off leaguer leaders Liverpool and just two points ahead of United. To break into the top four, Spurs will need to ensure victories over both United and and Burnley this week and hope for the likes of Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United and Arsenal slip up. Can Spurs come up against this United side and reign supreme? They have the talent to do so.

Team News: Could Paul Pogba be fit enough to face former manager Jose Mourinho? Will Scott McTominay be back to bolster the midfield? Does United have fully fit players to fight for the victory?

Solskjaer has some problems with injury with is affecting him team selection. Fred and Andreas Pereira played in midfield against Aston Villa and the latter was nothing special. Scott McTominay could be back to face Spurs on Wednesday, although it was hoped he would face Villa. Paul Pogba is likely to be out for this game too, possibly returning against Manchester City at the weekend.

Marcos Rojo will not be fit for this game either but there is hardly a problem with injury in the defensive area, just a lack of quality in places. Nemanja Matic, despite returning to training seems unlikely to get himself back into the team at this moment in time and the likes of Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Diogo Dalot are unlikely to feature much until the latter end of the month.

Mourinho has injury problems to contend with which keeps two goalkeepers on the sidelines through injury; Hugo Lloris (arm/elbow), who will not be back in contention until February 2020 and Michel Vorm (calf/shin/heel) who might not be back until the weekend, at the earliest. Erik Lamela is also out with a thigh injury and Ben Davies unlikely to feature with an ankle/foot injury.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line, Anthony Martial in behind, flanked by Marcus Rashford and Daniel James?

One match played in December sees eight more remaining until the end of the month, nine if you include New Year’s Day. It is important to rotate the team, where possible, to keep players fresh for upcoming matches. Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, and Mason Greenwood could add something. A slight formation change needs to happen to as the way United play, especially with dire midfielders (due to injury) it is just not working as well as it is for other teams.

Match Prediction: Spurs on form unbeaten in their last six matches with Mourinho holding a 100% record since he became the manager. Solskjaer needs to get a grip on the squad and lead them to winning matches, especially matches as big as this one.

United and Tottenham Hotspur have played 191 times in the history of both clubs. United have won 91, drawn 48 and lost 52 times. The first match between the two clubs was played in 1899. United met Spurs at Wembley in January, winning 1-0. In the last ten matches, United have won six of them, losing four times. In the last nine matches, there has been a pattern; United WLWLWLWLW.

If that pattern continues, United are destined to lose at Old Trafford on Wednesday but they can break that pattern themselves, if they desire to. In the last match at Old Trafford, Spurs beat United 3-0 with a goal from Harry Kane and a brace from Lucas Moura. United last beat Spurs at Old Trafford in October 2017, a 1-0 victory with Anthony Martial scoring the winning goal in the 81st minute.

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

copyright: JW