Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United (a tricky weekend)

Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United (a tricky weekend)

The Tottenham Stadium. Date and time: 11 April at 4.30 pm.

After every game we’ve done poorly I’ve always commented afterwards that we have blown it, only for those in striking distance, either drawing or losing their games.  Currently, we are two points behind 5th placed Chelski, three points behind fourth-placed Spammers. Seven points behind 3rd placed Leicester Titty. As for second-placed, well, there is an 11 points difference; this Sunday, it is them we take on (United). I am not suggesting that we can catch United, however, I don’t think that catching up with and overtaking Titty, Spammers, and Chelski are in the realms of fantasy.

The pundits have put us losing against United, even though we beat them at Old Trafford 1-6 at the beginning of the season. To be fair, we haven’t always been that bad, just a few stupid errors that changed our chances of winning. No doubt, the other teams above and below us can also claim the same. Nevertheless, we are in with a shout. If the right Tottenham team turn up – as they did against United – we can win this game. Nonetheless, being at home in today’s pandemic-no-audience games isn’t an advantage.

Let us look at the other games that could face those challenging for a top spot.

Liverpool face Villa on Saturday. In their previous fixture against Villa, they lost 7-2, the same day we beat United 1-6. When Liverpool face Villa, Chelski take a trip to Crystal Palace. Then on Sunday, the Spammers face Titty. On Monday, Brighton take on Everton. It is going to be an exciting weekend. Of course, we want Villa and Palace to win while the Spammers draw with Titty. Simples! Now back to reality. Simply, it is in the lap of the gods. I am pretty sure that all games for the rest of the season will go down to the wire.

To the Match:

Tottenham’s 6-1 victory over United earlier this season feels a dreadfully long time ago now. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the lead in that game, but we hit back with two quick-fire goals and then took full advantage of Anthony Martial’s sending-off around the half-hour mark. I suppose there is no chance another sending off will help us again this time around? No, I didn’t think so.

Of course, there have been many changes since that match at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho, not Solskjaer, is now the manager under pressure.

Mourinho Under Scrutiny as we try to finish in the top four.

That 6-1 game at Old Trafford was part of an 11-game unbeaten run that got us to the top spot in December. Back then, Mourinho’s methods looked to have been correct as we eyed an improbable title triumph. But as we prepare for the reverse fixture, we sit 11 points behind United.

There is a feeling that all is not well at Tottenham. Mourinho has become increasingly critical of his players in public, and such a high-risk approach only tends to end one way, with the team playing even more poorly. We have lost six of our last 12 Premier League matches. We should have beaten Newcastle United last weekend but managed to only secure a 2-2 draw. We’ve also become incredibly reliant on Harry Kane of late, while doubts over our defence grow larger with each passing week.

Saying all that, I doubt we will sack Mourinho this summer, chiefly because it would cost the club a considerable amount to do so, and on top of that, sacking Mourinho could backfire on Levy (“Not another sacking!”). It is clear, though, that trouble is brewing at the club, and that is one of the reasons why United will be quietly confident of taking all three points on Sunday. But as we all know, confidence can backfire. On the day the best-laid plans can go terribly wrong, just ask Chelski when they faced the bottom of the tabled WBA and lost heavily and then humiliated.

TEAM NEWS

Spurs

We could welcome back Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier. Ben Davies and Matt Doherty remain out.

Manchester United

Luke Shaw will be fit despite his half-time withdrawal during Thursday’s win in Granada. Marcus Rashford continues to play with an ankle injury, while Anthony Martial could be out for the season.

My thoughts and prediction

I’m not expecting the same kind of scoreline as our crazy 1-6 away win. United have tightened up defence since that match. But, and here I might be considered mad by all, I am going for another win for us. No, I haven’t been drinking or suffering from delusion, but as I said previously, on a good day, we can beat anybody. I am hoping that the right-minded team will turn up and beat United. We still have the same players that beat United the first time around, and we can do it this time around as well. Mad or not, I am going for a win.

A draw is not much good to us as we dropped points against the Toons last weekend, and we might just see a reaction to his comments about their poor defensive display. In other words, it might have jolted them into tough action; well, I hope so!

Prediction: 3-1

Head-to-head

We are seeking a league double over Manchester United for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Yes, over 30 years ago!

We have won just six of our 28 Premier League home games against United – but three of those wins have come in the past five seasons.

In their past eight league visits to Spurs, Manchester United’s solitary victory came at Wembley in January 2019 (D4, L3).

Spurs

We have won five consecutive home games in all competitions, scoring at least twice in each victory. However, we have lost five successive league matches against other established top-six teams.

We have lost nine league fixtures this term – Jose Mourinho has never been beaten 10 times in a league season during his managerial career.

Mourinho has never lost a home match against Manchester United (W5, D5). He could become the first former Manchester United manager to complete a league double over the club since Dave Sexton with Coventry in 1981-82.

Harry Kane needs one goal to reach 20 in a Premier League season for the fifth time.

Kane or Son have either scored or assisted 40 of our 51 league goals this season.

Manchester United

Manchester United have suffered just one defeat in 24 league matches (W15, D8).

They are on a club-record run of 22 away league games unbeaten (W14, D8). It’s the third-longest away run in English top-flight history, bettered only by Arsenal’s unbeaten streaks of 23 and 27 early this century.

United are the only unbeaten away side in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

The Red Devils have conceded one goal in seven league meetings versus other established top-six clubs since a 6-1 home defeat against Spurs on 4 October.

Marcus Rashford is the first player to score at least 20 goals in back-to-back seasons for Manchester United in all competitions since Wayne Rooney in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

So, there you have it. My bold prediction is that we will win. Now let us be even more daring and hope that the Russians and the Scousers lose while the Spammers and Titty draw. It isn’t too much to ask, is it? Probably, but we are in that part of the seasons that we could do with a few miracles thrown our way.

Take care and stay safe!

Glenn

COYS