Thursday, October 22, 2020

Prediction: Manchester United vs Tottenham

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

In a contest between two sides who have a top-four finish at the top of their agenda, Manchester United will welcome Tottenham to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, while Manchester United might have managed to book their spot in the quarter-finals of this year’s EFL Cup thanks to a 3-0 win at the Amex in midweek, the Reds have struggled to lay down an early Premier League marker. Although they also managed to come past Brighton last weekend courtesy of that hugely-controversial spot-kick on the South Coast, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are still dealing with some real issues at the back. Watching Brighton hit the woodwork five times last week and also missing a string of golden opportunities, the former champions also opened the New Year in real worrying fashion. Largely outplayed at Old Trafford when returning from their Europa League heartbreak out in Germany, United were blown away on home soil thanks to a shock 3-1 drumming against Crystal Palace. Desperate for a far more polished display on Sunday, Solskjaer should take some solace from his side’s record against Spurs, particularly on home soil. Including a 2-1 win the last time Tottenham came to town, United have won six of their last seven meetings against the Lilywhites at Old Trafford.

Team News

Manchester United’s Harry Maguire is available despite injuring his ankle in the Premier League win over Brighton last Saturday.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no new fitness concerns in his squad.

Tottenham

As for the visitors, managing to extend on their Europa League adventure thanks to an action-packed 7-2 win against Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa on Thursday night, Tottenham have managed to march on an extended unbeaten run. However, while Jose Mourinho’s men might find themselves enjoying a six-match unbeaten run across all formats since opening the New Year with a 1-0 defeat against Everton, they will be looking to put last weekend’s disappointment fully behind them. Despite dominating proceedings when Newcastle came to North London seven days ago, the former Manchester United boss saw Eric Dier’s controversial injury-time handball rule out them leaving with all three points. Never the less, still determined to get one over on his former employers this weekend, Spurs will also be boosted by Harry Kane’s early-season purple patch. Despite their stacked schedule, the England skipper bagged a hat-trick on European duties in midweek and has now recorded six goals in as many appearances across all competitions.

Team News

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho has not completely ruled out Son Heung-min’s chances of recovering in time from a hamstring issue.

Giovani Lo Celso is a doubt with an unspecified injury, while Gareth Bale is not yet ready to feature.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides last faced off after making a return from football’s enforced break back in June, they played out a 1-1 draw in North London.
  • However, Manchester United have won six of the last seven meetings between the two sides at Old Trafford.
  • Harry Kane has recorded six goals in as many appearances across all competitions.
  • Spurs’ two clean sheets in their past 27 Premier League away games came against relegated Watford and Bournemouth.
  • Manchester United are looking to avoid losing their opening two home games to a league season for only the fifth time, and first since 1986-87.

Conclusion

On paper, both sides should see Sunday as a real chance to pick up an early scalp. While Manchester United might have managed to land back-to-back victories against Brighton over the past week, the Reds have drastically struggled with some glaring issues at the back and there does appear to be a feeling of animosity around Old Trafford. On the flip side, although Tottenham were hugely frustrated to have only collected a point off of Newcastle last weekend, Spurs have managed to muster a six-match unbeaten run across all formats and Jose Mourinho will be confident of getting one over on his former employers. With Harry Kane enjoying an early-season purple patch and both sides showing their own issues at the back, it is hard to see anything over than chances to come thick and fast this weekend.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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