Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United preview
All the latest news and information as Manchester United travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time in a crucial match in the race for Champions League qualification.
The Premier League is back and Friday night sees a clash of two teams striving for Champions League football next season.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United Preview
It seems like a long time since Manchester United inflicted the first defeat of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tenure back in December. Mourinho’s time in North London has been far from plain sailing but the mid-season suspension may have given him the time he needs to organise his fractured squad. The Portuguese manager had never previously joined a club mid-season and he will have been relieved to get some time to work on a defence that has recorded fewer clean sheets (four) than any other Premier League team this season.
Vital to Spurs’ success in the remainder of this campaign could be the return of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son who have now recovered from long-term injuries. Mourinho had previously complained of having no back-up striker and usually gets the best out of a traditional ‘Number 9’ like Kane. Champions League qualification is still within reach for Spurs and would bring a much-needed cash injection with the coronavirus disruption rumoured to have cost them close to £200million.
Things were looking positive at Old Trafford before the break and United come into this game on an 11-match unbeaten run. They had just secured a league double over Manchester City and appeared to be a side rejuvenated since the introduction of Bruno Fernandes in January. In contrast to Spurs’ leaky defence Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had conceded just one goal in their last six matches in all competitions. United are currently occupying the fifth spot that could lead to Champions League football if City’s European ban is upheld.
Marcus Rashford made headlines during football’s suspension for some commendable charity work, helping to raise over £20million for FareShare and pressuring the UK government to provide free school meals throughout the summer holiday. He should be fit enough to return to the day job on Friday having recovered from a double back injury suffered in January.
Tottenham Hotspur Predicted XI vs Manchester United
Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele; Son, Kane, Bergwijn
Manchester United Predicted XI vs Tottenham Hotspur
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Matic; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: Injuries and Suspensions
Not only are Kane and Son back in contention but Moussa Sissoko and Steven Bergwijn are likely to be fit enough to start against United. Japhet Tanganga had broken into the team before the suspension but he will miss out with a back injury, giving Serge Aurier the chance to regain his manager’s trust.
Dele Alli is suspended having received a one-match ban from the FA after posting an offensive video on his social media that appeared to make light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Rashford and Paul Pogba have both recovered from long-term injuries in time for United’s return to competitive action but Solsksjaer may decide to ration their playing time as a precaution. Pogba is yet to play a match in 2020 and will likely only be fit enough for the bench in his return from an ankle injury.
Odion Ighalo will also be available having signed a contract extension during the break. The only injury concerns for United are Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones who are unlikely to make the trip to North London.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: What the managers said
Jose Mourinho (Tottenham Hotspur): [On qualifying for the Champions League] “That is really difficult, but let's focus on one match at a time. Tomorrow is Manchester United and on the points that are there to fight for and that is what we are going to do.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United): " “It's a great game, a big game against one of the best teams in the league of course, Champions League finalists less than a year ago, so we know that we're up for a hard game. We've prepared as well as we've can.
Prediction: Going purely on pre-lockdown form this would look like a comfortable win for United but three months without football makes this anyone’s game. Both sides are bolstered by the return of key players and have plenty to play for in their remaining nine games. Kane and Son’s return is massive but it is hard to imagine Mourinho can have completely fixed Spurs’ rotten defence and United have the firepower to exploit that weakness. It could be a high-scoring game, but one that the visitors should edge. Spurs 2-3 United
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