Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Manchester United have beaten Tottenham just twice in the last eight fixtures between the two sides, both of which have come at Old Trafford, where the two teams will clash on Sunday afternoon after spending midweek finishing the group stages of their European campaigns. Jose Mourinho’s United team returned from Ukraine on Thursday night and went straight into preparations for the visit of Mauricio Pochettino’s team, with both sides disappointing so far this season and likely to be fighting for fourth place come May.
Manchester United have recorded four consecutive home draws for the first time in decades and have recorded just one win over Swansea since September. However, victories in the cup competitions have given United fans a renewed sense of hope for the Jose Mourinho era. Qualification from the group stages of the Europa League may not be exciting but represents progress whilst they have also beaten Manchester City and West Ham in the EFL Cup in recent weeks.
After two disappointing defeats against Monaco to knock them out of the Champions League and then in the London derby against Chelsea, Spurs responded in the perfect way. A 5-0 thrashing against a woeful Swansea side sparked Tottenham’s season back to life and they followed it up with a first Wembley victory in Europe with a 3-1 win against CSKA Moscow despite initially going behind. After failing to score from open play for six games, the return of Harry Kane has seen his side score 13 goals in their last five matches.
Manchester United predicted starting XI Tottenham Hotspur predicted starting XI
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Jose Mourinho is expected to field a 4-1-4-1 formation for defensive strength with the only threat of a possible change from the draw at Goodison Park could see Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced by Juan Mata despite his impressive form, with a number of key players likely to return from being left out for the trip to Ukraine in midweek.
Mauricio Pochettino is likely to make just one change to the line-up that beat Swansea last weekend, with the return of Toby Alderweireld likely to force Eric Dier to the bench unless he picks up a problem in training in the build up to the fixture on Sunday.
Suspensions and Injuries
Eric Bailly is likely to be available for the Red Devils after he completed 90 minutes on Thursday night on his return from injury, though he is unlikely to start his second game in four days after such an extended period on the sidelines. Luke Shaw could also be an option for Jose Mourinho after recovering from a knock, but Chris Smalling is still out of action for United as he recovers from a broken toe.
Erik Lamela is the only man certain to miss out for Spurs as he has been absent with a hip problem but has also returned home to deal with family problems. Both Ben Davies and Vincent Janssen are hoping to shake off ankle injuries in time but are unlikely to be selected by Mauricio Pochettino even if they are fully fit in time for Sunday afternoon.
This will be a real test for both teams, Tottenham have been struggling for form of late but something finally seemed to click last weekend as they trounced Swansea. United have drawn their last four in a row at Old Trafford and have been breaking records in the process, with something still not quite right for Jose Mourinho at his new home. It’ll be tight, but we’re going for a draw.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Steve Mcmetha.
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