After the adventure of the FA Cup in Somerset, Manchester United will travel to Wembley to face an in-form Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
Spurs have been in fine fettle for weeks now in the Premier League winning 4 out of the last 6 games scoring 16 and conceding just 4 – accruing 14 points in the process. Yet, Spurs have rarely threatened the top two sides for weeks now and are sat fifth in the league, albeit only two points separating themselves and fourth-placed Liverpool who lost their most recent fixture. Spurs have been better on the road than they have been at Wembley – as Pochettino’s side stand sixth in the home table with 7 wins out of 12 and a solitary defeat. It’s a good time as any to gamble on a Spurs win and claim your no deposit bonus whilst you’re at it!
Having yet to make a big move in the winter transfer market unlike their direct rivals in the top 6 (at the time of writing) – Spurs do face a tough challenge in the run-in ahead of them to achieve their objective of finishing in the top four again to sustain their place among Europe’s elite.
For Manchester United, things are looking up after their disappointing end to 2017 – when it seemed like the wheels had well and truly come off. Mourinho and United are still considerably behind their neighbours and any sniff of a title challenge is fading by the day – with the Red Devils under pressure each week to avoid dropping further ground to their crosstown rivals, with regard to the Premier League crown which looks to be heading to Manchester, one way or another.
But the recent upturn in form, return of injured players, signing of new contracts and most importantly – the purchase of Alexis Sanchez has brought the swagger and goodwill back at Manchester United but it remains to be seen whether that can translate to consistent results on the pitch.
Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Serge Aurier, who is struggling with a calf problem. However, better news saw Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris take part in first team training, though the former pair may not be fit in time to feature. Harry Winks is not expected to be available.
Jose Mourinho is again without Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Daley Blind and could revert to a three-man defence here. In this instance, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford would be forced to watch on from the bench with new signing Alexis Sanchez set to make his Premier League debut for United alongside Romelu Lukaku up front.
Manchester United have won 80 league matches against Tottenham Hotspur. Only against Aston Villa (85) and Arsenal (82) have they won more.
Spurs have won two of their seven Premier League matches against Man Utd under Mauricio Pochettino (W2 D1 L4). This is as many as they’d won in their previous 26 matches against them.
Tottenham are undefeated in their last 11 home matches (Premier League).
Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane needs no introduction. By far and away the best and most reliable centre-forward in the country has already racked up 21 goals for the season for Spurs – contributing to 45% of the team’s goals (highest of the top 10 scorers in the league). Not only does it show his ability to stand out, but the way he has shouldered the burden for the last three years, under pressure, is something to be commended.
Only a goal shy of the 100-goal mark in the Premier League in just over 3 seasons is just remarkable and the home side simply need to get him involved in and around the final third, if they are to get all 3 points.
Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United
Sanchez will make his league debut for his new club against his old rival – in what promises to be a tantalising affair. The Chilean, in the past, has endeared himself to Arsenal fans scoring vital goals against their arch nemesis and the 29-year old will need to repeat his heroics on Wednesday night on a big occasion for Manchester United. Alexis Sanchez scored in the Gunners’ win over Spurs in November.
If he makes his league debut for United, he could become the third player to score against Spurs for different clubs in the same season (Eric Cantona in 1992/93 and Benito Carbone in 1999/00).
It is going to be a really exciting and tight contest. Going by Jose Mourinho’s strong head-to-head record against his Argentine counterpart, I cannot see him losing this one.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United