There are only a few matches left to play before the break for the World Cup, with every team looking to finish on a high. Manchester United welcome Tottenham to Old Trafford in what is a huge game at the top of the table. The home side are currently trailing Spurs by seven points, although they have got a game in hand. A defeat would increase the gap to double figures and it would be difficult to see United managing to pull that back. For the visitors, they remain four points off the top of the table and know they need to maintain high standards to remain in the title race.
It has been a mixed last week for Manchester United. They managed to keep clean sheets in their last two matches across all competitions, but they have struggled for ideas in attack. They only had two shots on target against Newcastle, with their attacking play being quite predictable. Erik ten Hag will know that there must be improvements if they are to finish in the top four. With a trip to Chelsea at the weekend, it is crucial that Manchester United win on Wednesday.
Tottenham have had a strange start to the season. They are just four points off the top of the table, but their performances haven’t caught the eye as much as Arsenal or Manchester City. They are very regimented under Antonio Conte and the style of football is effective, but not the most exciting. That won’t bother supporters though, as the club are competing at the top end of the league. A win this week against another top six team would send a major statement of intent to the rest of the division. They certainly have the quality and experience to get three points from Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo has eight goals against Tottenham in the Premier League. They are the opponent he has scored most against in the competition.
Tottenham have only on 10 matches out of 60 against Manchester United in the Premier League.
During the summer, there was a focus to sign players that would quickly adapt to Ten Hag’s style of play. Two were signed from Ajax, while another was signed from the Eredivisie, in addition to Christian Eriksen. A player who was schooled at Ajax. Antony was the priority target for Ten Hag and he has quickly become a regular starter in the first team. The Brazilian has been playing on the right wing and has already scored three excellent goals in the Premier League. The first few matches have suggested that he will be one of the primary goal threats for United. At the weekend, he had both of the shots on target against Newcastle, carrying the largest threat in attack. Antony is always looking to be positive when he has possession of the ball. His ability to do unpredictable things means he could be well suited to playing against Tottenham. The visitors are well structured, but they can find it difficult to contain unorthodox players. Antony has the skill and form to have a big impact on the game.
Under Antonio Conte, Harry Kane has found his best form and he now looks capable of scoring in every match he plays. In 38 matches under the Italian, Kane has contributed 25 goals and 12 assists. It has been a remarkable period of form, following a slow start to last season. With the World Cup quickly arriving, the focus is on Kane to maintain his form and once again prove himself on the world stage. It is easy to forget that he is the current holder of the World Cup Golden Boot. He will be keen to retain that trophy and help his country to glory. The best way to do that is to continue playing well and scoring goals for Tottenham. This is a big game for the club and it presents an opportunity for Kane to play a match-winning role against a top six rival. With just five goals in 17 matches against Manchester United, Tottenham’s number ten has a point to prove on Wednesday.
Scott McTominay will be back after his suspension. Anthony Martial is a doubt for the match as he continues to recover. Marcus Rashford will be pushing for a start after dropping down to the bench at the weekend.
Richarlison will be unavailable after picking up an injury at the weekend. Dejan Kulusevski is closing in on a return, while Emerson Royal will be serving the final match of his suspension.
This is going to be the pick of the midweek fixtures. There is still a lot to learn about both teams. Tottenham will be trying to prove they can beat a top six rival and establish themselves as an outsider for the title. Meanwhile, Manchester United need to deliver better performances under Ten Hag and prove they are good enough for the top four. This will be a good barometer of where both sides are. Despite being the away side, Tottenham look to be the most likely winners.
Manchester United 0-2 Tottenham