Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday, as they gear up for a match that could potentially decide the title challengers this season.
For the first time in almost a month, Manchester United will be turning out at Old Trafford, and come into the match on the back of a comfortable 2-0 victory over Swansea City in the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup, when a Jesse Lingard brace secured United’s place in the Quarter Finals, where they’ll meet Championship side Bristol City. They had suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to minnows Huddersfield Town in the Premier League last weekend, which had dampened the spirits of the players and the fans and added to the frustration of poor performances in the two preceding matches, which included a dull draw against Liverpool and a 1-0 win over Benfica in the Champions League. This meeting will be crucial to decide which team(s) will be up for the fight with Manchester City for the League Title crown.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have had an amazing few weeks, but suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, as Bilic’s men came from behind to stun Pochettino’s men courtesy of an Andre Ayew brace. They had lost only once this season before that defeat, and their last week’s 4-1 demolition of Liverpool and draw with Real Madrid indicates how strong they are at the moment. They’ve won four league games in a row and will be full of confidence coming into this match.
In team news, Manchester United will be without Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, while there has been no news regarding the possible return of Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini. United fans will be happy to know that Phil Jones is fit and available for the game, since the defender has been superb in defence this season.
Tottenham have confirmed that star striker Harry Kane will remain sidelined with a hamstring injury, which will come as a blow to the visitors’ fans who have been hoping to see their talisman score against United for the first time ever. Eric Lamela and Victor Wanyama are expected to be unavailable for the game, but Danny Rose and Moussa Dembele could play in the league after a long time, having returned in the Carabao Cup clash in the midweek. This’ll no doubt be one of the games of the season, and it’ll be interesting to see if Mourinho continues his below-par record against the top 6 or stuns the high-flying Spurs. Both teams have superb keepers in their ranks, and are on top of the clean sheets charts, with De Gea keeping seven and Lloris keeping five clean sheets already this season. United have the joint best defensive record in the league, having conceded only four goals so far, while Spurs have the second best record with six goals conceded. Despite losing to West Ham in the EFL Cup, Tottenham are riding high on confidence, which is a key area where Mourinho’s men have been lacking lately. Still, I hope that Mourinho is able to use his magic on his team’s mental attitude, and on their day, United are simply unstoppable. My money’s on a 2-1 win for the home side. It could go either way, obviously, so please don’t rely on my prediction and consult an expert before betting on this game!!