Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: Preview and Prediction
Spurs will hope to pick up their first league win in the Ange Postecoglou era, after the departure of their talismanic striker Harry Kane.
United on the other hand will hope for improvements after they scraped to a narrow 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers last week under controversial circumstances.
The Lillywhites played out a 2-2 draw with Brentford in their league opener, with Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal netting for Postecoglou’s side as they salvaged a point from their trip to the Gtech Community Stadium.
Raphael Varane was the unlikely scorer at Old Trafford sparing the blushes for Erik ten Hag’s side who were lucky not to concede a late penalty after a rash challenge from Andre Onana.
Therefore there’s plenty of scope for both teams as they will be hoping for all three points in a fixture that should be thoroughly entertaining given both coaches’ willingness to play an attractive, attacking brand of football.
Spurs certainly had an impressive pre-season wherein they suffered narrow losses to West Ham United and Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy final but they also thrashed Lion City Sailors and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Postecoglou’s men began their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 defeat to the Hammers, followed by a 5-1 hammering each of Lion City and Shakhtar. The Lillywhites then put in a promising display against the Catalans but it ended in a 4-2 defeat.
Tottenham have never failed to score at their new stadium in the Premier League since the start of this year and thus they will hope to pounce on United’s lacklustre display last week.
On the other hand, Ten Hag’s side has also had a mixed pre-season wherein the Red Devils beat Leeds United 2-0, followed by another 1-0 win over Lyon.
Arsenal then tamed them 5-3 on penalties, before Wrexham claimed a 3-1 win, followed by third and fourth defeats in a row at the hands of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. United then defeated Lens 3-1 before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Athletic Club after which they churned out the win over Wolves.
Ten Hag’s side was extremely lucky to escape with all three points after Onana clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic deep into the game and the referees didn’t award a penalty even after a VAR review. In their past five meetings against Spurs, United have remained undefeated, and they will be hoping to add to that tally.
The two Premier League clubs have met each other on 62 occasions in total, out of which Spurs have won just 10 fixtures, whereas United have claimed 39 victories, and 13 fixtures between these two teams ended all square. The last meeting between the two sides ended 2-2 in April earlier this year.
For the hosts, their first goal-scorer of the season Cristian Romero suffered a head injury against Brentford, and thus he might miss out on the fixture this Saturday.
There are other long-term absentees too, Bryan Gil (groin), Rodrigo Bentancur (knee), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Fraser Forster (back) and Alfie Whiteman (ankle) are all expected to miss the game against United. Eric Dier or Davinson Sanchez could partner with the new signing Micky van de Ven in the heart of defense.
Similarly, United too have a slight concern at the centre of defence as Lisandro Martinez seemingly picked up an ankle issue however it remains to be seen whether the injury is serious enough to sideline the Argentine for the trip to North London.
If needed, Victor Lindelof can partner Varane, whereas Rasmus Hojlund (back), Kobbie Mainoo (ankle), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Amad Diallo (knee) and Tom Heaton (calf) are all long-term absentees.
Predicted Starting XIs
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario, Emerson Royal, Davinson Sanchez, Micky van de Ven, Destiny Udogie, Yves Bissouma, Oliver Skipp, Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison; Richarlison, Heung Min Son
Manchester United (4-3-3): Andre Onana; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Antony, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford
Spurs remain defensive fragile, that’s not a fact hidden from anyone, and while United have certainly improved at the back, going forward they left a lot to be desired in their previous game.
Whether Richarlison can burden the pressure of replacing Harry Kane’s goals will be a huge factor this season. With both sides yet to find their best form, a draw is the most likely outcome.