Sunday 26 August 2018

Match preview: United v Tottenham

The Premier League season is only three weeks old, but United have already entered must-win territory as Mauricio Pochettino's side arrive at Old Trafford having not won there since 2014. United are in danger of slipping behind early pacesetters Liverpool and Manchester City, and another poor result and performance here will do little to silence the doubts surrounding Jose Mourinho's future.
Despite our atrocious showing at Brighton last time out, United have reason to be confident ahead of this one. Tottenham haven't won at Old Trafford since 2014 - and only twice away from home against us in the Premier League era - whilst Mourinho will look to his and the side's impressive recent form over the league's other top five heavyweights to alleviate the mounting pressure both on himself and everyone at our club. For all their praise and plaudits, United finished four points above the north London side last term, and beat them twice by a single goal, 1-0 in the league and home and 2-1 in the cup semi final at Wembley.

The Reds have been handed a double injury boost ahead of this Monday night tie, captain Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic could both return to the side, having twice taken part in full training this week. Marouane Fellaini may start if Matic is not yet deemed fit enough, and Jesse Lingard is also expected to feature in United's 4-3-3 system. Alexis Sanchez missed the trip to the AMEX and remains a doubt with the "little issue" that ruled him out on the south coast.
Victor Wanyama is Tottenham's only absentee and Pochettino has an otherwise fully fit squad to pick from. Despite being the first team in Premier League history not to sign a single player in the summer, this talented and technically gifted Spurs team are dangerous and once more expected to provide a strong and sustained challenge at the upper echelons of the league. They've been efficient rather than exciting so far but have won both games, 2-1 at Newcastle in the opening day before a 3-1 victory over Fulham last week - a match in which star man Harry Kane finally broke his August goalscoring drought.
Jose's pre-match press conference in fact wasn't much of a press conference at all. In a move surely designed to catch the media on the hop, the boss turned up early for his weekly press briefing - so early that many missed it. In a 4 minute, 19 second exchange with reporters - much shorter than normal - he said: "I don't know 10% of what you write, so I cannot answer
"I feel we played well against Leicester and won, we played bad against Brighton and lost - against Spurs I would like to play well and win."
On his relationship with the owners and Ed Woodward, Jose added: "It is fine, no problem", in a tense stand off. Even when asked his views on the challenge posed by Tottenham, Mourinho batted away the question, "I'm not going to comment" he said.

United's home match with Spurs is the MNF fixture and kicks off at 8pm live on Sky Sports.

Form guide: United W L  Spurs W W
Match odds: United 11/5 Draw 23/10 Spurs 5/7
Referee: Craig Pawson

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