Tottenham face United in what is poised to be Solskjær’s first real test
Competition – Premier League, matchday 22.
Venue – Wembley
Referee – Mike Dean.
Timings – Sunday, 13th January, 5:30PM CET (Madrid), 5:30PM BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 12:30PM ET, 9.30AM PT (USA), 10pm IST (India)
The fixtures come hard and fast in the Premier League as we see an in-form Manchester United travel to North London to face Tottenham Hotspurs at the home of Football, Wembley.
The side from Manchester are under new, and interim management, coached by an ex-Red Devil, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The man who scored the famous injury-time winner at the Camp Nou in 1999 to lead Manchester United to their historic first Champions League trophy. Their new boss has been in charge for 5 games and boasts of a 100% win record. Under new management, United have scored 16 goals and conceded only 3. They’ve looked fresher than ever and are closer than ever to the top 4 spot.
However, their opponents are no pushovers. Mauricio Pochettino’s men come into this game sitting on 3rd. They’ve lost only once in their last 11 games in all competitions. Spurs looked slightly jaded in their Carabao Cup semi-final against bitter rivals, Chelsea, but still managed to pull off a 1-0 win.
One of their own, Harry Kane sits atop the Premier League scoring charts with 14. The Englishman has scored in his last 4 games in the league and has the chance to extend his goalscoring today.
This will be the final game for a certain Son Heung-min, who will be flying off to UAE to take part in the coveted Asian Cup. The South Korean winger has been in fine form recently and is Spurs’ second highest scorer with 8 goals.
Manchester United will be relying on the genius of their record signing, Paul Pogba to help them sail through the game. The 25-year-old has scored 4 times and has assisted thrice under the Norwegian manager. Marcus Rashford seems to have found his mojo, too, and has been key in attack. He’s scored 3 goals and has assisted once since OGS took over.
This is the first major test for the resurgent United side, and they’ll be hoping that their key men and the attacking ethos of their caretaker manager help them past Kane and Co.
Team News –
Manchester United –
Chris Smalling, Marcus Rojo, Marouane Fellaini, Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia are missing from the travelling team. A surprise was seeing Alexis Sanchez among the exclusions. The Chilean scored the winner last time United played Spurs at Wembley, but has reportedly not travelled with the team. He had picked up a knock (hamstring) against Reading and it’s possibly a case of not rushing him back into the thick of the action.
Pogba, however, who was a doubt for the fixture, has traveled with the team to London. The only youth team player included is Joe Garner.
Tottenham Hotspur –
A lot of first team players are missing for Tottenham as they’ll see midfielders Mousa Dembélé and Victor Wanyama sitting this one out, too. Jan Vertonghen is also among the exclusions who last played against FC Barcelona in mid-December. The Belgian will be out till late January.
Eric Dier is suffering from appendicitis and will miss out as well.
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Lucas Moura didn’t appear in the EFL fixture midweek due to a knee injury but is included in the provisional squad. The Brazilian will undergo an assessment before the game.
All other first-team players are fit. Also in the provisional squad are youth team players Oliver Skipp and Juan Foyth.
Predicted Lineups –
Tottenham Hotspurs(4-3-1-2): Hugo Lloris; Keiran Trippier, Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose; Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen; Dele Alli; Kane, Son.
Manchester United(4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Ashley Young, Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw; Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera; Anthony Martial, Pogba, Jesse Lingard; Rashford.
Solskjaer could become the first ever to win his first 6 consecutive top-flight games for Manchester United, but we do not see that happening. Tottenham are a dominant side at home and are in form enough to beat United. We predict a 3-2 win to Tottenham. United will give it their all, but their defensive vulnerabilities might come to the fore against a potent Spurs fab 4.
Feature Image via Scroll.in
Eriksen & Lingard image via Daily Post