Returning Players in the Spotlight as Spurs Host Man United

Last updated: June 19, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

. .

Kick-off: Friday, 20:15
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: WWLLD
Away Form: DWWDW
Last Meeting: Man United 2 – 1 Spurs
Competition: EPL

European qualification takes centre stage once more as two of the big six and potential top-four finishers face-off. Jose Mourinho will have a chance to avenge the 2 – 1 defeat against his former side back in December. The enforced break has been kind to both sides with key players returning; this game could be the perfect start to a weekend of football.

The minimum goal for both sides is to finish at least fifth, if not forth. A fifth-placed finish would as things stand grant Champions League football, pending a Manchester City appeal. That decision will be made next month, but neither club is likely to be confident that City will not win a reprieve.

The situation at Spurs was miserable at Tottenham before the break with Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko, Steven Bergwijin, and Harry Kane out. Under their not so new manager, they have won just eight of the 17 they have played. The injuries meant that they were unbalanced and were forced to pin all their hopes on Lucas Moura and Delle Alli, who despite impressing early in Mourinho’s tenure, have both been far from their best in the later games.

Tottenham rode their luck in February with wins against Manchester City (a 2-0 win despite having three shots on goal compared to City’s 19) and Southampton (coming from 2-1 down to claim an 87-minute penalty to win). This luck would run out, and Spurs went on a barren spell, a six-game streak in which they were knocked out of the Champions League by Leipzig, out of the FA Cup at the hands of Norwich on penalties, and drifted far from the European qualification places.

Tottenham’s next nine games are quite favourable and are against some of the lower sides except for the London derby against Arsenal and the fixture against Leicester City; both matches are at home. They have a great chance to make the cut if they can put a run together. Mourinho had an extra week to work with his squad, acting like the pre-season he has never had with his new side. Three continuous weeks of pre-season, albeit in the most unusual conditions.

Spurs have really struggled without the Three Lions captain. Three wins, three losses in the eight Premier League matches, drawing twice against Watford and Burnley (teams he has eight goals in nine appearances against).

Manchester United seems to know their way to deal with the London outfit winning the last two matches. They will have been studying their previous win in preparation for the game with the high press not giving the opposition a chance to play and a quick counter-attack their new style of play.

Solskjaer will be emboldened by the 11-game unbeaten run they are on that has seen them move slowly but surely to fifth which could be the final Champions League European qualification spot. The magnitude of this fixture to the shape of European qualification cannot be understated as a win from his side puts them level on points with Chelsea and much closer to qualifying for the Champions League. Although unlike Tottenham the league is not all or nothing for United, they are still in the Europa League, which brings a Champions League spot for the winners.

Despite being on a decent run before the break, the recent suspension of the Premier League was a blessing in disguise for Man United with Paul Pogba and Rashford recovering and ready to feature. Pogba has not played since September after undergoing ankle surgery while the new people’s champion Rashford, was shaking off a back problem. Neither of the two would have featured if the League had not stopped. The World Cup winner will now have a chance to pair up with the new Old Trafford sensation Bruno Fernandes in what fans will hope will be the start of a great partnership that could bring back the glory days at Old Trafford. Although recent rumours suggest a place on the bench is likely for the Frenchman as Ole is reluctant to change a winning side.

Marcus Rashford was the match-winner in United’s last two victories against Spurs. He has been a revelation reaching the peak of his career with 14 goals so far this season with nine matches to go; he only managed 10 in the entirety of last season. He is hungry, unlike the 1.3 million children who will now have food vouchers throughout the summer due to the heroic campaigning of the 22-year-old during the lockdown. The youngster also raised over £20m for a charity which provides free food to children.

Manchester United will be aiming to record consecutive away Premier League wins at Spurs for the first time since a run of six straight wins from 2001 to 2007. Spurs can beat both the Manchester United clubs at their home stadium for the first time since their heroics in the 2016-17 season. This promises to be an entertaining encounter against two attacking sides with plenty of individual brilliance in the teams.

Team News

Kane, Son, Sissoko, Bergwijin are all available for selection and would not have featured if the league had not halted.

Dele Alli is suspended for the game after a post on the Coronavirus back in February.

The recent suspension of the Premier League was a blessing in disguise for Man United with Paul Pogba and Rashford recovering and ready to feature.

Solsjaer’s are on an 11-game unbeaten run and three consecutive wins in all competition.

Expected Line-Ups:

Spurs (4–3-1): Lloris, Aurier, Alderwierld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Ndombele, Lo Celso,Bergwijn, Son, Kane
Subs: Gazzaniga, Vertonghen, Moura, Gedson, Skipp, Sissoko, Foyth
Injured: Tangatanga
Not available: Alli
Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindeloef, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Fernandes, James, Rashford, Martial
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Fred, Rojo, Mata, Greenwood, Lingard, Chong, Pogba, Bailly, Dalot, McTominay
Doubtful: Jones
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Spurs This Season United This Season
8th League Position 5th
11 (3) Wins (away) 12 (4)
5 – 0 v Burnley Biggest Win 4 – 0 v Chelsea
8 (6) Draws (away) 9 (4)
0 – 3 v Brighton Biggest Defeat 0 – 2 v West Ham
Kane (11) Top Goal Scorer Rashford (14)
Y63, R3 Discipline Y56, R0
6 Failures to Score 8
14% Clean Sheets 28%
69% Both Teams to Score Games 48%
66% Over 2.5 Goals 38%
34% Under 2.5 Goals 62%
  • Spurs and Man United have played 55 games; The Red Devils have been dominant with 35 wins. Spurs have nine wins with nine draws between them.
  • Man United has won the last two encounters in this fixture with Marcus Rashford scoring all of the three goals for his side.
  • The Pogba and Fernandes collaboration in midfield will be up against the Son and Kane attacking duo as the greatest battle on the day with both sides having defensive frailties.
  • The hosts have scored an average of 1.62 goals per game compared to United’s 1.52 goal average.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
04/12/2019 EPL Man United 2 – 1 Spurs Rashford 6’
13/01/2019 EPL Spurs 0 – 1 Man United Rashford 44’
27/08/2018 EPL Man United 0 – 3 Spurs Kane 50′
31/01/2018 EPL Spurs 2 – 0 Man United Eriksen 1’
28/10/2017 EPL Man United 1 – 0 Spurs Martial 81’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

The stats don’t point to a high scoring game which seems surprising when we are talking about players such as Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Sir Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Both teams are just above the 1.5 goals per game mark. This stat, however, is clouded by the fact of long-term injuries to key players during these games for both teams.

The game is likely to be about the returning players who have benefitted from the suspension of play, and it seems incomprehensible that we won’t be talking about Kane, Son, Pogba or Rashford at 10 pm on Friday.

All things considered, we feel the momentum is still with the travelling team. United’s wins at Chelsea and Manchester City prove a togetherness and a new mental strength that was lacking at the beginning of the season. We think they will claim a narrow victory.

2-1 seems the most likely outcome, and this is available at 17/2 at William Hill. Marcus Rashford (MBE) could put the icing on a spectacular week; he’s available at 5/1 to score the first goal (Top Price Guaranteed promotion).