Who: Tottenham vs Manchester Sunday
When: Sunday, March 15th @ 12:30pm ET
Line: Tottenham +235 | Draw +235| Manchester United +120
Manchester United are soaring. With an emphatic derby win over Manchester City, their unbeaten streak moved up to 10 games, their best run of form all season long. So when you compare them with Tottenham Hotspur, now winless in six, the outcome seems destined to go United’s way doesn’t it?
Not if Jose Mourinho has anything to say about it. The Portuguese is already having a mini-implosion at Spurs. But revenge can often be the biggest motivator. Despite his side’s poor form, he’ll be desperate to halt his former side’s top-four charge.
He pulled out a masterclass against City. There’s no reason that can be repeated. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side must be cautious but ruthless at the same time to pound even more misery on their former manager’s side and stay alive in the Premier League top-four race.
Tottenham Hotspur Predicted XI
Lloris, Aurier, Vertonghen, Dier, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Winks, Skipp, Lo Celso, Alli, Moura
Spurs’ biggest injury worries aren’t going away prolific forward-men Harry Kane & Son Heung-Min are both ruled out indefinitely. Ben Davies & Moussa Sissoko remain on the treatment table, while new-signing Steven Bergwijn also suffered an injury against Burnley and should miss the United tie.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Fred, Fernandes, James, Martial, Ighalo
Paul Pogba COULD actually be on the bench as he’s scheduled to join first-team training this week. Marcus Rashford remains United’s only long-term injury right now. Expect a four-man defence from OGS for this one.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United Preview
A clash between two Champions League aspirants, a win for United could ultimately shatter their ex-manager’s ambitions of playing there next season. But a game away at Spurs hasn’t been easy for United since Sir Alex Ferguson retired!
It’s expected that Mourinho will park the bus and look to hit on the counter-attack. United cannot afford any complacency. They’ve finally found some consistency in the unbeaten run but that can be snapped at an instance. Ole proved his tactical prowess in the Manchester Derby but faces a completely different foe in Mourinho.
Spurs will try to rile them up, frustrate them by dropping deep & look to hit them when they least expect it. Rashford’s been the man to have won them their last two games over Spurs but he can’t make this game.
But United have their new special partnership to turn towards this time around. Anthony Martial & Bruno Fernandes have developed quite the partnership in a short period & are only getting better. Martial was often marginalized by Mourinho so he has a chance to overcome his demons.
The Frenchman must put in the dedicated effort as he did in the Manchester Derby, when he moved around like a hungry hound & showcased admirable aggression. Bruno’s also the fearless leader demanding the absolute best from those around him, as his creative wizardry should again open things up in the danger areas.
Dan James, although, needs to be better with his decision-making for his blistering forward-runs to be justified. Fred-who Jose allegedly told that his “days were numbered” a few weeks before getting the axe – has grown into the side’s unbridled engine in recent months.
Alongside the sturdy Nemanja Matic– who loves scoring against Spurs- he needs to close down Spurs’ supply & move the ball into the more influential attackers. Odion Ighalo should get his first league start against Spurs, as his physicality, hold-up play and ability to pop into promising areas inside the box should trouble the hosts.
United might have 8 clean sheets in their last 10(in all competitions) but face a unique attacking threat in Spurs forward-line. Giovanni Lo Celso possesses that Argentine swagger to slice open defences with ease. Lucas Moura is a real unpredictable customer with a real clinical edge to him. Dele Alli’s also skilful enough to cause them quite some headaches.
Harry Maguire must lead his line to shut down their supply with an iron fist, ensuring that Spurs’ attacking gets mellowed down before the fans can boost their energy levels. Considering how Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Luke Shaw keep improving, they should maintain their defensive sturdiness.
But on away games, their bane has been finishing off opportunities. Unless they can conjure up that X-factor into creating unique chances & getting threatening shots on goal, Hugo Lloris won’t be bested.
The Red Devils played with their heart & soul to grind out that win over City. They’ll need to replicate that kind of spirit and showcase strong character to outwit Mourinho’s men in order to take that step forward in solidifying their Champions League dreams.
Ugh. It’s always difficult to predict against Jose. You never know what his side will bring! At the risk of jinxing United, I’ll go with a hard-fought 2-1 win to keep up their good run of form.