Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United | Premier League | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | KO 17:30 | Sky Sports
Following their embarrassing, humiliating, spineless 5-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Liverpool last weekend, Manchester United have the chance to bounce back against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday evening, knowing a strong showing is essential if the season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s career as United manager, is to get back on track.
The game away in London comes before The Reds face Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League and Manchester City in the Premier League; the reaction of the players and staff to the Liverpool defeat must be a good one.
How do Manchester United look?
In short, they look shambolic.
You can make a strong argument that the entire team needs changing after the Liverpool result (perhaps baring David de Gea who has been decent this season) and there will be real intrigue as to whether Solskjaer opts to do that, or chooses to keep his ‘trusted’ players in the eleven.Embed from Getty Images
Defensively, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have been shadows of the players they were last season and in the Euros and were arguably both at fault for all of Liverpool’s goals, whilst Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s positional awareness has been nonexistent for a while now.
Victor Lindelöf, Alex Telles and Diogo Dalot would be the most likely to replace the trio in the line-up, however the manager is unlikely to drop any of them, as they are too comfortable in the squad, and the competition for their places is not high enough.
The fourth member of United’s ‘best’ defence is Raphael Varane, who has travelled with the squad, and will be expected to make the starting eleven to face Spurs.
In midfield, Solskjaer has come under constant criticism for his insistence on playing Scott McTominay and Fred, ‘McFred’ as it is jovially known. The duo underperformed once again last weekend, and the likes of Donny Van de Beek and Nemanja Matic must be wondering what they have to do to get a run of games in the side.Embed from Getty Images
Whilst fans cry out for the pair to be dropped, Ole sees the pair as reliable for him, and they will most likely be used as they are his safe option to go with.
Paul Pogba is suspended after Naby Keita’s theatrics got him sent off in the clash against Liverpool, so will be unavailable.
In the attacking third, United are failing to click.
Bruno Fernandes is playing too far forward, Cristiano Ronaldo does not press, although this was known when he was signed.
Jadon Sancho is yet to set the world alight and doesn’t seem to be connecting with his new teammates, whilst Mason Greenwood is playing away from his natural position.
Whether wholesale changes are in order, or whether Solskjaer persists with his usual crop of players, the standards across the board at Manchester United need to improve, and the eleven that take to the field on Saturday must know that the game against Tottenham really is all or nothing for them.
A win could be the start of an upturn in results.
Dropping points could spell further misery and all but confirm the inevitable of Solskjaer losing his job.
Opposition: TottenhamEmbed from Getty Images
The only saving grace for United this weekend is that they are facing a Tottenham team that are just as out of form as The Reds but are still being considered one of the big six in the league, meaning a win for the away side may appear to be an impressive result.
Former hitman Harry Kane has been out of sorts all season, after failing to force through a transfer to Manchester City, and this has been passed all the way through the team.
They lost 1-0 to David Moyes’ West Ham United last time out in the league, and have a goal difference of -4, despite being one point ahead of this weekend’s opposition (although that is no mean feat), so are a side that most top teams would easily beat.
The biggest threat to United will be Heung-min Son, whose pace and attacking directness will cause no end of trouble for Wan-Bissaka, should the Englishman play, as the hosts look to inflict counter-attacking damage on United.
Key StatsEmbed from Getty Images
Manchester United could be on the verge of three Premier League losses in a row, something that has not happened to the club since December 2015, when Louis Van Gaal was manager.
United’s unbeaten away run ended in their visit to Leicester City earlier this month, and they will be desperate to regain some kind of form in their next trip away from Old Trafford.
The Reds have not won a Premier League match since 19th September, where they luckily scraped past West Ham United 2-1, thanks to a last-minute De Gea penalty save.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Manchester United.