Jose Mourinho’s time at Tottenham has just started but he’s made a perfect start so far and that could spell trouble for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United at Old Trafford this evening.
It remains to be seen how Mourinho does in the long term at White Hart Lane, but three wins from three (3-2 against West Ham, 4-2 against Olympiakos in the Champions League 3-2 against Bournemouth) is an ideal start that should bright confidence back into the squad and there were promising signs from all three games too.
In all three of those wins, the power and fluency of their forward line has been evident, with West Ham blown apart for over an hour before they showed resilience to come from 2-0 down against Olympiakos and then got the better of Bournemouth in a high octane encounter.
There are tougher tests to come but plenty of good signs there, perhaps most importantly the resurgence of Dele Alli. His off-the-floor pass to help set up Lucas Moura’s goal against West Ham was a symbolic moment which he then followed up by scoring Tottenham’s first goal in their fightback against Olympiakos, and he was brilliant against Bournemouth, scoring two goals from long Toby Alderweireld passes.
His sudden resurgence appears to have charged the Spurs forward line, with Harry Kane scoring against West Ham, Lucas Moura doing the same and assisting against Olympiakos, and Son Heung-Min looking as dangerous as ever.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
19:30 Amazon Prime Video
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD*
(Maximum 10 matches, Since 2010)
JAN 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 0-0 Manchester United
AUG 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 0-3 Tottenham
APR 2018 FA CUP Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham
JAN 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 2-0 Manchester United
OCT 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 2-1 Manchester United
DEC 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham
APR 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 3-0 Manchester United
AUG 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham
MAR 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham
Manchester United, who are now 8/1 for a top-four finish with Star, are finding plenty of excitement in their games – and the goals they were missing – but not quite the results. Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Aston Villa was a disappointing result but they dominated the shots count (won 16-6) and the shots on target count (won 6-3) whilst also finishing well on top according to expected goals (were on top by 2.1-1.2). A costly late miss by Anthony Martial meant they didn’t get their due reward for their late efforts but they were improved from the previous week’s barely deserved draw against Sheffield United when three goals in seven minutes from United turned a previously one sided contest on its head.
Marcus Rashford (seven goals and four assists from 14 top-flight outings this season) is the talisman but with Anthony Martial fit again and Dan James being one of the brightest parts of United’s season, there is pace and movement to United’s attack too and the potential return of Scott McTominay from an ankle injury could be a boost to their midfield presence.
However, despite their improved attacking form the results are still below the level expected for United and Solskajer must win their next three games if they are to beat the 26 points Jose Mourinho amassed when he was sacked after 17 games in 2018-19.
One thing that will have been noticed by United is how brittle Spurs’ defence continues to be, with Serge Aurier pushing up on the left and Toby Alderweield also in a rather attacking mode, playing losing passes out to the midfield. The hosts definitely have enough pace to exploit those areas, and Mourinho will want to work quickly on the defence – Spurs have conceded six goals since he arrived.
Spurs look worthy favourites here on pure face value but it wouldn’t be a surprise if this game had plenty of goals, and the 15/4 on an away victory with both teams scoring is a tempting bet here, whilst Over 2.5 goals looked very reasonably priced at 3/4.
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