On Saturday lunchtime Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford in a battle between two in-form clubs, sitting 2nd and 3rd in the league respectively. Spurs enter the game after a shock defeat to West Ham on Wednesday night in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup; a trophy the Lilywhites last won in 2008. Home side, Manchester United, had better luck in the mid-week cup game, after easily beating Swansea 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium. However, their form in the league dropped last weekend, after suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat to recently promoted side Huddersfield. This differs to Spurs’ league form who are undefeated in their last 7 after last beating Liverpool 4-1. Despite the Red Devils dip in League form, both sides are still flying high, with 20 points a piece, suffering one defeat each in the league all season. So the clash on Saturday brings a great chance for Tottenham to make their mark in the league, and it holds to be a cracking game.
Manchester United lead the head to head battle between the sides winning 88 of their meetings with Spurs who have won 50. However, 48 of their competitive meetings have resulted in a draw. However, these historical statistics will mean nothing on the day and it’s a game that is all to play for by two bright, in-form clubs.
Manager Pochettino is also excited for the clash against The Red Devils but hopes the team can react and bounce back from the mid-week League Cup defeat despite the challenge opposition they face.
‘We are thinking (about the tactics) because today is the second day after the West Ham game. We don’t need to prove to ourselves that we are Tottenham. We are a team that wants to compete, we are showing that we are competing. The most important thing is that the ideas what we want to move and go, then is about winning games and try to be at the top of every competition.’
Pochettino spoke of how he believes the opposition could set up.
‘It is so difficult to guess what is going to happen. When they played Liverpool at Anfield, it is completely different to playing at Old Trafford against Tottenham. I don’t know, I cannot guess because it is very difficult to guess. But, of course Manchester United is a great team, a great squad. It’s always difficult to play in Old Trafford.’
He also expresses how he has a good relationship with Manchester United boss Jose despite his irritation about Mourinho’ chats with Eric Dier.
‘My relationship with (Mourinho) is very good. That only describes one small situation that is not for putting in headlines of newspapers. You can read in my book too how he is for me one of the best managers in the world and that I admire the most’.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho reflects on how he believes his side is ready and strong enough to beat Tottenham.
‘I think we are fine, I think we are strong and I think we are ready. At home, we are a confident team. We trust our game, the results have been positive and we will try to be the same tomorrow.’
However, the Red Devils boss insists the game won’t be easy and it could be a very physical meeting but shuts down the idea that Manchester United have had an extra days rest.
‘They are a young and fit side, especially physically, and I think they will be a very strong team. I don’t think (there) is fear factor, I don’t think anyone is afraid to come and play us at Old Trafford.
‘I hope every time I have one day less than the opponent you do the same question but I don’t think it makes an impact because my feeling is the majority of the players who played that match (against West Ham) are not going to play tomorrow.’
The team news coming into today’s game is not the best news for the away side Tottenham Hotspur after Victor Wanyama is still in rehabilitation for his sustained knee injury and has an appointment with a specialist next week while Mousa Dembele remains a huge doubt despite returning to training this week. However, Long term absente Erik Lamela is getting closer to return to the matchday squad after a year out due to a hip injury.
‘Maybe he surprises us today or maybe next week. We feel it’s so close. He only needs that click in his mind.’ says Pochettino on Lamela.
Nevertheless, the biggest concern and upset for Spurs is that their main man in form, Harry Kane, is a out after a minor strain in his left hamstring sustained in the match of their 4-1 victory against Liverpool a week ago. He missed the game midweek in hope he’d be fit for tomorrow’s game but Spurs boss has reveal how they can’t take the risk.
‘We can’t take a risk for tomorrow (playing Harry Kane), we’ll see after Wednesday. But, tomorrow it’s impossible. It’s a minor injury, very small. We’ll see about Real Madrid, we can fix in a few days maybe. It’s lucky it’s not a big problem’.
‘(But) I think last season in the period Kane was injured you can see the stats, win or lose with Harry, win or lose without Harry. Like always, we believe in the collective, in the squad. You must trust all the players, all the squad.’
On the brighter side Spurs have not lost a league game when Harry Kane hasn’t played in over three years. Including last season where they played 8 games without him, winning 5 and drawing 3.
Several changes are expected to also be made by Mauricio Pochettino from the midweek cup defeat as many players were rested by the Spurs boss. But, he express the flexibility of his squad.
‘We need to wait until tomorrow to decide a formation. It’s not a problem because we can use one or another. Man United played one day before us. They have an advantage of one day’s extra rest and time to prepare, and we’re on the limit.’
‘The players have the capacity to adapt to one or another shape, but first of all we need to assess everyone and make a decision to be competitive.’
As for the home side it is more of a brighter situation on the injury side as The Red Devils boss, Mourinho, confirmed that Phil Jones is declared fit and available for the game after recovering from a knock last weekend. There is no other fresh injury news in the home camp apart from Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini seem to be expected to remain on the side-lines.
‘Jones was on the bench the other day and is okay. We have no Zlatan Ibrahimovic, no Paul Pogba, no Marouane Fellaini, no Marcos Rojo, (and) no Michael Carrick.’
Ahead of the game tomorrow, Manchester United’ left back Luke Shaw, who has only played 48 minutes of football this season, has expressed his desire to play under current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino again.
‘I think with Southampton he achieved the impossible. I do hope that I can play for him again one day. I think he really wants me to play under him again. Mauricio used to call me his son, that is how good our relationship was.’
‘When I was with Mauricio Pochettino it was only ever up, up, up. He made me feel that I was the best.’
Current Manchester United and Spanish international midfielder Ander Herrera, has also had his say on the opposition this weekend. He believes the game is not going to easy against top side Tottenham and stressed the importance of the fans.
‘We are playing against a top team like Tottenham. There are good feelings and let’s move forward, let’s try to win against Tottenham, because it’s not going to be easy. We need to win.
‘Our fans have to realise that we need them. We need them to beat those top teams, they always help us. We want to finish fighting for every title and the only way we can do that is with everyone being together as a team, a club and fans, so we need them.
Tottenham centre back has also had his say on the match tomorrow and believes the players have to be confident going to a place like Old Trafford.
‘We have to be confident. We’re in a good moment, even though unfortunately we lost against West Ham. It will be difficult. They are at home and will look to attack but they will also be happy to wait for any mistakes from us. I’m expecting a great game at a very high level. We’re confident and we’ll give everything and that how we’ll approach it.’
He also reflects on how he feels facing his friend and Belgium team-mate Romelu Lukaku.
‘He’s in a very good period. With Romelu, any mistake from us and it’s a goal. But, with United it’s not just about Romelu, they have a number of very good players. It’s a big, big game.’
The Spurs fans have also been having their say about Saturday’s game and most are hoping for a reaction but some are doubtful due to Manchester United’ mentality in comparison to the Lilywhites.
@lad_coys – ‘2-1 Spurs. I have a good feeling, we’ll definitely concede but Poch will go all out following (the West Ham game). United will make it difficult thou.’
@antaoneandonly – ‘We will bounce back with a 2-0 victory, Kane and Dele net it in!’
@gloryglorythfc1 – ‘Very tough game for Spurs. United haven’t conceded at home yet this season. Spurs have top defence as well. One goal may decide it.’
@Georgiou_Andrew – Tough game tomorrow but if Kane is playing hoping for a 2-1 Spurs win. Kane and Alli.’
@Harrythfcgeorge – ‘Hard to break down, will achieve nothing before 70 minutes, then we will score 2 -1, we will be complacent and concede in stoppage time. 2-1 Spurs!’
@collo1989 – ‘Same as always, nothing up top, a 1-0 finish with an offside goal.’
@OttawayJacob – ‘5-3 Spurs, Sissoko hat-trick, a banger from Aurier and a tap in from Harry (Kane), countered by a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick!
@ProdigyEdwards – ‘I think Spurs may be feeling a little off after (West Ham defeat) and United will be wanting to come back stronger after the loss against Huddersfield. So they will fight for it, but we will want to put the (West Ham) game behind us and gain confidence back before Real Madrid, it could go either way and it’s hard to predict.’
@MullKeith – ‘It will be hard (if we) are without Harry. Draw at best, if he is fit I think we can take it’.
@SanderStoltz – ‘(In comparison to the West Ham game) Remember this game Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Jan, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen and Kane will be back! (I think) 2-0 Spurs, Kane and Dele!’
@s14gall – ‘2-1 Spurs. Our resolute defence will come out on top. Winks to continue to impress. Another Kane brace. COYS!’
@tweetmicka – ‘3-1 to Manchester United, Kane won’t play because of a possible hamstring issue. Llorente can’t play up front on his own my weekend ruined!’
@rickyboyg – ‘Gonna be a tough game away against Man United. But, we will start quickly and score but I think they will score too. A tight game. 1-1.’
@Whitlad1 – ‘Sorry but I see a 0-0 when Jose will park the bus’.
@Beancatsgaming – ‘Spurs 2, Man United 1 with Kane and Eriksen to score!’
@lorcan_murray – ‘Should be an interesting game depending on whether Jose parks the bus or not. United will be up for it as will we. Hopefully, Wednesday nights result to West Ham won’t have shattered the confidence. Need Harry to be fit. I’m going for 2-1 Spurs and a memorable win! COYS.’
@BioNeonHero – ‘2-2, with Kane and Son (scoring), United to have more ball possession’.
@wayne23evans – ‘2-1 to Spurs. Kane penalty and Eriksen. Need to be at our best in defence. COYS.’
@Macaully_Moffat – ‘Need a reaction on Saturday. Wednesday night, we threw it away, cannot afford to be complacent against a top United side. If we can get a result it will be massive. Not only for confidence but it also shows that we can compete with the big clubs. Heart says 2-1 Spurs but head says 2-2!’
@PaxtonNorth – ‘I’d take a point now. 1-1.
@Londonmazza – Jose will sort out his tactics spot on and they will regretfully be too good for us, especially without Harry. We need to be on top form!’
Our oppositions fans have also, had their say on the game and believe it will be a tight game.
@iconiclukaku – ‘2-1 Spurs, probably’.
@LukeMUFC20 – ‘2-1 United, Lukaku and Rashford.’
@juanmata__8 – ‘2-1 United! Lukaku and Mata!’
@TasWrites – ‘It’s going to be a crazy game that ends in 3-2 to United!’
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