The Theatre of Dreams plays host to what could end up being a pivotal match in the race for Champions League places.

Our betting expert is here with a comprehensive preview of Man United vs Tottenham, which kicks off at 19:30 (CAT) on Saturday.

Match context

One crisis follows another with Man United at moment, and a 4-1 defeat in the Manchester Derby did nothing to silence the critics swirling around interim manager Ralf Rangnick and his group of players. Tottenham is brimming with confidence after thumping Everton 5-0 on Monday and this looks like an ideal opportunity for the Londoners to drive a nail into United’s coffin, as far as a top-four place goes.

 Ronaldo will return

It’s unclear why exactly Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t selected against City, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be excluded again on Saturday. The 37-year-old hasn’t been immune from criticism; far from it in fact, with many onlookers blaming the Portuguese superstar for United’s dysfunctionality.

Spurs dreaming of another Old Trafford massacre

Tottenham’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2020 was one of those surreal Premier League moments that you couldn’t quite believe you were witnessing. A repeat of that scoreline is unlikely, but Antonio Conte’s men will know all about the dark clouds hanging around the Theatre of Dreams and will be intent on making it three wins from four on this patch of turf.

David De Gea has been a busy man

It’s not often that a Man United goalkeeper leads the Premier League charts with most saves made in a season, but that is the current scenario after 28 rounds. De Gea’s tally of 104 saves has arrived at a chunky average of 3.71 per game. He’s busier than he wants to be, and he may well end up being named Man United’s Player of the Season once again. Draw your own conclusions from that.

United team news

Marcus Rashford was on the bench for the Manchester Derby but he could replace Anthony Elanga on the right-hand side of the attack. Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba should both return to their customary midfield positions after operating in modified attacking roles last weekend. Diogo Dalot is likely to replace the under-fire Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back.

Likely Man United XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fernandes, Pogba; Rashford, Ronaldo, Sancho

Spurs team news

Ryan Sessegnon was forced off with an injury during Spurs’ 5-0 thrashing of Everton. If he can’t play, Sergio Reguilon will deputise. On the other flank, Matt Doherty is now ahead of Emerson Royale in the pecking order after a string of dazzling displays at right-back.

Likely Spurs XI (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Doherty, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Reguilón; Kulusevski, Kane, Son

 Key stats

  • United has lost two of the last three Old Trafford H2Hs, conceding an average of 3.33 goals per game in that sample of matches.
  • Jadon Sancho’s last three goals for Man United in all competitions have arrived within the first 25 minutes of matches.
  • 21-year-old Swede Dejan Kulusevski has two goals & three assists from his first six EPL appearances.
  • Now sixth on the EPL’s list of all-time top scorers after his brace against Everton, two more for Tottenham’s talisman Harry Kane would move him up to fifth.

 Verdict

We can’t comfortably back United to get a positive result here, especially considering Spurs’ recent record at Old Trafford. There should be goals.

Best bet: Spurs to score over 2.5 goals

Score tip: United 2-3 Spurs

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