EPL: Manchester United v Tottenham Preview

EPL-Manchester-United-Tottenham-Preview

Our English Premier League writer previews the clash between Man United and Tottenham. 


Manchester United will play host to Tottenham on Sunday at Old Trafford in the biggest match of Gameweek 15. Jose Mourinho's men come into this fixture six points behind Mauricio Pochettino's fifth-placed team, in danger of being cut adrift of the leading clubs.

Pochettino's Spurs had some good battles with Mourinho's Chelsea prior to him leaving, and similar will be expected against the Portuguese's inconsistent but exceptionally talented Red Devils team.



English Premier League | Sunday 11 December | Old Trafford | 16:15
                                                           
To Win (90 Mins)
Man United 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Tottenham 49/20

Manchester United
Jose Mourinho's men looked on course for a crucial victory after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal in the first half, but Marouane Fellaini’s clumsy challenge a minute from time gave away a penalty from which Leighton Baines equalised. Mourinho's side have dropped seven points from goals conceded in the last 10 minutes of league games this season – more than any other team in England's top flight. Watford, Stoke City and Arsenal are the other teams to have punished United late on.

The Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League, nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and a whopping 13 behind league-leaders Chelsea after just 14 games played. United seemingly have no chance of winning the Premier League, in what has been a disastrous start to life under Mourinho and a top four finish even seems unlikely now.

United have won just two of their last 11 league matches, drawing six times and losing three in the process. Four of those draws have come in their last five games and United’s failure to convert their chances is the key issue which must be addressed.

Mourinho can look at his team and claim that United are now looking more solid defensively, more organised in midfield and playing with a general sense of belief in the manager's methods. They certainly look more convincing performance-wise but they need to convert their draws into wins. United are losing touch with the clubs they should be competing with and if they fail to defeat Spurs on Sunday, there will be no way back this season.

Former Dortmund playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan will provide the skill and ability to weave through Spurs’ defence and go into striking distance. His dribbling is absolutely delightful – a real joy to watch for the fans, and a menace for the opponents.

Paul Pogba’s performances since swapping Juventus for Man United have slowly improved and Ibrahimovic has been back in the goals of late. The United duo will be crucial to United’s chances of victory on Sunday.



Tottenham
Tottenham produced their best performance of the season by recording a 5-0 win against lowly Swansea last Saturday at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen both scored twice and Heung-Min Son also struck as Spurs claimed only their second win in 11 games. They reminded themselves against Swansea what they are capable of and they’ll be looking to build on that win and boost their top-four hopes.

Spurs’ record at Old Trafford doesn’t bode well as they’ve won just two of their last 30 meetings, losing 23 times. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will certainly feel they can take maximum points off United after beating them 3-0 at White Hart Lane last season.

Toby Alderweireld is hoping to return for Sunday’s clash and there is no doubt he will strengthen the team. The Belgian centre-back is considered by many to be one of the best defenders in the league and his partnership with compatriot Jan Vertonghen, has been crucial to Spurs’ solid defensive record in the last two seasons.

The creative trio of Son, Eriksen and Dele Alli will look to run havoc and create goalscoring opportunities for each other and of course their talisman. Of Spurs’ entrusted play-makers, Eriksen will run the show in midfield with his quick-feet and fantastic dribbling skills. He can turn defence into attack in a matter of seconds and has the ability to create something out of nothing.

Since returning from injury, Kane has scored six in five matches with Chelsea being the only side he hasn't netted against. He is the club’s top scorer so far this season, with eight goals in 11 games for the club.

Verdict: Draw (24/10)
United have struggled to win matches and have drawn their last four league games at Old Trafford. Spurs have been dismal on their travels, drawing three of their past four away games. The sides are tipped to share the spoils in a tightly-contested affair. 

Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets

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