Manchester United welcome Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford on Saturday evening. This fixture is a crucial one in the race for fourth place, with United sitting two points ahead of Spurs.
The last meeting between the two sides came back in October when United ran out 0-3 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Excellent goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford earned United all three points in London.
United will be determined to bounce back on Saturday against Tottenham, following a hugely disappointing 4-1 defeat away to Manchester City last weekend. Despite an impressive goal from Jadon Sancho in the first half, United put in a poor performance overall, to lose against their cross-city rivals for the second time this season.
Before the trip to the Etihad Stadium, United picked up just one point against Watford at Old Trafford, on a hugely frustrating Saturday afternoon. The last win for United came almost three weeks ago, as the Red Devils beat Leeds United 2-4 at Elland Road.
Anthony Elanga got himself on the scoresheet against Leeds and scored the equaliser in the Champions League away to Atletico Madrid just days later. Elanga’s goal in Madrid has left the tie poised at 1-1, with the second leg coming up on Tuesday at Old Trafford.Embed from Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur are coming into Saturday’s game off the back of a 5-0 victory against Everton at home last Monday. Harry Kane scored two goals along the way, as Conte’s side gained some ground on teams around them.
Despite their win against Everton, Spurs were knocked out of theFA Cup by Middlesbrough last week, the same side who beat United on penalties last month. Chris Wilder’s team won 1-0 at the Riverside to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo could both return to the Manchester United squad this weekend. The strikers missed the Manchester Derby last Sunday, and their return will no doubt be a welcome one. Cavani has scored in both of his appearances against Tottenham, and Ronaldo has five goals and six assists against them in the Premier League. At this stage, it is unclear whether either player will start on Saturday.
Raphael Varane is also back in first-team training. He missed the game against Manchester City after testing positive for Covid-19. The defender resumed training this week following a negative test. However, Luke Shaw, who also missed the game last weekend due to Covid-19, has not recovered in time to face Spurs.Embed from Getty Images
Ralf Rangnick also suggested that Scott McTominay could miss this weekend’s fixture. The Scotland internationalhas a calf injury, and there is a concern that, if he plays against Spurs, he could miss Atletico Madrid’s trip to Old Trafford next week.
There was also reports this morning claiming that David de Gea will miss the game through a positive Covid-19 test, however since then it’s been suggested that it was a false positive. The actual result of the test could mean that Dean Henderson is in line for his first league appearance since United’s travelled to Molineux to play Wolves in May 2021.
Antonio Conte confirmed in his press conference ahead of the game that Ryan Sessegnon will miss their visit to Manchester on Saturday. The 21-year-old had to be substituted in the first-half against Everton on Monday, after picking up a calf injury. Sessegnon previously started Tottenham’s last six games and picked up his injury during a spell of good form. Sergio Reguilon is the most likely player to replace Sessegnon in the team.
Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga will also miss the game on Saturday. Midfielder Skipp has a groin injury, and a knee injury has kept Tanganga sidelined. Neither player has featured since a 2-0 defeat away to Chelsea in January.
Ones to Watch
Despite mixed results on the pitch for United, Jadon Sancho is a man in excellent personal form. His goal against Manchester City last weekend was exceptional. Paul Pogba found the winger in space on the left-hand side, playing an exceptional pass to pick him out. Sancho cut inside, onto his right foot, before sending a curling shot past Ederson.
Sancho has been electric in recent weeks for United. In February, he scored against Middlesbrough and Southampton, as well as picking up two assists against Leeds. Outside of that, he was a constant threat on the attack for United and caused opposition defenders a lot of problems. He was the deserved winner of United’s player of the month award for February.
Sancho could certainly give Spurs some issues on Saturday, especially if he can find space to run in behind their wing-backs and drive towards goal. Without a doubt, he is a player to keep an eye out for.Embed from Getty Images
Tottenham can count one of the world’s best strikers in the world, Harry Kane, amongst their ranks. Kane is often a huge threat, and his game has evolved in recent seasons; he has also become one of the Premier League’s most dangerous playmakers.
His performance against Manchester City a few weeks ago, a game which Spurs won 2-3, showed exactly why he can be so lethal. Despite a slow start to the season, Kane has proven himself as one of the deadliest players in the world and is someone United will need to be wary of at Old Trafford this weekend.
David de Gea;
Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane, Alex Telles;
Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Bruno Fernandes;
Anthony Elanga, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho.
A big three points on the line
United’s battle for a top-four finish continues this Saturday. Despite being two spots below United in the table, Tottenham have two games in hand over Rangnick’s team and are only two points behind. A victory for the Red Devils would increase the pressure on Spurs to win those games, which are against Brighton and Arsenal.
Every win is imperative at this stage of the season, and there is a lot of competition for fourth place. A United win on Saturday evening would go a long way in the hunt for fourth and could make a difference at the end of the season.