Manchester United vs Tottenham: Match preview, Probable Line-ups and Head to Head
One of the most anticipated matches of the season, and undoubtedly the biggest fixture of this matchday takes place on Monday, as Manchester United hosts Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
Both teams are in the upper spectrum of the EPL's hierarchy and would seek to strike an early blow on one of their direct rivals in the contest to finish in the top places.
Tottenham and Manchester United come into the match on the back of vastly different results in the last gameweek, with the Red Devils putting in arguably their worst display under Jose's tutelage in the 3-2 reverse to Brighton at the Amex stadium.
Tottenham, on the other hand, made hard work of it, but ultimately prevailed in a 3-1 victory over Fulham at Wembley, with Harry Kane grabbing his first ever goal in the month of August.
Amidst speculations of unrest between Mourinho and his boardroom on one side, and Jose with some key players on another, Manchester United must rise over the unspoken squabbles, and put in a dominant display against Tottenham to pick up all three points.
A failure to do so would not only hand their rivals the early initiative as they could potentially be six points ahead of the Red Devils at the end of this game week, it would also result in a severe blow to United's already fragile confidence.
Despite being the only club from last season's Champions League campaign, as well as the first Premier League team not to sign a player since the transfer window was created in 2003, Spurs still look in good shape and currently lie 5th on the standings, having picked up maximum points from their two PL matches thus far.
MANCHESTER UNITED TEAM NEWS AND PROBABLE LINEUP
Luke Shaw is the only fresh injury concern for Mourinho, with the left-back picking up a foot injury during training this week.
There is some good news for the Red Devils though, as the trio of Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez are all expected to return and play a part in the clash with Tottenham.
The Chilean international Sanchez gave a sub-par performance in the 2-1 opening day victory over Leicester, but a 'small issue' picked up in training made him miss the defeat to Brighton last week, while Matic and Valencia could make their first appearances of the season, having undergone surgery for abdominal and calf problems respectively.
New signing Diego Dalot, Ander Herrera and Sergio Romero are all still ruled out having failed to recover from their injuries.
David De Gea is unsurprisingly expected to be in goal, in the centre of defence, Jose would have a few headaches, as Lindelof and Bailly wholly failed to convince against Brighton, making numerous errors leading to direct goals. The Portuguese manager would have to decide whether to stick with the pair or give a chance to Chris Smalling, Phil Jones or the returning Marcos Rojo.
Club captain Antonio Valencia is expected to start on the right side of the defence, allowing Ashley Young to switch to his converted position of left-back. Matic would likely replace Andrea Perreira as the holding midfielder, together with Pogba and Fred.
On the attacking flanks, there should also be some selection problems, as only one of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez can start from the attacking left channel. Same with the opposite wing, as Jesse Lingard, who having integrated fully with the team after his World Cup exploits, would fancy his chances with Mata failing to convince in his appearances thus far, while Romelu Lukaku would lead the attacking threat from Mourinho's men
Probable starting XI David De Gea | Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Ashley Young | Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Fred | Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku
TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS AND PROBABLE LINEUP
As stated earlier, Tottenham did not make any additions in the transfer window, and an advantage of this is that Spurs have one of the most balanced teams in the division, with most of their players having spent the last three seasons together.
Mauricio Pocettino has no real injury concerns and would be mightily boosted with Harry Kane having got his first ever Premier League goal in August, while Toby Alderweireld seems to have settled fully into the team, after his prolonged transfer squabble over the last summer.
Hugo Lloris has been Tottenham's undisputed number one for the last five seasons, but with the World Cup winner facing charges for drink-driving and his club considering taking action against their skipper, it is unclear whether the 31-year-old would have any part to play in the match.
The pairing of Vertonghen and Alderweireld has been crucial for club and country over the last few years, and both are expected to start in the centre of defence, alongside Davidson Sanchez in a back three, with Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies flanking them as wing-backs. Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen would pull strings from the middle of the park, while their goal threats would come from the trio of Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
Probable starting XI Hugo Lloris | Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Davidson Sanchez | Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Ben Davies | Dele Alli, Lucas Moura | Harry Kane
Head to head
Manchester United and Tottenham have met a total of 189 times in all competitions throughout history, with United's rich history expectedly seeing them have the advantage, having won 90 of the fixtures, losing 51 and drawing 48.
It would be the 53rd meeting between both sides in the Premier League, and this was once of the most one-sided fixtures in the league, as United totally dominated Tottenham. However, Tottenham's recent upsurge in pedigree has reversed that trend, however, the Red Devils still hold a significant lead, winning 33 and losing just 8 of their Premier League fixtures.
A goal for Manchester United would make it 300 scored by them against Spurs, while Tottenham have gotten 243 goals.
The North London outfit would, however, be wary of their poor record at Old Trafford, having lost 21 of their 26 Premier League visits to United, including losing the last three by a 1-0 scoreline.
Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho have clashed 15 times from their time in Spain till now, with Jose winning 11 to Mauricio's 3 and one match ending in a stalemate.
With 16 goals scored in the EPL last season, Lukaku is the chief goal threat of Manchester United, and the Belgian opened his season's account with a well-taken header last week against Brighton. Lukaku is always a concern for opposing teams and can harm them either with his goalscoring or his direct running and holdup play which opens space up for his teammates for goalscoring opportunities.
If United are to get anything from a stringent Tottenham backline, Romelu Lukaku would undoubtedly have a huge role to play in that.
Harry Kane needs no introduction, as the Englishman has been one of the most lethal forwards in European football over the last four seasons.
He has scored 109 goals in the league for Tottenham and won the EPL Golden Boot in consecutive seasons in 2016 and 2017. He currently holds the record for most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year, breaking Alan Shearer's 22-year record of 36 goals set in 1995 with his 39 goal haul in 2017.
He also outscored both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo across all competitions in 2017, and his efforts have been rewarded, with the club announcing in June that Kane has signed a new contract which will see him double his former wages.
Having finally gotten a goal in August, Harry Kane would have that burden lifted off him, and would face the Red Devils with added confidence.
With a rather poor record of just 2 goals in 8 appearances against Manchester United, the 24-year-old Kane would be desperate to improve his tally against the Mancunians, and Bailly and co would be wary of the threat posed by Kane.