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Spurs face Manchester United in first season-defining clash

Gian C
ANALYST
Feature
532   //    23 Aug 2018, 20:31 IST

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When Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Monday night, it will be the third of 30 games between the Premier League's now renowned "big six." With Arsenal already hosting Manchester City and visiting Chelsea in the opening weeks of the season, the league has already seen plenty of action between the sides expected to challenge at the top of the table, but this Matchday 3 clash may hold significantly more weight.

The Red Devils are reeling after a 3-2 loss away at Brighton last weekend, and will seek to rectify the multitude of issues faced by Jose Mourinho on and off the pitch when they take on Pochettino's Spurs.

Despite only having played two games so far, the Manchester United boss has already had to deal with transfer window woes and issues with a number of key players, with many pundits already predicting another third-season capitulation for the Portuguese coach.

Spurs may believe this is the ideal time for a trip to Old Trafford, a ground where they have found so little joy in the past. An early-season encounter between these two sides last campaign saw the hosts frustrate Spurs with a highly defensive approach, only to spring on the counter-attack and snatch all three points in the dying minutes of the game.

Manchester United may relish the opportunity to do so once again, putting the onus of creativity on their visitors and nipping a victory from Pochettino's expansive and aggressive side.

Both teams come into this game with a lot to prove. For Mourinho and Manchester United, this win may be necessary to paper over the cracks and settle the nerves ahead of a turbulent start to the campaign. For Spurs, a victory away against a fellow "big six" side would mark a major statement of intent, and show that the side have reached a level that they have struggled to find in previous seasons.

It may be early days in the Premier League, but the symbolic importance of this weekend's clash could make it a defining one come May.

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Gian C
ANALYST
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