Manchester United completed a routine victory over Swansea City in their latest match of the Carabao Cup courtesy to a brace by Jesse Lingard. It was a much-needed morale booster after a string of mediocre performances in the League as well as the European Cup. Jose Mourinho’s side now have to face a high-flying Tottenham Hotspur who have been playing some entertaining football of late.
At Old Trafford, it is going to be a clash of opposite mindsets, a battle of grit, determination and the passion to get over the crossing line after a long time. Mauricio Pochettino will face a manager who shares different philosophies, prefers different tactics and deals with situations in completely contrasting ways. This surely is going to be the clash of the season so far!
Paul Pogba has been making fans wonder about his return by posting regular videos of his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered last month. The Frenchman’s vision, passing, and creativity are missed by United, especially by Romelu Lukaku.
Marouane Fellaini has given no such updates and the manager too has refused to give any official statement regarding the duo’s comeback to first-team football.
Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, though fit, have not gained enough match fitness and their return would be delayed by a couple of weeks. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set his sights on the Arsenal clash in the first week of December as his date to wear his new 10 jersey on the ground. Eric Bailly might be back for his first start since the latest international break.
Eric Bailly will hopefully make a return as Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford’s condition will be monitored till the last minute before taking a call on them.
David de Gea will be the undoubted starter for the Red Devils. Unlike usually, he did have some nervy moments against Huddersfield and will want to avoid such moments against the Spurs. Phil Jones will be back after limping off the ground against the Terriers. His absence meant that Wagner’s side took advantage and scored two goals within seven minutes. Jones has to make sure Alli and Kane do not link up properly.
Chris Smalling has given some reliable performances this season and is a worthy backup defender. He will man the defence along with the comeback man Eric Bailly. Smalling has his task cut out against Tottenham and has to make sure he does not make the silly individual errors he keeps on making. Eric Bailly will be welcomed back and his return will serve as a huge boost for Manchester United. Bailly was reliable and strong early on the season and would look to continue from where he left before the international break.
Antonio Valencia is a quality option for the right wingback position for Jose Mourinho. His pace, agility and the tendency to make overlapping runs are noteworthy. He is a good option defensively too and sticks to the manger’s instructions for most of the time.
Matteo Darmian might get the nod ahead of Ashley Young for the left wingback place. Young was inconsistent and wayward in the last game and maybe continuous matches after a long injury layoff was the reason. Thus it is the time that Mourinho unleashes the Italian in this match as he is more than capable of doing what one expects from a good wingback.
Nemanja Matic has been solid so far and the fulcrum of the midfield. He has taken no time to settle in as the Serbian is already aware of Mourinho’s tactics. Matic can break down attacks, initiate counter-attacks and make crucial blocks, interceptions, and tackles whenever necessary. Either Ander Herrera or Daley Blind will start at the centre of the park depending on the extent of Herrera’s foot trouble. The duties will be similar, as either of them would be told to cut apart Spurs’ defence and bring in more creativity in the final third.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has put in subdued performances over the last few weeks and needs to bring his game a level up now. His passing has been scattered and the opponents have always intercepted his runs. The Armenian has the necessary strengths to success in this position and maybe some confidence boosts from the manager can help him.
Anthony Martial needs to get rid of the complacency he showed against Huddersfield. He has made a bright start to the season and should be more consistent with his performances. Romelu Lukaku might not have scored but has always tried to create opportunities and has shown the desire to score; qualities which make a forward successful at Old Trafford. Maybe, he can do better with some more service from the midfielders, eh?