Two of the Premier League’s form sides meet when Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United at White Hart Lane on Sunday (12:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Spurs come into the match after recording their third consecutive 2-1 victory, the latest away to Leicester on Boxing Day. They are seventh in the Premier League table, just two points shy of the top four, with 30 points from nine wins, three draws and six defeats.
Mauricio Pochettino’s (pictured) side went ahead inside the opening minute on Boxing Day, with Harry Kane finishing Nacer Chadli’s cross, but were unable to press home their advantage thereafter in an even and entertaining encounter. Leicester equalised early in the second half but Spurs emerged victorious thanks to Christian Eriksen’s clever near-post free-kick.
Eriksen and Kane have been the key players in Tottenham’s recent good run of form. Eight of club’s last 10 goals have been scored by one or the other, while Eriksen also produced the assist for Kane’s goal against Swansea. None of the club’s other attackers have been as consistent in their output, but Chadli and Erik Lamela have produced moments of quality.
While things are starting to function relatively well in the final third, Pochettino will be slightly concerned that his side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 league matches. While the partnership of Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen does look more solid than those that preceded it, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is still having to do more than his fair share of work.
Pochettino looks to have a full squad at his disposal for Sunday’s match, although it is possible that fatigue could result in some of his Boxing Day starters being rested.
Man Utd travel to North London on the back of a run of seven wins from their last eight matches that has seen them establish themselves as genuine top-four contenders. They are third, with 35 points from 10 wins, five draws and three defeats.
The latest victory came at home to Newcastle on Boxing Day. Wayne Rooney was the star turn, scoring twice to give United a comfortable lead at the break, before setting up the third for Robin van Persie with a nice lofted pass. The visitors scored a late consolation from the penalty spot but despite some other good saves from David de Gea, United were worthy victors.
Louis van Gaal fielded Rooney and Juan Mata behind Van Persie and Radamel Falcao Garcia in an attacking line-up in which the quality of his front four was sufficient to overcome the odd defensive lapse by those behind them. With Angel Di Maria still to come into the team, United possess attacking options of a potency that very few teams can match.
Man Utd began the season very slowly, winning just three of their opening 10 fixtures, but have picked up the pace significantly thereafter. The balance of the side still isn’t quite right but the atmosphere around the club seems much brighter, despite the fact that they have so far accumulated one less point than in the equivalent fixtures of last season.
Van Gaal will definitely be without Adnan Januzaj (illness), Danny Blind (knee) and Marouane Fellaini (illness) for this match, while the participation of Ander Herrera (knock), Marcos Rojo (thigh) and Luke Shaw (ankle) is highly doubtful. Angel Di Maria (pelvis) and Chris Smalling (muscle) have a solid chance of making the squad.
Spurs v Man Utd Betting Tips
These two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in last season’s equivalent fixture. Spurs triumphed 2-1 in the reverse at Old Trafford and are undefeated in the last four meetings at all venues. Five of the last eight league encounters at White Hart Lane have ended tied, with United winning the other three. Spurs’ last home victory over United came back in 2001.
Tottenham have struggled at home so far this season, with four of their six defeats coming at White Hart Lane. They have not been entirely convincing during their recent good run of form but there have been some bright spots that Pochettino will look to build on in the New Year. His team are, at least, showing a collective desire to get results.
Man Utd will attack more regularly than some of Tottenham’s previous visitors and there may well be space on the counter-attack for the home side to exploit. Van Gaal has plenty of high-quality attacking options at his disposal but his defence have looked vulnerable, with De Gea the difference between three points and one, or none, on more than one occasion.
We expect this to be an open and entertaining encounter, albeit one that is most likely to end in a draw.
- Back the draw @ best odds of 13/5 with Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook or Boylesports.
- Five of the last six league meetings between these sides have ended with three or more goals, as have nine of Tottenham’s and six of United’s last 10 league matches. Back over 2.5 goals @ best odds of 7/10 with BetVictor or Ladbrokes.