MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
When: Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at 02:30 PM
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England.
Odds: Manchester United +177, Draw +210, Tottenham +157 @ BetOnline
Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur tenure began with three consecutive high-scoring wins and The Special One won't mind winning fourth in a row when he is set to face his former club Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday, 4 December 2019.
The Red Devils stay at home following a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa on Sunday, which left them ninth in the table, having won only 18 points in 14 games. They remain two points off their current opponents who are fifth.
Tottenham Hotspur had one more day to recover after their 3-2 home victory over Bournemouth on Saturday. This was their third successive match under Jose Mourinho and even though Spurs have conceded six goals in them (two goals in each), they have outscored the opposition to remain unbeaten since the 2-1 loss at Liverpool in late October.
Spurs have won their last Old Trafford visit in August 2018, when Lucas Moura netted a brace for the 3-0 win over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United. However, the Red Devils won the reverse leg 1-0 at Wembley Stadium in January this year, with Marcus Rashford scoring the winner for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.
Manchester United Betting Preview
The Red Devils threw away a lead against a newly-promoted side for the second consecutive Premier League game, third in overall, which leaves them with just two points from the last two matches against Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
Furthermore, Manchester United conceded five goals in the last two league games after spending hundreds of millions to strengthen their back line last summer. In fact, United have kept only two clean sheets in their last 11 games and both have come against Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Europa League.
With only six wins in 22 Premier League matches since becoming permanent Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may deny that their league position is a big cause for concern but just imagine, the most successful Premier League side is already 22 points behind the leaders and their rivals Liverpool after only 14 rounds.
United are eight points off fourth Chelsea and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will face Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and struggling Everton in the next three rounds. This definitely won't make life easier for Solskjaer and who knows, with the availability of Mauricio Pochettino, the Norwegian manager could be free for the upcoming festive period if Manchester United's downtrend continues in the next couple of weeks.
The last time Manchester United picked up only 18 points at the same stage of a league campaign was in 1988-89, when the Red Devils went on to finish 11th under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Of course, there are some mitigating circumstances to ease the pressure on Solskjaer – constant injury concerns and some would say a bad legacy from his predecessor Jose Mourinho, though Ole had enough time to ponder about the future.
Marcus Rashford's recent form has unquestionably been a welcome development, but United's top goalscorer continues to flit in and out of games and he needs to be far more consistent if he is to become a true legend.
Former United captain and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville could hardly believe the lack of movement from Manchester United's front line against Sheffield United and there was no dramatic change against Aston Villa last weekend as well.
With defenders Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Timothy Fosu-Mensah all injured, Solskjaer will be desperate to welcome back at least one of Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay, who can possibly contribute to the defensive midfield role on Wednesday. The duo will be given late fitness tests ahead of the clash and the presence of either, or why not both, would be a huge boost for the home side.
Whereas either veteran-skipper Ashley Young or Luke Shaw may replace Brandon Williams at left-back, Jesse Lingard could replace either Juan Mata or Andreas Pereira in midfield.
Mason Greenwood, who scored his first Premier League goal against Sheffield United, will hope to earn more first-team minutes here, although we doubt that Ole will rush him to the starting lineup in this clash.
Tottenham Hotspur Betting Preview
Jose Mourinho will return to Old Trafford for the first time since being dismissed nearly twelve months ago and the Portuguese manager will hope to extend his winning streak against his former employers.
The Special One has won his first three games in charge of the North London outfit, who have also conceded exactly two goals in each of them. Nevertheless, Spurs' attack works well and compensates for the bad defending, but how long would this strategy work in the long-term?
Moreover, that's definitely not Mourinho's style and we're quite sure that he would spend some time to improve Tottenham's defending, with ot without some of the players who'll reportedly leave the club when their contracts expire. Nevertheless, it would require some time to impose his vision and play style, so Tottenham's attackers must maintain their form in the meantime.
Moussa Sissoko and Lucas Moura are in contention for a place on the right wing, while Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Winks compete for a starting spot in central midfield.
Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm are both sidelined, as well as the left-back Ben Davies and winger Erik Lamela. However, unlike his counterpart, Mourinho has some decent options to refresh the squad and could choose between a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 with a revived Eric Dier as an anchorman.
There is another player who enjoys a resurgence of his career – Dele Alli – as the 23-years-old England midfielder has either scored or assisted in every game since Mourinho's arrival. This includes three goals in his last two matches, as Alli bagged a brace against Bournemouth in the weekend.
Jan Vertonghen should return at centre-back alongside his Belgian compatriot Toby Alderweireld, while Danny Rose could get the nod at left-back.
Son Heung-Min, who recorded two assists against the Cherries, is another player in an exceptional form as the South Korean ace has had a hand in eight goals (four goals and four assists) in his last five games for The Lilywhites since being sent off against Everton one month ago.
Harry Kane, who surprisingly failed to score in the weekend, will lead the line as always and the England captain should be a dangerous challenge for the unconvincing Manchester United defense.
Possible Starting Lineups of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United: David de Gea – Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Fred, Scott McTominay – Marcus Rashford, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James – Anthony Martial. (4-2-3-1)
Tottenham Hotspur: Paulo Gazzaniga – Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Serge Aurier – Eric Dier – Heung-min Son, Dele Alli, Harry Winks, Lucas Moura – Harry Kane. (4-1-4-1)
Manchester United have already thrown away twelve points from winning positions in the ongoing Premier League campaign and they need to suddenly improve their efforts in order to succeed.
Ole says they simply need to get a run of victories together and the rest will follow. Well, The Red Devils have not won back-to-back Premier League games since early March and they'll hardly do it this week, but if they do – this could be quite a relief for everyone at the club.
Otherwise, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be in deep, deep trouble come the end of the weekend. Besides, where is the evidence that his Manchester United side are capable of improving to a level which would get them back to the top four?
Spurs have the momentum heading into Wednesday's encounter and Jose Mourinho will be enthusiastic to prevail against his old club, which would surely push his successor closer to the sack.
Although Manchester United are unbeaten at Old Trafford since August, when they surprisingly lost 2-1 to another London side – Crystal Palace, we are not quite convinced they can turn this to a long-lasting streak and Aston Villa could've actually won if they were more clinical. And Tottenham won’t be an easier opposition, not at all.
There were three or more goals scored in each of United's last five games across all competitions, as well as there were four or more goals scored in four of Spurs' last five matches across all competitions. Hence we are backing Over 2.5 Goals once again.