MX23RW : Saturday, June 20 18:40:16| >> :120:11781:11781:
Jun 19, 2020 at 8.15pm UK at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Man UtdManchester United
Bergwijn (27')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Fernandes (81' pen.)

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, including team news and predicted lineups.

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United resume their Premier League campaigns on Friday following a break of more than 100 days.

The sides experienced contrasting form prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, with United going 11 games without defeat in all competitions and Spurs failing to win in six.

United are much better placed for a top-five finish ahead of the restart, sitting three places higher than Spurs in what is likely to be the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Match preview

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 8, 2020© Reuters

It is easy to forget now that United made their worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign, leading to serious doubts over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future at Old Trafford.

A corner was turned in January, though, with the Red Devils winning eight and drawing three of their 11 games since their nadir - a 2-0 home loss against Burnley.

Solskjaer's men have taken 11 points from the last 15 on offer in the Premier League, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester City last time out in the competition.

They are also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where Norwich City await in a rearranged tie, and are 5-0 up against LASK Linz in the last 16 of the Europa League.

That is in complete contrast to Tottenham, who fell to a 3-0 loss at RB Leipzig in their last match on March 10 to exit the Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min celebrates scoring their third goal with Gedson Fernandes and teammates on February 16, 2020© Reuters

Jose Mourinho's charges also lost on penalties to Norwich in last 16 of the FA Cup and lost further ground in the race for a top-five finish in the Premier League.

As well as drawing with Burnley, Spurs suffered successive losses at the hands of Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, leaving them eighth in the table, four points behind United.

Little did United know when crushing Austrian side LASK, however, that they would not kick a ball again for another 14 weeks.

While the break came at the wrong time for Solskjaer in terms of momentum, his side have arguably got stronger over the past few months thanks to the return of two key men.

Paul Pogba has overcome a niggling foot issue and Marcus Rashford - the off-field hero of lockdown - is over a back injury that was expected to see him miss the rest of 2019-20.

The same is also true of Tottenham, who can call upon the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Steven Bergwijn and Moussa Sissoko on Friday.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho pictured on March 10, 2020© Reuters

There can be no excuses for either manager, then, with near enough fully-fit squads to choose from for Project Restart.

Solskjaer and Mourinho will have to use their squads wisely, too, given the quick turnaround in fixtures between now and the end of the season.

Spurs follow up Friday's crunch clash with a London derby against West Ham United, before travelling to Sheffield United in a game that could determine their European prospects.

As for United, they also have a fixture against high-flying Sheff Utd to prepare for ahead of switching focus to their FA Cup quarter-final with Norwich.

For now, though, all eyes are on this first league game back, and Tottenham need to end a disappointing run against United having lost back-to-back encounters in the league.

Not since between September 2001 and February 2007 have the Red Devils won consecutive away meetings with Spurs, something that they can achieve with three vital points on Friday.

Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League form: WWWLLD
Tottenham Hotspur's form (all competitions): LLLLDL

Manchester United's Premier League form: LDWWDW
Manchester United's form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Team News

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring their first goal with Bruno Fernandes on March 8, 2020© Reuters

Pogba may have spent the past couple of weeks training, but he is reportedly set to start this match on the bench as Solskjaer is unwilling to risk him from the off.

That leaves Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay battling for the two holding-midfield berths, assuming Solskjaer sticks with a 4-2-3-1 that has served him well of late.

McTominay certainly did his hopes of ousting Fred no harm with his goal from the bench against Man City just before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Elsewhere, Rashford is expected to slot back into the side down the left-hand side, with Anthony Martial - on course for his best goalscoring campaign - used through the middle.

Bruno Fernandes is also a shoo-in to start, having been involved in more Premier League goals than any other United player - two goals and three assists - since his debut.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba pictured in December 2019© Reuters

Mourinho is likely to make the most of having Kane, Son, Bergwijn and Sissoko back available for selection, with that quartet in line to start Friday's huge match.

Kane has netted 11 goals this season and will be eyeing up the division's leading scorer Jamie Vardy over the final nine matches.

However, one big absentee for the hosts will be Dele Alli, who has been handed a one-match ban by the Football Association for improper conduct after posting an offensive video on social media relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mourinho has a number of central-midfield options, though, with Giovanni Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Sissoko, Harry Winks and Gedson Fernandes all pushing for inclusion.

At the back, Japhet Tanganga's absence with a back injury will likely mean Spurs reverting to a four-man defence, with Ben Davies and Serge Aurier the preferred full-back options of Mourinho when available.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Ndombele, Lo Celso; Son, Kane, Bergwijn

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Matic; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial

Head To Head

This will be United's first ever Premier League visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

United won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Old Trafford in December thanks to a couple of Rashford goals, either side of Alli's equaliser.

The most recent meeting between these sides in North London finished in a 1-0 victory for the Red Devils 17 months ago, with Rashford again proving the matchwinner that day.

Not since October 2010 have Spurs lost three in a row against United in the Premier League.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United

United are unbeaten in five Premier League games and have kept four clean sheets during that run - as many as they managed in their previous 35 top-flight outings.

Spurs, by comparison, have kept the joint fewest clean sheets in the division this term and badly struggled for wins before the shutdown.

The form book will surely go out of the window for this first game back, though, and we are backing the Lilywhites to kickstart their campaign with a battling point.


Who will win Friday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United?

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Harry Kane in action for Spurs on December 28, 2019
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