* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Lads, it’s Tottenham. Lads, it’s Manchester United. When neither team is in anything approaching good form, who exactly are the lads in this relationship?
After the opening three matches of 2021/22, these teams were first and third respectively in the early season table. But, for the six games since they are both in the bottom half, with two wins apiece.
Saturday 5.30pm – Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League
Nonetheless, there’s no question that United are in the greater slump at present. Leicester beat them 4-2 in their last away match and Liverpool treated them with so much contempt that they basically stopped playing at 5-0 up, as they couldn’t be arsed to inflict further misery upon the Old Trafford faithful.
It’s therefore perhaps surprising to see that Paddy has the visitors as the favourites to win this one, considering their recent battering. But then again, only one of the last six league meetings between these teams has ended in a home win, so there might just be something in that.
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And in fairness, United were unbeaten on the road for 30 matches in the league before they came unstuck at the King Power Stadium two weeks ago. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also has only three wins from 14 home league matches against other members of the big six, but five victories out of 12 away – with two wins and a draw from three trips to Tottenham.
But oh, they were bad last weekend. You’ll have seen the goals, the memes, the social media gloating from overjoyed Kopites all week long. It truly was a seismic result and an earth-shatteringly awful showing from United. The one thing it should guarantee though is a reaction, and if Rafael Varane is back as rumoured then their hapless defence will immediately look a bit better.
It’s also hard to make a genuine case for Spurs to win a home game against one of the top teams. They have hosted their fellow European Super League clubs six 12 times since the start of 2019/20 and while they have won five times, on the underlying numbers they only deserved the three points once.
And with United in the state they’re in, they might win again. But, if Ole sees sense and reverts to the lethal counter-attacking unit his side had been over the last couple of years, then he should be celebrating a vital victory.
These teams shared a total of 11 goals in their two meetings last season, and four of their last five clashes have paid out on over 2.5 goals. High scoring matches are fairly standard for these teams regardless of who they’re up against, as they’re ranked joint-second and fifth since the start of 2019/20 for games featuring at least four goals.
It’s certainly possible this could be a dry, dour affair. When United faced Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, that was often the outcome. But, Tottenham are without a clean sheet in their last six league games (and can’t even keep one in the Vauxhall Conference League), while United have only had one shutout all season. Even if these teams try really hard to defend there should be over 2.5 goals.
The only way United were able to get anywhere close to Liverpool last weekend was to foul them. Paul Pogba was sent off and will miss this game, and the likes of Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo could easily have joined him had Manchester’s Anthony Taylor dished out the cards he should have to United at the game held in Manchester.
While that was an extreme example, United have picked up three or more yellow cards in three of their four away league games this season and were also shown five at Tottenham on their previous visit. With Stuart Atwell, the Premier League’s second most card friendly ref, taking charge here it looks safe to assume the visitors will receive over 2.5 cards.
There will be two players in this match who’ve really been scratching around for league goals in recent weeks, yet they are the talismen of their teams (in theory). Across his last eight appearances in the Premier League, Harry Kane has had 18 shots and only has a VAR-awarded goal against a poor Newcastle side to show for them.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in a similar boat and on his longest goal drought in league football since 2017, with nothing to show for his last 15 shots. He hasn’t gone five league games without finding the net since he was first a United player and unless he wants to see Ole gone so he can be manager (and let’s not dismiss that too lightly) then Ronaldo will open the scoring here.
* An accumulator on these four best bets pays at approximately 32/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.
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Slick Saturday picks
- BEST BETS: Paddy’s ultimate guide for this weekend
- ACCA: Our sublime 13/1 four-fold for Saturday night
- TURBO TREBLE: Thommo’s 11/2 treble for Saturday’s 3pm Prem action
- THOMMO: 8/1 play leads the way in Leicester v Arsenal best bets
- BEST BETS: Thommo’s 4 Liverpool v Brighton bets include 5/1 shout
- BET BUILDER: Our mega 40/1 flutter for Leicester v Arsenal
- THOMMO: My 3 prize punts for Tottenham v Man Utd
Some more for Sunday
- THOMMO: My 3 Sunday best for Norwich v Leeds
- BEST BETS: 3 punts for Norwich v Leeds on Sunday
- BET BUILDER: 30/1 flutter for Aston Villa v West Ham
- THOMMO: 3 for glee ahead of Villa v West Ham