Lads, it’s Tottenham. Even though Spurs have finished above United in three of the last five seasons, and have won more league points across that period, when they travel to Old Trafford: lads, it’s Tottenham.
Since Spurs beat Moyes’ boys on New Year’s Day 2014, Tottenham have travelled to Salford four times and lost each time by an aggregate score of 6-0. With Manchester United in disarray (as newspapers are legally obliged to state whenever a big team loses a game) could the White Hart Lane would-be denizens end their dismal run at the Theatre Of Dreams?
Paddy’s not sure, and neither am I. The home side are priced at 6/4 to win while Spurs are 17/10, so there’s very little in it. Perhaps the draw, which is available at 21/10, is the way to go here. The nerdy stats for last season point towards a 1-1 score line, and since Mourinho took charge – and assuming he still is on Monday – United have only been one point better than Spurs in the mini-league of matches among the big six clubs. This should be a close game.
A 1-1 draw is priced at 5/1, or a draw where both teams score is 16/5. With the latter, you’re then covered for when José thinks ‘sod it, I’m on my way out so we may as well cut loose and try attacking’ and it ends 4-4.
However, history does not suggest both teams will be celebrating a goal on Monday night. At least one of the sides has failed to score in seven of the last eight league meetings, and Spurs have only scored in two of their last eight visits to the red side of Manchester.
Then again, David de Gea appears to have had enough of bailing out United’s terrible defence, and if Harry Kane can score in August then anything’s possible. But I always back based on form, and since Mourinho took charge, no Premier League team has had fewer matches where both teams score, so my money will be on ‘no’ in this market, at evens.
It’s a very similar picture when it comes to total goals in matches too. United and Spurs have only had at least three goals in nine of their last 20 league matches against the other top clubs, which is the joint-fewest among the big six.
In José’s time in charge, the only Premier League grounds to witness fewer goals than Old Trafford have been Turf Moor and St. Mary’s. United’s home has been neither theatrical nor dreamy in the last couple of years, so I’d go for under 2.5 goals at 4/6.
For goal scorer bets, it’s hard to know where to look as both sides’ key men have got terrible records against the opposition. Harry Kane has only scored once in nine matches against United, and Lukaku has just one in 11 against Spurs. But both got off the mark for the season last week, and are unsurprisingly the top two in the goal scorer market for this match.
Kane is the favourite, and is priced at 10/3 to score first, or 10/11 to get on the score sheet at any point. Paddy will give you your money back as a free bet if he nets, so we’ll all be hoping he does. Looking at last year’s league matches between the big six, he was the joint-top scorer for either of these teams, and the only man to score the opening goal more than once.
The magic chin scored 15 league goals away from home last season, which was the most in the division, and he has missed both of his clear-cut chances so far in 2018/19. Kane is no Glenn Murray, who has two career goals against United, but he is quite good nonetheless so he might get a goal on Monday night.
Christian Eriksen looks the best value bet for Spurs, as he has gone seven league games and 16 shots without a goal. He last had a longer goal-less run in December, and scored four league goals against other top teams in 2017/18, so the 3/1 odds for him to score at some point are worth a look.
If you have a bet on the Dane, just keep your fingers crossed that Kane doesn’t steal a goal from him like he did last season.
While Lukaku is the home side’s shortest priced option – at 7/5 to score, or 4/1 to bag the opener – he only netted once against a big six side last season. He’s obviously capable of scoring here, but with only four league goals at Old Trafford in 2018, it’s hard to make a case he’s a cert.
United’s top scorers in big league games last year were Pogba, Rashford and Lingard, who all scored three times. Paddy prices Rashford as the most likely, but with one goal in his last 10 league matches and no shots yet this season, I’m not convinced this is the game where he comes good.
It will be best to wait for team news, but the 11/1 for Lingard to score the last goal could be tempting. He came off the bench at Brighton, and only five players scored more Premier League goals as a substitute than he did last season. If the game’s tight, as looks likely, then he’s the kind of player who could make a late impact. However, while it might be Tottenham, lads, I’ve got a suspicion Poch and his boys could be heading home with three points from this one.