Lads, it’s Tottenham. I started my preview of the reverse fixture with those three words, going on to detail Spurs’ dreadful record at Old Trafford, and what happened?
Despite Manchester United having the better of the first half, Tottenham romped home 3-0 winners and destroyed most of my tips – aside from Kane to score first – in the process.
Thanks a lot, Mauricio. Perhaps Pochettino will inflict revenge upon Spurs when that fixture comes around next season?
It would be wrong to say the two teams have flipped since that meeting in August, but their situations have certainly changed.
At United, Mourinho’s brand of dour and sour football has been shown the door, and in has strolled Andy Serkis as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Spurs, meanwhile, are still waiting to go to their new stadium, and killed off their three day old title challenge by losing their last league match at Wembley, against Wolves.
This match is the first proper test for Ole’s Red Devils. Five wins in a row looks impressive, but when the highest placed opposing team in that quintet have now lost eight of their last 11 league games, question marks will linger.
Will their resurgence continue with a win here?
Spurs enjoy their ‘home’ comforts …
Not according to Paddy, who has Spurs as the even money favourites, with United at 12/5 and the draw available at 5/2 for Sunday’s encounter (4.30pm).
Until we’ve seen Solskjaer’s side in a big game it’s hard to back anything other than the home side, as Jose’s United were so poor in their trips to face the other big clubs.
They won two, drew four and lost seven of his 13 league matches at the rest of the big six, but on the underlying stats they should’ve drawn two and lost 11. Of the two they won, which were both last season, Arsenal lost but amassed the highest expected goal tally in any big six match from the last three seasons, and City should’ve been out of sight at the break before they crumbled in the second half.
As things stand with the club’s recent away record, we have to go for a Tottenham win. And that would go with the recent history of this fixture too, as Spurs have won the last three league meetings on their patch, having drawn the three prior to that.
United may have won the FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley last season, but it would still be a surprise if they triumphed here.
Unless Ole’s a genuine miracle worker, it’s hard to see past a home win.
Both teams to score anyone …
United netted in just seven of their away league games against other big sides under Mourinho, and in only one of their last four visits to Tottenham.
But in fairness to them, the Red Devils have netted in every away league match this season, which is something only Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have also achieved.
With Spurs having conceded in six of their nine home league games this season, and their last four ‘big six’ matches at Wembley, I’ll be going for both teams to score at 1/2.
Goals galore …
I’ll also be on over 2.5 goals at 6/10.
Five of United’s last six away league games against the other big boys have featured at least three goals. In fact, they all had at least four, so consider over 3.5 goals at 8/5 if you think it’ll be a goal-fest. Solskjaer’s Red Devils have kept just one clean sheet in the league despite playing four struggling teams, so Spurs should be capable of scoring a couple here.
I’d consider a bet on Tottenham to score first too, at 8/11.
United began their ‘big six’ road trip in 2017/18 with a 0-0 at Anfield, but have conceded the first goal in six of their seven matches away from Old Trafford when facing a top side since.
First goalscorer …
And let’s be honest, it’s probably Harry Kane who will score the first goal, isn’t it? The Manchester teams might be his least favourite opponents from the top clubs – he’s scored twice against them, five against Liverpool, six versus Chelsea and eight against Arsenal – but he’s also the top scorer of opening goals in the big six mini-league since the start of 2017/18.
Paddy will give you 7/2 if you think the leader of the White Harts opens the scoring on Sunday.
But while Kane has seven goals in his last six appearances for Spurs, Son Heung-Min has seven in his last seven too. Granted, that includes goals against Tranmere for both, but United’s defending has been League Two standard for most of this season.
Son is off to the Asian Cup after this match, so will he sign off with a goal? He only has one ‘big six’ league goal this season, at Wembley in Spurs’ 3-1 win against Chelsea in November. He’s 11/10 to get on the score sheet against United.
For the visitors, Anthony Martial appears to be the player to back. Four of his eight league goals in 2018/19 have been in the top six mini-league – only Firmino, with five, has more – so he is seemingly the man for a big occasion.
The Frenchman is 2/1 to net, or 7/1 to get the opener.
Lads, it’s United. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?
*Prices correct at time of publishing