Three Months since the season was halted due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and finally Premier League Football is back and the big fixtures come straight away and none bigger in the opening week than Tottenham who host Man Utd at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday Evening. Without doubt both clubs will be delighted to be back in action but the break came with very different consequences for both teams. Spurs were woefully out of form whilst Utd were in a fine vain of form and the break will not have been welcomed by the Old Trafford Hierachy.
It has been a strange season for Tottenham, they started with such hope and expectations, a bright young manager with a young attacking squad at his disposal having reached a Champions League Final the season before and of course this is there first full season in the fantastic new stadium. Unfortunately that hope and expectation has now been lowered and Mauricio Pochettino has left the club and Jose Mourinho took over but even with “The Special One” in charge Tottenham are still 7 points off the top 4 sitting in 8th place in The Premier League and it looks like the best they can hope for is a Europa League Place.
One Positive Mourinho can look back on about the enforced break is he will now be able to call upon both Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, both players were injured when the season was halted and neither were expected to play again this season. One player Spurs will be without is Dele Alli who misses out through suspension.
There is no doubt that Spurs are in a much stronger position than they were before the lockdown and they will be really targeting this fixture as i really believe that if they don’t get anything but a win then there Champions League hopes are 100% done. Not very often you will get Spurs as underdogs when playing at home but that is the case here and for those of you who do fancy Spurs to get the win can get an enhanced 16/1 with 888Sport (New Customers) for a Home win. Not surprisingly Harry Kane is favourite to open the scoring but I fancy a small bet on Son, the South Korean was playing superbly well before he suffered a broken arm and at 2/1 to score anytime with Unibet, that looks a decent shout.
Form – LLLDDL – (All Competitions)
Tottenham were in dreadful form before the season was halted and the break may well benefit them more than any other team in the league. They were without a win in the last 6 games before lockdown with defeats Home and Away to RB Leipzig in the Champions League and away at Chelsea and home to Wolves. They have also been held to draws by Burnley and Norwich in the FA Cup before losing on Penalties.
It is easy to forget that Man Utd made the worst start to a Premier League season they ever have early on this term and for them to still be in contention for a Champions League place is a mark of just how good a job Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has done to transfer the fortunes of the 20 times Champions of England. They have quickly risen up the table and now sit 5th and just 3 points behind Chelsea who occupy the final Champions League position.
Solksjaer has the rare luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from for the trip to North London. Both Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were expected to miss most of the remainder of the season but the break has meant that both players are available for selection and whilst it might be too soon for Pogba to start the match it looks like Rashford will take his place in on the left side of the attacking trio for Utd. The other dilemma is likely to come in central midfield with Nemaja Vidic, Scott McTominay and Fred all competing for what is likely to be 2 places if they remain with the 4-2-3-1 formation they have used in previous weeks.
The Break was an unwanted distraction for Utd but surely the confidence will remain in the squad knowing just how well they had been playing and with a fully fit squad to travel to London they look a very good shout to pick up the 3 points so I would encourage anyone to take the 14/1 at 888Sport (New Customers) on offer. He might have only been at Utd only a few short months but Bruno Fernandes made the move from Portugal look fruitless and he looks a class act and has already proven his eye for a goal. I like him to score anytime at 4/1 with William Hill
Form – WWDWWW – (All Competitions)
With Spurs struggling before the break it was anything but for Solksjaer’s men who had won 5 of the last 6 games in all competitions and were showing some real positive signs. In fact Utd are unbeaten in 11 games. There have been emphatic wins over Watford (3-0), Club Brugge (5-0), Derby (3-0), Man City (2-0) and LASK Linz (5-0) during the last 6 games and the break came at an unfortunate time for Utd
|28 Oct 2017||Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur||W||1-0||Premier League|
|31 Jan 2018||Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United||L||2-0||Premier League|
|21 Apr 2018||Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|27 Aug 2018||Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur||L||0-3||Premier League|
|13 Jan 2019||Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United||W||0-1||Premier League|
|04 Dec 2019||Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur||W||2-1||Premier League|
It really is difficult to see how exactly these opening games in the Premier League will play out. Some teams may be fitter than others, some have more to play for than others and of course as we have seen in the German Bundesliga having no home crowd seems to take away any advantage the perceived home side have. Utd were the in better form before the break and they have won 4 of the last 6 against Spurs but im going to stay away from the Match Odds for this one as there is just too many improbabilites. My selection is Over 2.5 Goals at odds of 4/5 with Ladbrokes. Both sides have attacking quality and Spurs especially have been pretty leaky defensively this season even under Mourinho.