After a day to forget at the Amex last Sunday, United take on Tottenham in the Monday Night Football at Old Trafford.
With the Red Devils coming off such a devastating defeat, a game against a buoyant Tottenham side, whose World Cup heroes are in top form, isn’t ideal for a struggling side. The sheer presence of Harry Kane up front is sure to strike fear into Eric Bailly and his central defensive partner (likely Chris Smalling after Victor Lindelof’s bad performance last week). In addition, Dele Alli looks rejuvenated on the left, and the pace of Lucas Moura is always difficult to deal with, especially for an ageing Ashley Young.
The central midfield three of Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira and Fred were often overrun against Brighton, and we could see Pereira dropped for Ander Herrera or Marouane Fellaini, although I’d like to see Juan Mata deployed in the centre, as he can link up the defence and attack with astute precision.
The front three for United is likely to change, with Anthony Martial disappointing in his 57 minutes last week and Juan Mata not being quick enough to get back and support his defender. I’d like to see both Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard deployed on the wings, although if Alexis Sanchez is declared fit then he is likely to come back into the side.
If anything really does need to change against Spurs, it’s the tactics. In both of our games we’ve looked rather lazy and unwilling to go forward, yet too often our defenders have been exposed and spaces in behind have been taken advantage of. Jose Mourinho needs to allow our extremely top heavy squad to go forward and show some attacking intent rather than inviting pressure. If we had a decent centre back pairing then we’d probably be able to get away with it, but that clearly isn’t the case, so we need our attackers to make up for our lack of defensive organisation.
I’m genuinely worried about this game, as we’ve conceded four goals this season already against rather average attacking sides, and Tottenham are one of the best in the league with the likes of Kane, Alli and Christian Eriksen. I don’t think United will lose, strictly because we seem to be more adept at sticking to a game plan than we do away. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw, with Lingard and Kane getting the goals.
Predicted Line-Up: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; Pogba, Fred, Herrera; Rashford, Lukaku, Lingard.