Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United

The headline fixture in game week two of the 2023-24 Premier League season sees Tottenham Hotspur welcome Manchester United to their North London headquarters on Saturday evening.

Ange Postecoglou’s side began their new campaign with a 2-2 draw away to London rivals Brentford last weekend, while the Red Devils scraped a controversial 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Acclimatising to life without Bayern Munich-bound Harry Kane strutting his stuff in the final third, Tottenham still adopted Postecoglou’s forward-thinking philosophy in their Premier League opener with Brentford last weekend, where a comical issue with the water supply delayed kickoff.

Once underway, Spurs drew first blood through Cristian Romero, but their unsolved defensive issues came to the fore once again as Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa turned the tie on its head for the Bees, who were missing their own talismanic striker in the suspended Ivan Toney.

However, a fine fourth from Emerson Royal saw the two capital counterparts shake hands on a point apiece on the opening weekend – a fair result between two progressive and attack-minded head coaches – and Postecoglou will soon take charge of a Premier League home game for the first time.

Sitting ninth in the fledgling rankings following their Gtech Community Stadium stalemate, Spurs triumphed in each of their first five home games of the 2022-23 Premier League season and also strung together a five-game winning sequence in front of their own fans between February and April.

Those green streaks paled into insignificance towards the end of the campaign, though, as Tottenham won just one of their final four home contests last term, but they have not failed to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League since January and will no doubt be encouraged by Wolves’ plucky display at Old Trafford.

A few lucky stars were being counted at the Theatre of Dreams on Monday evening, as Man United just about got over the line against Wolves thanks to a Raphael Varane header, but there were concerns aplenty for Erik ten Hag as Gary O’Neil’s side launched a wave of unexpected attacks.

Andre Onana earned his keep for the most part, but the Cameroonian shot-stopper survived a heart-in-mouth moment in the dying embers, as neither Simon Hooper nor VAR official Michael Salisbury deemed his collision with Sasa Kalajdzic inside the box to be penalty-worthy.

Wolves boss O’Neil subsequently claimed that he had received an apology from PGMOL chief Jonathan Moss – another beg-pardon to add to the list – and all officials involved have curiously been dropped for this weekend’s fixtures; not that the Old Trafford faithful will care.

The seventh-placed Red Devils have now prevailed in each of their last five Premier League contests on the bounce, although they ended the 2022-23 season with just three wins from their final 10 games on rival territory – a run which includes a 2-2 stalemate with Ryan Mason’s Tottenham.

Ten Hag’s side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with the Lilywhites that day, but Man United now travel to North London having avoided defeat in each of their last five matches with Tottenham, whose most recent success in this fixture was their astounding 6-1 Old Trafford triumph in October 2020.

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
D

Manchester United Premier League form:
W

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Manchester United
While another new center-back would not go amiss in North London, the early attacking indications for Tottenham under Postecoglou are promising, and James Maddison, in particular, ought to have been licking his lips while watching Wolves create chance after chance on Monday night.

Not one of Man United’s attackers did themselves justice on the opening match week either, and while the permeable Spurs backline is still unlikely to emerge unscathed, we have faith in Postecoglou to mastermind a noteworthy win in his first Premier League home contest.

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