Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United on Saturday evening in what looks set to be an extremely exciting game. Spurs haven’t beat United at home since 2018 and new boss, Ange Postecoglou will be desperate to pick up three vital points on his first home game as Tottenham manager.
Spurs first game of the season saw them visit Brentford, which is a tough opening fixture for any club. After losing their golden boy, captain and star player, Harry Kane, the main question was whether Spurs would struggle to score and create. However, 11 minutes after the first whistle, Cristian Romero latched onto a James Maddison free kick to head home. Brentford bounced back quickly with Bryan Mbeumo converting a penalty before the Bees then took the lead through a deflected Yoane Wissa strike. Just prior to the end of an intense, high octane half, Maddison picked up his second assist of the game on his debut, poking a pass to Emerson royal who smashed the ball into the bottom left from outside the box.
The second half saw Spurs take complete control thanks to Yves Bissouma and Maddison, who showed their quality but the game ended 2-2. The ex-Leicester midfielder looked at home in a Spurs shirt, taking on responsibility and showing why he was given the captain’s armband after Heung-min Son was replaced. It is important that Postecoglou finds a way to get Maddison involved in the game on Saturday, as he was the only player who displayed any sign of creativity in the squad. Throughout the game, Spurs struggled to defend when Brentford got themselves in counter attacking positions and if they allow United similar scenarios, they will almost certainly concede multiple goals.
When a new manager arrives, it usually takes time for them to develop a clear understanding with the squad and install their philosophy. This seemed to be the case with Postecoglou and Spurs last weekend in certain aspects, in particular when defending. Although it is unfair to judge due to three out of the back five being new signings and they will take time to gel.
The Red Devils narrowly beat Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford in their opener this week, thanks to a 76th minute Raphael Varane header. Even though United picked up all three points, that’s probably the only positive that they can take from the game as Wolves were extremely unlucky to not put the ball in the back of the net. Manchester United’s, Erik ten Hag, mentioned that he wants his side to become the best transition team in the world, but that works both in the attacking and defending phase and the latter was where United struggled the most. When Matheus Cunha, Pedro Neto and later on Hwang Hee-Chan got hold of the ball, they found plenty of space to drive forward into, which lead to Wolves having 23 shots, the second highest recorded at Old Trafford for an opposition side since 2004.
Andre Onana made his competitive debut for Ten Hag’s side and his importance to the team was clear throughout the game, but especially the last 20 minutes where United had to endure waves of Wolves attacks. The Cameroonian made six saves with five of them coming from inside the box, which highlights how Wolves were able to get into plenty of goal scoring positions. At the other end of the pitch, the home side also struggled to create many chances and it took a moment of brilliance from Bruno Fernandes to unlock the Wolves backline.
Both Spurs and Manchester United struggled to defend in transition in round one, which should lead to quite an end to end game that witnesses multiple chances for each side. However, this will suit the Red Devils perfectly and they would prefer a game where they can counter attack at pace with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno, and Alejandro Garnacho.
Manchester United and Spurs will both get chances and although it is obvious, the game will be won by the side that doesn’t waste those goal scoring opportunities. United have shown defensive resilience which may give them the advantage over Spurs.
The final prediction is Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Manchester United.