Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United - Predictions & Betting Odds
- Jose Mourinho takes on his former club in Tottenham’s first game back
- Spurs is an outsider for the Champions League places but has star players fit again
- United is in a stronger position and could also benefit from the return of key men
|What||Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United|
|Where||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England|
|When||Friday, 19 June 2020, 3:15 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
In some ways, Manchester United was disadvantaged by the Premier League’s inevitable pause in play in the middle of March. Momentum is a difficult thing to quantify in soccer, but it clearly belonged to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side prior to the division’s three-month hiatus. United had collected 11 points from the previous 15 on offer, a sequence which included triumphs over Chelsea and Manchester City.
On the other hand, United is arguably in a stronger position thanks to the season’s sustained stoppage. Rashford, the team’s top scorer and standout performer this term, is fit again after sustaining a back injury in January. Paul Pogba, who has missed most of this campaign with two separate foot problems, is also raring to go once more.
Tottenham have also received a double fitness boost. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, the team’s two-star attackers, were initially ruled out for the season, which was slated to end in May. Both now have the chance to play again in 2019/20, as does the midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
Spurs has plenty of work to do in its bid for a top-five finish, however. It was in wretched form before the break, collecting just one point from its final three games – a run that featured losses to Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, two of its fellow contenders for Champions League qualification. Jose Mourinho will be keen to get back to basics for the visit of his former club on Friday.
Tottenham vs Manchester United Odds
Odds taken 16 June from BetMGM
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United has an excellent record against fellow members of the big six this season. As well as being one of only two teams to take points off Liverpool, Solskjaer’s side has beaten Chelsea twice, Manchester City twice and Tottenham once.
United has kept clean sheets in three of those five matches, and Mourinho will also be keen for his side to be solid and resolute at the back. With that in mind, under 2.5 goals looks like the best bet here.
United’s Counter-Attack Among the Most Devastating in Division
The main reason that United has a good record against the Premier League’s big teams is the team’s quality on the counter-attack. The likes of Chelsea and City like to dominate possession and hold a high defensive line, which opens up space in behind for quick transitions.
With a front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James, United possesses pace in abundance. Pogba is a terrific ball-carrier in the centre of the park, and Bruno Fernandes is a dynamic rather than static attacking midfielder. Even Aaron Wan-Bissaka, United’s right-back, is adept at galloping down the flank in and out of possession.
United’s game plan on Friday will probably be similar to the approach used in the victories mentioned above. The Red Devils will be content to allow Tottenham the ball before looking to burst forward quickly when possession changes hands. Question marks remain about United’s ability to break down deep defences, but there can be no denying its capacity to cause problems on the break.
Tottenham Needs to Find Its Identity Under Mourinho
Mourinho has employed similar tactics throughout his career, particularly in recent years. The Portuguese has always been of the belief that soccer matches are decided by whichever team is stronger in transition, and he has continually told his players that the opposition is at its most vulnerable immediately after it has lost the ball.
The problem for Spurs is that Mourinho’s philosophy is markedly different to that of his predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino. Under the Argentinian, Tottenham tended to press high and take the initiative. Mourinho is more flexible than his critics would have you believe, but it is certainly true that he sees the game in a different way to Pochettino.
That is the reason why his Tottenham team have been inconsistent and unconvincing so far. There have been some high points, most notably the 2-0 defeat of Manchester City, but Spurs is a team lacking a clear identity at present.
Goals Could Be at a Premium, With Both Managers Keen to Avoid Defeat
For the reasons mentioned above, Friday’s contest could be something of a stalemate. United will want to allow Tottenham possession in order to open up space for the counter-attack. The host is therefore likely to have a higher share of the ball, yet its manager is someone who believes transitions are king.
There is plenty of attacking quality within the two sides, even if not all of Rashford, Pogba, Kane and Son are fit enough to start the match. But Solskjaer and Mourinho are both likely to prioritize avoiding defeat, partly because of the latter’s nature and partly because of United’s position in the table. This will probably be an interesting game to watch but do not expect a nine-goal thriller.
Our Pick: Take the Under option here – Tottenham and United look set to resume their seasons with a low-scoring affair.