Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position has come under intense scrutiny this week following a dismal 5-0 defeat hosting Liverpool on Sunday, with each of those goals coming before Paul Pogba’s second-half sending off.
That comes off the back of a comeback win hosting Atalanta in Europe, where a pulsating display after the break couldn’t disguise how poor they’d been up until the interval.
A lack of cohesion in the Red Devil’s pressing has been highlighted in many quarters and there’s no question that they’re failing to defend as a team at present.
Although a 4-2 defeat away at Leicester just prior to those aforementioned results means they’ve now conceded 11 times in three games, this vulnerability at the back has by no means sprung out of nowhere.
Indeed, Man Utd have registered just a solitary clean sheet in 21 matches across all competitions dating back to late April. Even that came early on in the current campaign against a Wolves side that made a slow start, failing to score in four of their opening five games.
The 15 league goals Man Utd have shipped this season compares unfavourably to the three, four and six managed by genuine title contenders Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool respectively.
Raphael Varane is expected to return for this fixture to partner Harry Maguire, though there are doubts as to whether he’ll be raring to go at %100 just yet, while Maguire’s form has been questioned having only recently come back from his own brief spell on the sidelines.
Anthony Martial could also potentially return, though the Frenchman has fallen down the pecking order and it would be a surprise if he emerged in attack ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho.
Over 2.5 Goals
Solskjaer can at least avoid the Paul Pogba conundrum this weekend with the midfielder suspended, as defensive-minded veteran Nemanja Matic is potentially in line for a recall as the visitors seek to limit any further damage.
Nuno Espirito Santo is also expected to field a double pivot in midfield in the same 4-2-3-1 setup as Man Utd, and has few selection issues with only squad players Ryan Sessegnon and potentially Bryan Gil unavailable.
Although the visitors shouldn’t be quite so open this time around, such a poor record of keeping clean sheets would suggest that even a Tottenham side that have failed to set the pulses racing under the pragmatic Nuno Espirito Santo should carve out some openings.
By the same token, Tottenham have only registered a single clean sheet of their own from 11 games in all competitions, conceding at least twice in over half of these appearances.
13 of Tottenham’s 18 league games since the start of April have seen at least three goals, including five of six since September.
Defending wasn’t exactly on the cards last season as Tottenham won 6-1 at Old Trafford and Man Utd triumphed 3-1 in the reverse fixture, and neither side looks likely to limit their opponents to feed off scraps here.
OVER 2.5 GOALS