It’s always strange playing on Deadline Day, and last year United managed to escape the inconvenience, but this time around they travel to Wembley to face a stuttering Tottenham in a huge clash in the race for the top four places.
Contrasting weekend FA Cup results against lowly ranked League Two sides mean a newly contracted José Mourinho comes into the clash with more confidence than Mauricio Pochettino who knows his team have work to do it they want either silverware or another high ranking Premier League finish.
Usually a game between these teams is won by the hosts but things may change in the temporary stadium on Wednesday.
Kick-off: 20:00 (GMT)
Location: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Andre Marriner
Current run: DWDWW
Top scorer: Harry Kane (21)
Most assists: Dele Alli (7)
One to watch: Heung-Min Son
What the manager said:
“Always it’s important to win. We want to challenge and fight for the top four, so it’s a game we need to win to reduce the gap to them and try to be closer to the top.”
Injures/suspensions (estimated return)
- Serge Aurier; calf (late fitness test)
- Harry Winks; ankle (day to day)
Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Hugo Lloris and Danny Rose all return to starting contention
Style of play
The way Pochettino’s men have set up over the past few season’s has made them the most consistent of all the ‘big six’.
Pressing from the front with a trio and tireless wing backs allows them to keep the tempo of the game very high thus being enjoyable to watch. Although, since the injury to Toby Alderweireld they have reverted to a 4-2-3-1 instead of a 3-4-3 which is their usual formation despite using it in the disappointing FA Cup draw.
However, they often lack the tactical nous in some matches meaning they succumb to defeats if the opposition takes advantages of their weaknesses such as infamously not coping well under pressure.
Without Harry Kane, the club would be a completely different state right now but the world class striker just keeps on scoring and is touted to break Alan Shearer’s all time Premier League goal-scoring record if he keeps fit & stays in the division for many years to come.
Other men such as Dele Alli & Heung-Min Son offer goals & assists too but aren’t quite elite players yet.
Young defender Axel Tuanzebe has left on loan to Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa in the Championship which should surely help his career given fellow United loanee Sam Johnstone is there too.
No in-comings are expected for United at the first team level but it is possible an outgoing of Matteo Darmian could be completed before the 11pm (GMT) deadline once the match should be over and Jim White is ready to speak like an auctioneer for the remainder of the window.
What the manager said:
“It is a really big game. The difference between us and Spurs is seven or eight points, but the reality is they are a top team in terms of their quality and ambitions, and a team of our level, so it is a big match”
Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)
- Eric Bailly; ankle (1 month)
- Zlatan Ibrahimović (day to day)
David De Gea is set to return in goal as his contract talks persist.
Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Ashley Young are all in-line start.
Nemanja Matić and Paul Pogba should be the midfield pairing, as the latter marks six years since playing his first Premier League game for United – making a cameo against Stoke City at Old Trafford.
Alexis Sánchez will make his Premier League debut for the club with possibly Jesse Lingard (who loves scoring at Wembley whether it be for United or England) and Anthony Martial next to him behind Romelu Lukaku.
At home, Mourinho opted to operate in a 3-4-3 to match the Lilywhites’ possible system so don’t be surprised if he does it again.
Last 5: WLWLW
Reverse fixture: 1-0
- Spurs have lost to United more times in league competition than any other club (80).
- United have won their last six visits to Wembley – scoring at least twice in each but make their 50th appearance at the stadium in both its forms.
- Spurs have the worst record in the ‘big six’ mini league with just 3 points from 5 matches.
- United have only won more games against Aston Villa (85) and Arsenal (82) in the league competition.
- Kane is one goal away from reaching 100 in the Premier League; and only Shearer himself hit his century mark against United before.
- Lingard has three Wembley goals for United in as many appearances – scoring in each of his outings.
- Sánchez scored against Spurs back in November and could become the third player to score against them twice in the same season behind Eric Cantona (1992/93) and Benito Carbone (1999/00) if he were to add another Wembley goal to his tally on Wednesday.
TV Channel (UK): BT Sport 1
Enjoy the match!