Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: Three key players to watch

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the tie when Tottenham and Manchester United clash on Saturday.

Gameweek 2 of the 2023/24 Premier League season has kicked off. And Saturday has a chock-a-block of action, with eye-catching matches coming up in some time. The marquee fixture on the day will witness Tottenham Hotspur welcoming Manchester United to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tottenham began the 2023/24 season with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Brentford. The Bees gave Ange Postecoglou’s men a run for their money. But they showed some positive signs, especially in the final third, with James Maddison running the show. And the hosts will be optimistic about their chances this weekend.

On the other hand, Manchester United clinched three points against Wolverhampton Wanderers. But the game threw up questions about their credentials as Premier League title contenders. And unless Erik ten Hag’s men improve drastically, the high of Monday’s win might soon disappear.

The match is thus setting up to become a mouthwatering affair, with both teams having their case of grabbing three points. So there will be players who can turn the tie on its head with their contributions. And The Hard Tackle lists three candidates who can singlehandedly influence the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Andre Onana

It is not often that these lists contain goalkeepers. But Andre Onana will have an important role to play against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, especially amid questions arising on his goalkeeping abilities.

There is no denying that the Cameroonian goalkeeper is one of the most proficient shot-stoppers with the ball at his feet. But his shot-stopping abilities have often come under scrutiny. That said, he did well to prove his naysayers wrong against Wolverhampton Wanderers, making multiple saves to help Manchester United keep a clean sheet.

However, he was in the eye of the storm when he flapped at the ball but instead clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic. Gary O’Neil lambasted the referee for not awarding his team a penalty. But the incident has split opinions, with many insisting it was not a foul.

Nonetheless, the 27-year-old remains unflappable and will be eager to let his gloves and feet do all the talking for him. And if he rises to the occasion, he will have done half the job for his team to clinch the three points at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

James Maddison

Our list continues with another summer signing, this time from Tottenham Hotspur. And we have gone ahead with James Maddison, who comes into this weekend’s clash on the back of a memorable debut against Brentford.

The English international had a hand in both goals that Tottenham scored last weekend. And his contribution earned Tottenham one point against a tricky opposition. So Maddison has laid down the marker for the other summer signings with his brilliant performance.

The 26-year-old should be the ideal foil for Son Heung-min and Richarlison. And while that did not translate into goals for either player, the future seems bright. But first, he will be eager to deliver the goods for a second successive matchday, helping Tottenham beat Manchester United and kick-start the Ange Postecoglou era. And if he runs the show, the visitors will have a long day at work on Saturday.


The other facet of the crucial midfield battle will have Casemiro, with the Brazilian international seated at the base of the Manchester United midfield. And he will look to keep James Maddison at bay, effectively nulling the creativity from Tottenham.

The experienced midfielder did not enjoy himself against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who ran rings around him at times. But that was down to a lack of support from the players around him instead of Casemiro not being up to the task.

Judging by Erik ten Hag’s pre-match press conference, he will direct Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes to put in the hard yards off the ball. If that happens, Manchester United will not be vertically challenged during transitions. And more importantly, Casemiro will be in business while looking to keep Maddison at bay. If that happens, Manchester United will likely keep another clean sheet this weekend.

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