Manchester United host Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday with the Red Devils looking to break the curse of draws.

Manchester United, to be very honest, seem cursed; cursed with the ability to snatch draws from the jaws of victory. The Red Devils have squandered many winning opportunities to concede late into the game and end up sharing the spoils, despite being dominant in their performances.

And, it was more of the same last weekend as Everton rallied late on to a 1-1 draw after Manchester United took the lead in what was another impressive display by the Red Devils, i.e. up until the point when the opposition scored.

Tottenham, on the other hand, started the season well and at one point were the only team yet to taste defeat. But Spurs have also been at the receiving end of many draws, the exact number as their Sunday hosts, a statistic which speaks, in volumes, of both the teams’ inability to register victories on a more regular basis.

The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture and all the news revolving around the Old Trafford game.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester United

The English defensive duo of Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling are set to continue their run on the sidelines with some time remaining for them to make their comeback from the respective injuries suffered. Juan Mata was brought off on Thursday with a potential injury and the Spaniard is set to undergo a late fitness test to see if he’s fit for the Sunday fixture.

One good news is the return of centre-back Eric Bailly, who looked to have picked up from where he left off before he suffered the unfortunate injury. The presence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the attack has added some gumption to their play, and his recent performances mean he is certainly set to be in the starting lineup for the game.

Even though United failed to register a win against Everton, the overall performance from the midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba could force Jose Mourinho to retain them in the middle of the park.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to lead the Red Devils’ attack once again with the hottest spot of contention likely to be the other wing, where Mourinho could choose to deploy Juan Mata, whose failure to be fit in time might mean a start for either of Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial.

Phil Jones is the most likely player to partner Eric Bailly in the defence while Matteo Darmian may continue as the left-back due to the absence of Luke Shaw.

Probable Lineup ( 4-3-3 ): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Darmian; Herrera, Carric, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Martial, Zlatan


Tottenham’s summer signing Vincent Janssen is still out with an ankle injury while Argentinian Erik Lamela is still in his homeland tending to his brother, who is hospitalised, and is set to miss the fixture.

Ben Davies has returned to training after remaining on the sidelines for a few matches, but there are doubts over his match fitness. Sunday’s match may come too early for the Welsh defender. Elsewhere, Toby Alderweireld came back from injury and recorded some minutes under his belt during the midweek.

The Belgian is set to be in the matchday squad for the game and may even be chosen by Mauricio Pochettino in the starting eleven as the Argentinian aims to emerge victorious at Old Trafford. The attacking duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane would be expected to provide with the ammunition on Sunday for the North Londoners.

Probable Lineup ( 4-2-3-1 ): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane

Betting Tips:

Favourable Bets:

1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.80

2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.72

Underdog Bets:

1. Full Time Result Draw @ 3.40

Key Stats:

1. 19 – Tottenham have 19 defeats at Old Trafford in the Premier League era – more than at any other ground in the league.

2. 4 – The away team in the last four fixtures between Manchester United and Tottenham have failed to score.

3. Harry Kane is yet to score against Manchester United – only one of the three teams, the other two being Watford and Cardiff City, with the latter being relegated from the Premier League.

4. Manchester United have managed to win only two of their last eight fixtures against Tottenham.

5. Tottenham are one of seven teams who have conceded 10 or more goals to Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney.


Manchester United 3 – 1 Tottenham

Manchester United need a win and the Old Trafford game may prove to be the match that jump-starts their title challenge. The Red Devils’ have been putting in impressive performances with the result, perhaps, being the only thing lacking.

Zlatan is still going about his business with aplomb and could be in the spotlight again as United host Tottenham. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Zlatan is still going about his business with aplomb and could be in the spotlight again as United host Tottenham. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

And, on Sunday, all the stars may align to hand Manchester United a win that could boost their morale and give the whole squad a lift, both on the points table and on the form table.

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