Todays Match: Tottenham vs Manchester United... Preview / Buildup / Prediction


Tottenham

Two of the Premier League's top five will face off in a midweek Wembley showdown when Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United on Wednesday night.

Eight points separate the two sides in the table after 24 games, with Spurs sitting two points outside the Champions League places and United still 12 adrift of leaders Manchester City in second.

A 1-1 draw with Southampton 10 days prior to Wednesday's meeting with Manchester United at the time looked like two more points dropped by Spurs in their quest to break back into the top four, but Liverpool's shock defeat to Swansea City a day later saw it become one point gained.


Even so, there is still work to do for Mauricio Pochettino's side as they look to breach what is now a two-point gap to Liverpool, who will welcome Spurs to Anfield for a huge crunch match on Saturday.

Indeed, Wednesday's showdown with United sparks a crucial run of fixtures for Tottenham as they take on three of their direct top-six rivals in succession in the league, finishing with the North London derby against Arsenal on February 10.

Following that is the first leg of their Champions League tie against Juventus too, so Spurs really could have done without adding another fixture to their daunting schedule in the FA Cup at the weekend.

In the end, though, Pochettino's side will have been relieved to have earned a replay against League Two club Newport County, with only a late Harry Kane equaliser preventing the Premier League side from falling to a monumental giant-killing at Rodney Parade.

A top-four finish in the Premier League will remain Tottenham's priority, but with each passing year the hunger for silverware increases and so the FA Cup - a trophy they have not won since 1991 - will still hold great importance for the fans this season.

Spurs are unbeaten in their last eight matches across all competitions - including six Premier League outings - while leaders Manchester City are the only team to have beaten Pochettino's side since the end of November.

Tottenham are also unbeaten in their last 11 Wembley outings in the Premier League and, including their final season at White Hart Lane, have lost just one of their last 31 league home games.

Despite that, Pochettino's side have the worst home record in the top six this term and will know that more dropped points against United will only crank up the pressure further ahead of their weekend visit to Liverpool.Recent Premier League form: WWWDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWDD




Manchester United

The month of January could barely have gone better for Manchester United, and they will be looking to bring it to a successful end at Wembley on Wednesday too.


The Red Devils have won all five of their matches so far in 2018 without conceding a single goal, scoring 12 times in the process to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and distance themselves from the top four's chasing pack.

Add to that the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a straight swap for the out-of-favour Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as manager Jose Mourinho signing a new deal, and the fans will be justifiably delighted with how the year has started.

The midweek trip to North London represents their biggest challenge of the year so far, though, and defeat would see fifth-placed Spurs close the gap on them to only five points, while Chelsea and Liverpool could also make up ground.

United's main focus remains on the race behind them rather than the likely futile task of trying to chase down Man City, then, with Pep Guardiola's side still a dominant 12 points clear despite United's recent form.

Indeed, City are the only team to have beaten United in their last 13 Premier League outings, and Wednesday could see Mourinho's side keep four league clean sheets on the bounce for only the second time this season.

United's record against fellow top-six teams has been mixed so far this season with two wins, two defeats and a draw, although they did win the reverse fixture against Spurs at Old Trafford in October.

The Red Devils have also won five and lost none of their last six Premier League away games, having won just two of the previous 10 before that, and could keep three successive clean sheets on the road for the first time since April.

Only Man City have amassed more away points in the top flight this season, which could prove important in a midst of a run which sees United play away from home six times in the space of seven games.Recent Premier League form: DDDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWWW



Team News

Sanchez could make his Premier League debut for United as he makes a swift return to North London following his January move from Arsenal.

The Chilean started against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup last Friday and played for 72 minutes before being withdrawn, picking up an assist to mark his first appearance in a United shirt.

Mourinho will be expected to recall a host of first-team players for this one after the likes of David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku were all rested at Huish Park.

Daley Blind, Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - the latter of whom could leave the club prior to Wednesday night's transfer deadline - remain United's only injury absentees.

Spurs are sweating over the fitness of a number of key players, with Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen only rated as 50-50 due to illness and Toby Alderweireld also a doubt as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury.

Erik Lamela, Serge Aurier, Danny Rose and Harry Winks will also face late fitness tests to determine whether they will be able to feature.

Kane is fit to lead the line once again after reaching the 30-goal mark for the season at the weekend, although his record of just one goal in seven previous appearances against Manchester United is his worst return against any club which he has faced five times or more.

Son Heung-min has helped shoulder the goalscoring burden in recent weeks, though, and he would become the first ever Spurs player to score in six consecutive home Premier League games if he nets against United.

Tottenham possible starting lineup:Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane

Man Utd possible starting lineup:De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Lingard, Matic, Pogba; Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial

Soccerembassy Prediction

We say: Tottenham 2-2Man Utd


Spurs may have had some disappointing results in the buildup to this showdown with an in-form United side, but they are still a very tough team to beat and, if Mourinho's previous tactics away to a direct rival are anything to go by, United won't exactly go all-out in search of the three points either. We're going for a score draw.

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