Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces the toughest test of his interim reign at Manchester United so far, when his in-form side travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur.
Group EPL Wembley Stadium, Wembley, England
Key Stat: Manchester United have won all five games they have played since Jose Mourinho was sacked, scoring 16 goals and conceding three, having won just two of the previous eight.
Expert Verdict: Resurgent Manchester United travel to Wembley to face Tottenham, having been in top form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. This is the Norwegian's toughest test, however - against a Spurs side in superb goalscoring form and still very much in title contention. This could be the day Solskjaer's United honeymoon ends.
Tottenham’s injury troubles look set to ease, with Lucas Moura (knee), Jan Vertonghen (thigh) and Eric Dier (appendicitis) all in contention for the match against United. Mousa Dembele is also fit after ankle troubles, but the Belgian is finalising a move to Beijing Guoan and looks to have played is last game for Spurs. Son Heung-Min will start his final Spurs match before linking up with his South Korea team-mates at the Asian Cup, meanwhile.
Harry Kane – His penalty against Chelsea in mid-week was the England captain’s seventh goal in his last six games.
Christian Eriksen – An integral part of Spurs’ attacking line-up, one of his eight assists so far this season came in the win at Old Trafford.
Son Heung-Min – Hit a purple patch in front of goal with seven goals in Spurs’ last seven matches – he will be keen to leave for the Asian Cup on a high.
Tottenham lost their last league match at Wembley, but they have won the other seven of their last eight matches. That includes the 6-2 win at Everton and 5-0 defeat of Bournemouth either side of Christmas and, since losing 3-1 at home to Wolves despite Harry Kane’s opener, they have won three out of three, scored 11 goals and not conceded any. Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min scored in a 3-0 win at Cardiff in their last league game, before a 7-0 thrashing – including a Fernando Llorente hat-trick – of Tranmere in the FA Cup third round. Last time out, Kane’s penalty earned Spurs a narrow first-leg lead in their Carabao Cup semi-final, as they beat Chelsea 1-0.
Defenders:Serge Aurier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose
Defensive Midfielders:Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko
Attacking Midfielders:Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen
Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof look set to continue at centre-back, with Chris Smalling still a week away from fitness with a foot injury and Eric Bailly suspended after his red card in the win against Bournemouth. Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez are both expected to be fit after thigh and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Romelu Lukaku – Back in goalscoring form, with three goals in his last three appearances to prove he is finding his feet again after a difficult season so far.
Paul Pogba – Two goals each in the wins against Huddersfield and Bournemouth after being freed to play in a more advanced role.
Marcus Rashford – The England man scored in the wins against Bournemouth and Newcastle in United’s last two league games.
United have won five in a row for the first time this season – winning all five matches since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge. His reign started with a 5-1 win at Cardiff City, before Paul Pogba hit doubles in back-to-back home games – a 3-1 defeat of Huddersfield Town and a 4-1 victory at home to Bournemouth. Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford then scored in a 2-0 win away to Newcastle before Juan Mata’s penalty and Lukaku’s third in three games secured a safe 2-0 FA Cup win at home to Reading.
Goalkeeper:David de Gea
Defenders:Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw
Defensive Midfielders:Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera
Attacking Midfielders:Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard
Tottenham’s win at Old Trafford earlier this season was their 52nd in this fixture, in 190 previous matches. There have been 48 draws and United lead the way with 90 victories – the most of recent of which was at Wembley in last season’s FA Cup semi-final. Spurs won their Wembley league game against United 2-0, however, and have won four of the last seven meetings between the two teams. Earlier this season, Harry Kane opened the scoring and Lucas Moura added a double in a 3-0 away win.
Here are the results of the last five matches:
Aug 27, 2018: Manchester United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Apr 21, 2018: Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Jan 31, 2018: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester United
Oct 28, 2017: Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
May 14, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Manchester United
Is this the day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffers his first defeat as Manchester United manager? Looking at the fixtures played so far, this is undoubtedly a far tougher test than his first five matches in charge of United.
Spurs – one blip in their last home league game aside – have been in excellent form of late, winning seven of their last eight matches in all competitions and scoring plenty of goals.
Harry Kane has seven goals in six games while Son Heung-Min – who delayed his departure to the Asian Cup in order to play this game – has seven in seven.
Christian Eriksen is contributing plenty of assists from attacking midfield once again, and then Spurs have the boost of their injury worries easing too – Jan Vertonghen could return, while Eric Dier is fit again too.
For United, Solskjaer’s arrival has heralded a huge upturn in belief as well as form. Paul Pogba is looking more like a World Cup winner again after his difficult start to the season and soured relationship with Jose Mourinho, for starters.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his last three games too – though these are the games where his record still needs to improve if he is to be considered a top striker, rather than just a flat-track bully.
Spurs outplayed United at Old Trafford back in August – a result which gave an early indication of how United would struggle in their final few months under Jose Mourinho.
This is a different United side now – on a mentality and tactical level, if not personnel – but Spurs are still very much favourites.
If Kane, Son, Eriksen, Dele Alli and/or Lucas Moura can get the better of United’s defence – which has been hit by injuries – then Spurs can back up the comfortable win in the reverse fixture with another triumph.
With Manchester United in resurgent form, you can back Tottenham – who remain favourites – at some generous prices with 10Bet offering 11/10 on a Spurs win.
United have been scoring goals again of late and both teams to score has been set at 5/9 with 10Bet, while Spurs to win and BTTS is 13/5 with Betway.
You can also get 13/20 from Betway and 16/25 from 888sport on there being over 2.5 goals in the game at Wembley.
Harry Kane scored in the reverse fixture and has seven goals in his last six appearances. He is a best price of 11/10 with Ladbrokes to score at any time, while Son Heung-Min – who has seven goals in his last seven games – is 15/8 with 888sport.
Manchester United might arrive at Wembley in resurgent form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but this is their first notable test and in-form Spurs can end the Norwegian’s unbeaten start as manager.