Finally, Spurs are back in action this Friday. They’ll take on Manchester United at home. This is a crucial match for quickly getting into some kind of rhythm in order to finish the season.
Spurs Face Manchester United at Home as Premier League Returns
A big boost will be having most of a full squad to choose from. This includes the return of Harry Kane. He didn’t score a goal in the friendly match against Norwich City; hopefully he can hit the ground running in the Premier League.
Spurs still have nine matches to play, and thus 27 points left to compete for. Currently sitting in eighth spot, the Lilywhites are seven points behind Chelsea in fourth place. Even the most pessimistic of Spurs fans can hold out a little hope yet.
It is a tough ask to demand our club to overturn United on the first proper day back at the office. After all, this fixture comes months of no competitive action. However, this is the scenario for all the clubs involved. Form flies out of the window. The prior 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford could be mostly forgotten too since that was all the way back in December.
The difference between a potential four-point gap and a ten-point gap with eight matches left to play does not guarantee Spurs success or failure this season. But, falling behind early on would be a mental barrier that would quickly escalate, especially as the matches come thick and fast.
In terms of United’s team news, they seem to have a full squad. Spurs are in a similar situation; Japhet Tanganga is sidelined with a stress fracture to his back. According to the Telegraph, there seems to be some hope that he can return before the end of the season. Nevertheless, Tottenham will miss this young defender.
It will be interesting to see the team-sheet come Friday evening. Hugo Lloris should start. The rest of the team will depend on how Jose Mourinho wants to set up. Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son will most likely lead the line. Steven Bergwijn should also get a look-in.
In midfield, perhaps Tanguy Ndombele will get a chance. Some of the photos of him during the Norwich friendly seemed to indicate he had been taking his fitness regime seriously over the break.
Giovani Lo Celso is a player that may be in doubt for Friday’s match. He has been spotted taking part in some form of training with the first team. In his place might instead be some combination of Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks. With this partnership, Dele could play ahead of them with a bit more licence to roam forward which Mourinho has preferred.
The defence has varied from three to four defenders. With Tanganga out, perhaps Mourinho will favour four at the back. Serge Aurier is quite likely to start at right-back. With Sissoko in front of him in midfield, perhaps their partnership can strike up again. Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez will most likely be the preferred centre-back pairing for Mourinho. Alternatively, in a back-three perhaps Eric Dier would slot into the middle.
This is going to be a match that tests the waters for the remainder of the season. The game itself will perhaps be an unknown too, since there will be five substitutions permitted. With no real atmosphere, without we the fans at the ground, the intensity of the matches could be reduced to exhibition match pace.
Hopefully, this isn’t the case. After all, Spurs have been handed a chance to reset, gather their resources in a bid to finish the season strongly. Beating United on Friday would be a big step towards leapfrogging them in the league, and starting to make a dent in Chelsea’s fourth-place position.