It’s a very nervy time at Old Trafford. Manchester went all guns blazing in their opening set of games, setting opponents ablaze with swashbuckling football and free flowing football. After the second international break, United parked the bus at Anfield, soaking up all the momentum they had gained over a run of straight wins in the Premier league. This was followed by an embarrassing defeat to a spirited Huddersfield side, with defensive mistakes costing both the goals. The manager got quite the stick for halting the side’s momentum by larking the bus at such a crucial stage of a good run of games.
Now, on Saturday the problems will be plentifold for United. A sizzling Spurs side visit old Trafford to spoil the day for Mourinho and his men. The North London outfit is without hit man Harry Kane for this one as the No 10 suffered a hamstring injury in their 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool. Kane’s absence dents the Spurs attack a bit, but if Mourinho decides to park the bus again, it would matter very little.
Some key battles will define the outcome of this blockbuster game on Saturday
1. Romelu Lukaku vs Spurs backline
This one is gonna be important. Romelu Lukaku has now donned a reputation of going missing in big games. With Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen lined up against him on Saturday, it doesn’t make anything easier. With Harry Kane having overtaken him in the race for the golden boot, Lukaku will be looking to carry the goal scoring duties again, with Marcus Rashford pulling the team through the time the Belgian has lied dormant. Expect a physical encounter between the trio jostling for supremacy.
2. Marcus Rashford vs Kieran Trippier
A classic fullback versus Winger battle. Marcus Rashford is a complete package of Footballing brilliance, only a fool will question that fact. For a 19 year old, the Manchester boy has shown incredible levels of maturity and composure. On Saturday, he will be going up against Kieran Trippier. The Spurs no 2 has filled in the Kyle Walker void perfectly and has been vibrant and lively going forward too. But he will have his hands full on Saturday as he will have to deal with the agile United no 19. Expect a feisty duel here.
3. The Christian Eriksen factor
The real deal of the game really. This man is going to be priority no 1 for United on Saturday. The Dane is deadly when he’s given space to work and even deadlier when he’s standing over a set piece. The United midfield will have to be compact and offer him nothing to bite on. If Eriksen is allowed to weave his way into the game, United are in for a long long afternoon in Manchester.
United need to pull their act together. It’s only one loss but it’s had drastic complications on the team’s morale going forward. With Spurs only behind on goal difference, anything less than a win would be less than ideal for Mourinho as he sets his sights on catching up on City. Will United pull back their mojo? Or will Poch and his boys spoil the party with another clinical show? Time will tell.