Without doubt the game of the weekend between Tottenham and Manchester United in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has not put a foot wrong since he took over with five straight wins in all competitions, however Tottenham will be the first stern test of his time at the helm of United. Spurs faltered against Wolves in their last game of 2018, but proved it was a one-off with a comprehensive win over Cardiff last time out. Check out our betting preview and tips by Form Labs and don’t forget to head over to our FanBoosts and take advantage of our selection of enhanced odds for the game.
Midweek Win For Spurs
Spurs demonstrated to Chelsea what a difference a top striker can make by beating them for a third game on the trot since the start of 2018, and in the process kept three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions for the first time since October 2017, which seems remarkable.
However, their previous two fixtures were against Cardiff and Tranmere, while Chelsea have been largely reliant upon Eden Hazard’s magic to get them through matches until now. The Belgian appeared worryingly frustrated (particularly with Marcos Alonso) during the encounter with Spurs, and United possess more angles of attack at present.
Solskjaer’s First Severe Test
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has led the Red Devils to five consecutive victories in all competitions as they’ve averaged over three goals per game, with each of these wins coming by at least two clear strikes.
They may have shut their opponents out in their last two fixtures, but only Huddersfield have netted fewer goals than a toothless Newcastle this term, while Reading are second from bottom in the Championship.
This is the Norwegian’s first real challenge as he’s yet to even face a top-half side, while having conceded in wins over Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth in his first three matches in charge, we’d expect Spurs to get amongst the goals.
Spurs Scoring Plenty Of Goals
Even excluding the 7-0 drubbing of League Two outfit Tranmere in the FA Cup, the hosts have still bagged 16 goals in five matches, while they pummelled United 3-0 back in August at Old Trafford.
They’ll also take encouragement from their opponents’ ongoing problems at the back, with Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo injured, while Eric Baily misses out through suspension.
It would however seem that Paul Pogba has shaken off a knock and will feature from the off, though that should only increase the potential for goals in this clash as his upturn in form has seen him net four times in as many appearances, while he’s still been lackadaisical in his marking at the other end.
United Need To Convince
United have plenty of convincing to do and will need performances in the big games to be trusted, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men have now won 15 of their last 18 matches in all competitions, with one of the exceptions a stalemate at the Camp Nou.
They’re yet to share the spoils in domestic action, but although they’ve lost three times at Wembley, City and Liverpool are a cut above the rest of the division while Wolves have caused numerous upsets versus ‘Big Six’ teams this season.
Momentum With Spurs
We expect them to take the momentum for their League Cup first leg win into this game and come away with maximum points, though United have shown enough under Solskjaer to suggest both sides will work their way onto the scoreboard.
Although Old Trafford held a toxic atmosphere under Mourinho and results there weren’t great, United have only lost there once in the league – against Spurs – as their other four defeats came on the road.
All five defeats saw them ship exactly three goals, going down 3-1 at Liverpool, City and West Ham, while they also netted in a 3-2 defeat at Brighton. Meanwhile, half of Spurs’ home wins this term have finished 3-1 and so there’s a worthwhile punt to be had on the correct score.
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*odds subject to change.