Tottenham Hotspur will present Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his sternest test as Manchester United caretaker boss when the two meet in the Premier League on Sunday.
United travel to Wembley Stadium enjoying a sequence of five wins in all competitions on Solskjaer’s watch. Spurs are also in form, though, having recently put seven past Tranmere Rovers in the 2019 FA Cup third round.
Tottenham are also in the thick of the title race, trailing leaders Liverpool by just six points. It makes sense the Lilywhites are favourites with oddsmakers to take all three points.
Date: Sunday, January 13
Time: 4:30 p.m. GMT/11:30 a.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports PL/NBCSN
Live Stream: Sky Go. NBC Sports App. fubo TV.
Club history beckons for Solskjaer if his revitalised squad can upset the odds:
A big reason for United’s turnaround since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho has been midfielder Paul Pogba’s form. The mercurial playmaker is showcasing the vision and flair United felt compelled to spend a then-world record fee to acquire back in 2016.
Solskjaer confirmed Pogba “should be OK” to feature after the France international delayed a trip for winter training in Dubai to treat a knee problem, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News.
Pogba’s presence will be key because he’s been keeping the supply lines open to a formidable forward line. Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all represent significant threats to the Spurs defence.
Yet it’s the United back four likely to be under pressure from Tottenham’s prolific duo of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. Kane has 14 league goals this term, while Son offers the pace and improvisational skills to overwhelm a Red Devils defence breached 32 times in 21 league matches.
Fortunately for Solskjaer, there have been hints of improvement at the back lately. United have kept consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, and Victor Lindelof is beginning to look like the assured centre-back the Red Devils have missed for too long.
Lindelof will be a significant figure while fellow central defender Eric Bailly misses out through suspension thanks to receiving a red card during the 4-1 win over Bournemouth in late December.
Spurs have the firepower up top to overwhelm United early. They also have a psychological edge after winning 3-0 at Old Trafford in August.
Lucas Moura starred in Manchester, but the Brazilian winger is a doubt with a knee injury. Even so, Tottenham should still be dynamic enough in attacking areas to sneak a narrow home win over a United side beginning to play up to its obvious talent level.