Tottenham vs Man United takes the late kick off slot on Saturday. It is a match where the managers of the sides dominate the narrative. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nuno Espirito Santo are both under massive pressure, so much so fans have dubbed the match El Sackico. United come into the match sitting in 7th place, a point and place below their North London based opponents.
Recap of the previous matchweek here
Having failed to secure initial targets like Paulo Fonseca and Antonio Conte over the Summer, Tottenham opted for Nuno Espirito Santo for the vacant manager position at the club. Consequently, the decision underwhelmed Tottenham fans. However, after opening the season with 3 consecutive 1-0 victories, including a win over reigning champions Manchester City, Espirito Santo received the Premier League Manager of the Month award for August. Since, Tottenham have won only 2 games from 6, while only scoring 6 goals in the process. Fans are beginning to grow tired with the Portuguese coach’s defensive approach. Harry Kane’s output is a concern for fans, having only 2 goal contributions in 8 league appearances. Although signs of unrest are beginning to show within the club, Espirito Santo’s job is considered to be safe at the moment. Tottenham lost to West Ham 1-0 in the previous league match.
Manchester United have experienced a turbulent week. Having received a 5-0 drumming at home from fierce rivals Liverpool last match, Solskjaer described the situation as “rock bottom.” Bereft of identity and organization, the pathetic performance had many believing it would be the end for Solskjaer at the club. Unfortunately, the problems don’t remain isolated to the playing field. Leaks from the dressing room highlighted the player dissatisfaction with the uninspiring training methods employed. It has also emerged this week that Paul Pogba will not sign a contract extension, allowing him to leave for free in the Summer.
On the playing field, there is still a debate whether Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence is benefitting the team.
Due to Solskjaer’s unwillingness (or inability) to replace Ronaldo up top, United have been easy to play through. Vulnerable as ever, Tottenham should be relishing the timing of the match.
A stifled attack vs a leaky defense, who will come out on top? Man United’s defensive woes have been well publicized this week, but Espirito Santo’s side lacks creativity. I expect Ole to get a reaction out of the players and mirror the score line (3-1) the last time the two sides met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. If Ole were to lose, however, he may be forced to let another take the wheel.
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