Manchester United will seek to return to winning ways when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at the Theatre of Dreams on Monday night. The Red Devils suffered an unexpected 3-2 defeat at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend and this has hampered their title challenge early on in the campaign. Spurs, on the other hand, have acquired the perfect tally of six points after the first two games into the season but they have a mental block to break at Old Trafford where they have lost in the previous four visits without finding the scoresheet.
Three things to watch for:
United’s central defensive combination: During the Brighton game, United’s central defence appeared in tatters with Eric Bailly, in particular, at fault for most of the mistakes. The Ivorian is widely regarded as United’s best-performing centre-back but he had a day to forget on the South Coast where he conceded a reckless penalty which eventually proved the match-decider. In the past, Jose Mourinho has acted upon such performances and it would not be a surprise if Chris Smalling gets the nod to partner Victor Lindelof for the Monday night showdown.
Harry Kane vs Romelu Lukaku: Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku are regarded as two of the most fearsome strikers in the Premier League but their performances could influence where the game could turn towards. Lukaku has had his criticism for failing to show up against elite clubs in the past and the same could be said about Kane, particularly at Old Trafford, where he has not scored in four appearances including the 2-1 triumph in 2014 which remains Spurs’ last victory over United on the road.
Paul Pogba’s influence from midfield: The France international has been inconsistent with his performances for United over the past couple of seasons and the current campaign has witnessed something similar. Shortly after the Brighton defeat, Pogba highlighted that his attitude was not right for the game but the fans would surely expect him to raise up for the Spurs encounter whereby a defeat could see United six points off the top. Pogba’s forward service was barely existent versus Brighton and it will be interesting to see whether he shows up for the game.
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