It’s a fixture Tottenham supporters circled on their calendar prior to the start of the season, a titanic clash neither side can afford to lose.
Based on the elevated meaningfulness of the occasion, one hopes the match lives up to its lofty expectations. Oftentimes these consequential six pointers are cagey affairs, with neither side willing to take an unnecessary risk that could prove decisive in the battle for the final Champions League spot.
By now we all know that Tottenham perform better when the opposition controls the lion’s share of possession. Tomorrow’s match at Old Trafford will be no different. Spurs will be satisfied, even content, to concede possession to the Red Devils, whose last home match ended in a 0-0 stalemate with relegation favourites Watford.
United won’t be under any other illusion and understand how the match will unfold. It will be up to the home side to make the most of their time on the ball. The onus will be on Ralf Rangnick’s side to penetrate Tottenham’s backline with clever interplay.
After six matches without a clean sheet, Tottenham prevented the opposition from scoring in the last two matches. Leeds and Everton, however, don’t offer nearly the same threat going forward as United. If Spurs defend well in the first 20 minutes, they have every chance of escaping Old Trafford with all three points.
A draw is the more likely result for Conte’s side. Conte will see securing at least one point as a pre-requisite for Tottenham’s continued quest for a top four spot. And catching United on a lethal counter attack is the most likely avenue to yield the desired result.
United have conceded 16 goals at Old Trafford in 14 encounters, the most on home soil of any of the top four sides vying for fourth spot. They are susceptible on the counter, and Tottenham will look to expose that vulnerability.
Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Cristian Romero and Ben Davies must perform flawlessly for Spurs to have a chance of nicking this gargantuan tilt. If all three are on form and play up to their potential, it will be enough to escape Old Trafford with a share of the spoils.
For Spurs to nick a famous victory, it’s incumbent upon Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski to be as efficient and lethal as they were at the Etihad a few weeks back, when Tottenham scored three goals on just five shots.
Tottenham cannot go into the match satisfied with a draw. They’ll have to believe they can take all three points for that result to manifest. Let’s see if the away side’s patient approach of containment, which paid off against City, will see Spurs win in Manchester for the second time in less than a month.