After a three-month disruption Manchester United are back in Premier League action on Friday night as we travel to Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
We head into the game three points outside of the top four and four points ahead of Spurs with nine Premier League games of the 2019-20 season remaining.
Victory in North London would almost certainly rule out Jose Mourinho’s side from qualifying for next season’s Champions League whilst also giving our chances a massive boost. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are the side above us and they’re not back in action until Sunday, when they travel to lowly Aston Villa.
Indeed, the initial fixtures all kick off at different times on different days, making Premier League streams more popular than ever previously. With fans not being allowed into the stadiums is another reason for their increased popularity too.
A quick turnaround will see Manchester United face Sheffield United five days after this one, then a two-day break before Norwich City in the FA Cup and a Premier League game versus Brighton & Hove Albion just days later – four games in the space of a few days in June.
Here is the starting XI I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field in our first game back:
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
The Spaniard was having a shaky season prior to the postponement of football in England. We can only hope that it has served David de Gea well as he is likely to come up against the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura, who are all goalscoring threats.
Defence: Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire
Ole named a back three in our last Premier League outing, a 2-0 victory at home to Manchester City. I think he’ll stick with that in this one as the home side have a number of attacking threats. What’s more, Eric Bailly has often had Kane’s number in the past.
Midfield: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Fred, Luke Shaw; Bruno Fernandes
Assuming Luke Shaw doesn’t play on the left-hand side of the back three then he will start ahead of Brandon Williams in the wingback role down that flank. The England international gets forward to support the attack from out wide too. As does Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the opposite flank. Defensive duties for these two could be against Son and Lucas. In the middle of the park we could see Scott McTominay and Fred continue their partnership in the middle of the park, though Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic are also available. Bruno Fernandes had been the Premier League star of the New Year following his arrival at the end of January. Hopefully the Portuguese star hasn’t lost his form when he lines up in the number 10 role.
Attack: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial
These two will be looking to benefit from the creativity of Bruno as they lead the line and also run the flanks. Marcus Rashford had been having a fine season before the three-month lay-off and hopefully the England international can re-find that form immediately. Tottenham Hotspur had been using a back four more commonly under Mourinho before the disruption.
Tottenham Hotspur had headed to Old Trafford as clear favourites at the start of December, but we came away with a 2-1 win thanks to a brace from Rashford in a game that we were clear and deserved winners.
It’s hard to say that we should be expected to win this one as the lengthy break will no doubt throw up a few surprises as we’ve seen in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and other European leagues in their initial games back. However, we were certainly the form team of the two before the break.
The hosts will be without Dele Alli through suspension whilst there are fitness issues with Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso that could prevent them from starting on Friday.