Tottenham travel to Manchester United on Monday in an early showdown which could give an indication of the likely Premier League pecking order for the season.
Spurs are on form with two wins from two matches, and it could be a good time to take on the Red Devils given there hasn’t been a lot of devil in their early performances.
A 3-2 away defeat to Brighton was a United shocker and pundits have been scathing about the Old Trafford outfit.
The squad are said to be unhappy, fed up with Jose Mourinho’s negative tactics, and not giving their all. All pre-season Mourinho has been irascible, moaning about his lot, fed up at not getting yet another central defender. That is despite spending more than £70 million on defensive duo Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in the last two summers.
Meanwhile stalwart Chris Smalling seems out of favour while Phil Jones is rarely fit and has never quite reached his potential.
Star midfielder Paul Pogba, who had such a wonderful World Cup with victors France, seems at odds with his manager.
"To question your own attitude – you can't take that from a player"
Steve Sidwell and Liam Rosenior discuss Paul Pogba's comments over his own performance.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 21, 2018
Anthony Martial, who arrived from Monaco in 2015 in a deal which could rise to £58 million, has spent months angling for a move and was repeatedly linked with Tottenham, albeit nothing transpired. Luke Shaw is back in the starting eleven despite constant Mourinho humiliation of the full back.
Yet United were runners-up last season and have a huge talent pool and remain very difficult to beat on their own patch; Spurs will also have to be on their guard against danger man Romelu Lukaku, with goals expected at either end.
Predicted Line Up: Manchester United vs Spurs
With danger men aplenty in the Man United side, a strong defence will be vital, and Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen remain one of the best defensive pairings in the League, complimented by the continued good form of Kieran Trippier. However, with Man United out of sorts, it may be a good time to stretch the legs of some less obvious picks. With Hueng-Min Son likely still out on international duty come the 27th, Lucas Moura would be a solid choice, particularly considering his performance against Fulham.
Erik Lamela also made an important contribution to the Fulham game, with a great run to help Harry Kane break his August goal drought, and deserves his spot on the team.
Here’s the proof if you ever required it of what Erik Lamela can bring to this Tottenham Hotspur team.
The bloke does not get anywhere near the praise he deserves.
— Last Word On Spurs🎙 (@LastWordOnSpurs) August 18, 2018
How will Spurs perform?
Harry Kane and Dele Alli have the ability to pull the United defence all over the park if they are on song, but Spurs have to go for the jugular. Champions League football is one thing, but a big effort is needed to go in to win the Premiership. That’s a hard ask with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the way but the new ground, once the delays are sorted out, is geared for it.
Meanwhile, there is further speculation that Danny Rose will be allowed to leave ahead of the European transfer window closing, with the Evening Standard reporting that Mauricio Pochettino is intending to use Ben Davies and Kyle Walker-Peters as his left-back options this season.