Manchester United travel to North London on Sunday evening in the Premier League, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming up against ex United manager Jose Mourinho. United are second in the league with Tottenham Hotspur sitting in 7th position. A win could throw Spurs back in European contention. Previously Tottenham drew at St James' Park Harry Kane grabbing two last Sunday, but the North London club could have taken three points if it wasn't for Joe Willock coming up trumps for the home side to equalise in the 85th minute. The hero for Newcastle United on the day is currently on loan at the Magpies from Tottenham's fierce rivals Arsenal.
Anthony Martial remains unavailable for selection due to a knee problem picked up on International duty with France, he is expected to miss the rest of the season, while Phil Jones is a long term absentee for the 20-time English champions. Eric Bailly is also out following a recent positive coronavirus test, he is still in the Ivory Coast until he can return a negative test. Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba should be available despite being substituted against Granada on Thursday evening with minor problems.
Marcus Rashford has an ankle problem but should be in the starting XI on Sunday although he was taken off against Granada to protect an ongoing ankle complaint, while Dean Henderson is expected to replace David De Gea between the sticks, although Solskjaer would not confirm this news of who would definitely start in goal in the capital.
Fred is likely to return in the middle of the park. Scott McTominay is suspended for next week's second leg against Granada which means that the Scotland international should start, with Pogba potentially moving out to the left and Rashford going through the middle.
As for Tottenham they again will be without the services of Matt Doherty and Ben Davies through injury. Davies has an ankle problem suffered before the recent international break. Fellow full-back Doherty's muscle injury was sustained while away on Republic of Ireland duty. But the home side are otherwise in good shape approaching Sunday's encounter, with Mourinho looking to get their UEFA Champions League hopes back on track.
Serge Aurier and Toby Alderweireld are both in contention after missing out against Newcastle last weekend, and the former could return to the starting XI at right-back. Son Heung Min featured as a substitute against the Mapgies and now is expected to return to the side, potentially joining Lucas Moura, Giovani Lo Celso and Kane as part of a front four. Carlos Vinicius is likely to drop out of the team.
United will be looking to hold onto second spot. Since being knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup by Leicester City, a big dash for their hopes of winning a trophy this season. They have made it back to back wins in all competitions beating Brighton at home in the Premier League and comfortably beating Granada in the end, on Thursday night, in the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final first leg.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have had a mix bag of results as of recent times. Mourinho's men have managed two wins, two losses and one draw in all competitions. But their recent elimination from the UEFA Europa League Round of 16, will still be agonisingly premature in Spurs minds.
Man United lead the overall head to head record between the two teams, with the Red Devils winning 92 times to Tottenham's 53, while there have also been 49 draws throughout history. Spurs recorded a thumping 6-1 victory in the reverse game at Old Trafford back in October, but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season. Goals from Steven Bergwijn and Bruno Fernandes meant both teams cancelled each other out. Man United's last away league victory over the North London club came in January 2019, when Rashford scored a 44th minute winner for the 20-time English champions at Wembley Stadium.
Players to watch
Edinson Cavani will look to his goal scoring antics. Pogba, Fernandes and Rashford have plenty of quality at their disposal to trouble the North London club as a trio, with consistency key in the ranks, their assists and goals always a danger to the opposition on their given day. Mason Greenwood and Donny Van De Beek are impact players if they aren’t in the starting line-up used often as fringe players. Fernandes and McTominay will look to dominate the midfield.
Fred could also be used as an impact player off the substitutes bench. Amad Diallo has settled well at United and will be looking to show his talent once again as Shaw has shown all season, with his much improved play at the back, a fierce winger assisting in numbers and using the wide areas to the best of his ability.
Looking to Tottenham Son Heung Min and Kane have combined very well this season in numerous situations and are very dangerous players. Gareth Bale and Vinicius have gained some good form and will be eyeing up a good game to keep impressing their current boss. At the back Alderweireld brings a great deal of experience for the North London club, an authoritative body at the back, valuable also in set piece situations. Eric Dier and Aurier are consistent performers under Mourinho and will be key in this contest.
How to watch
The clash kicks off at 16.30 (GMT) and will be broadcasted live on Sky Sports in the UK.
What the managers have said
Solskjaer spoke to club media. When asked about the team news ahead of this game, he admitted the team will be picked early Sunday morning.
"Will pick the team probably, I don't think I will until Sunday morning to be honest because it will be difficult to prepare, will have to stay over here, fly back tomorrow and Saturday will probably just be a day of recovery and see how the bodies feel. So I don't know until then but I hope both Luke and Marcus will be ready after tonight.
The Norweigen knows United's philosophy is to win trophies and not sit in second:
"We should never settle for second place at Man United, we will never settle for second place and I think that's the point here, we have seen the heights and we know what this club is capable of. For me I have been here now for a little while myself and its time, its taken time for us to be in this position and hopefully we can be better next season, because this is below our ambitions.
When Mourinho faced the media, he was asked about coming up against his old club. He praised their history and admitted it is a special feeling to play against them:
"Course its special, but not special because I have been working there, special the same way it was before I worked for the club, special because its a big club. Its always a big match, I played against United with Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid. I played against United so many times with so many clubs. With Porto too, its always difficult but its always a good feeling to play against such a club with such a big history."