Tottenham Hotspur - Manchester United Preview: Spurs hoping to keep title hopes afloat

Louis van Gaal takes his Manchester United side to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon to face a Tottenham side still believing they will have a say in where this season’s Premier League trophy will end up.

Tottenham Hotspur - Manchester United Preview: Spurs hoping to keep title hopes afloat
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Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United at White Hart Lane on Sunday, hoping to keep their title challenge going for another week at least.

With this season full of uncertainty and unpredictability finally reaching its business end, both Tottenham and United have six game in which to meet their ever changing goals for the year. 

Back in August, when the first ball of the season was kicked at Old Trafford when Tottenham made the trip to Manchester, the Red Devils would have been expecting to be in the title race this year, whilst Tottenham would have been hopeful of a top four finish.

However, Tottenham go into their remaining six games knowing they will need to be fully alert to pounce on any potential slip up by Leicester City at the top of the table, currently seven points ahead of the North Londoners. 

Manchester United, on the other hand, currently sit in fifth place ahead of another surprise package, West Ham United, by just two points and one place and point behind Manchester rivals City.

With a top four finish now the most realistic target for the 13 times Premier League winners, Van Gaal will be looking to improve on an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Everton at Old Trafford last week thanks to an Anthony Martial strike. 

Tottenham, fresh from a 1-1 draw with United’s rivals Liverpool last week, know they need to take maximum points from their remaining fixtures to have any chance of winning a first league title since 1961, starting against United on Sunday.

When they last met

Having played each other in the opening fixture of the 2015/16 Premier League season, Tottenham made the trip back from Manchester thinking of what might have been after they went down to a Kyle Walker own goal.

Walker inadvertently tucked the ball past his captain, Hugo Lloris, after attempting to prevent Wayne Rooney from opening the scoring. 

Despite bright moments from Christian Eriksen, and the Premier League top goalscorer Harry Kane, Mauricio Pochettino’s men couldn't find a way past debutant Sergio Romero as first choice 'keeper David De Gea continued to be linked to Real Madrid

Pochettino will be hoping his side can continue their impressive form, having lost just three times since that opening day defeat, whilst preventing Manchester United becoming the first side to do the double over Spurs this season.

Walker looks on in disgust as Wayne Rooney celebrates on the opening day (photo: getty)
Walker looks on in disgust as Wayne Rooney celebrates on the opening day (photo: getty)

Team news

Jan Vertonghen has returned to full training after a long-term injury lay-off and could feature on the bench for the hosts. Clinton N’Jie remains absent but, like Vertonghen, has recently retuned to training and could feature in the coming weeks. Érik Lamela looks to have overcome a slight knock picked up on international duty with Argentina.

Probable line up: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dembélé, Dier; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen; Kane

Wayne Rooney will feature for the under-21's against Middlesbrough on Monday night as he gets back to full fitness and therefore won’t feature at White Hart Lane. Daley Blind is the only other player who could miss out but the Dutch international looks to have overcome any problems.

Probable line-up; De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Rashford