The first two weeks of the 2018 English Premier League season have flown by quickly and we already have several storylines emerging across the league. One of the biggest stories of the season so far, have been the bad performances and criticism of Jose Mourinho’s job.
Manchester United have not been playing well since the preseason matches and Jose Mourinho has requested more transfer funds from the board to spend on players, a move that has been widely criticized around Europe, as Manchester United have been one of the biggest spenders in the English Premier League the last few seasons.
Tottenham Hotspurs have gone through the offseason quietly and have not altered their roster compared to last year. Mauricio Pochettino believed in his roster and thinks that with additional experience, his young squad will be ready to challenge for the English Premier League title this season.
The two clubs will meet at the Old Trafford on Matchday 3 in a derby match which usually delivers a lot of sparks. Manchester United will be looking to put their loss to Brighton behind them as soon as possible and prevent any further slippage compared to the league leaders. Tottenham will be focused on extending their winning streak and staying on top of the league along with Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
I have prepared a short breakdown of the match and some betting predictions, so feel free to read on.
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspurs United Odds:
- Manchester United 2.50
- Tottenham Hotspurs 2.87
- Draw 3.30
- Over 2.5 Goals 2.00
- Under 2.5 Goals 1.70
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspurs Pick:
This is big match for both squads and the first real test in the English Premier League season they have faced this season. Neither Manchester United nor Tottenham have faced a club this year that has a legitimate chance of competing with them in terms of roster quality and ambition. This makes this derby match all that important, as a measuring stick for both teams to see how they stack up against the elite competition in the EPL.
Manchester United’s offseason was full of news headlines regarding Jose Mourinho’s pleas for more transfer funds to invest into new players to strengthen the squad. The board has remained more conservative in their estimates of clubs needs in the transfer market and have made only a portion of requested funds available for new transfers to Jose Mourinho.
The biggest additions at Old Trafford were the midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and defender Diogo Dalot from Porto. Fred has managed to break through into the first team from Day 1, while Dalot is still adjusting to soccer in EPL and might need some time to break out.
A series of uninspiring performances in the preseason have put Jose Mourinho under pressure from the fans and the media, who believe that Manchester United has the squad that should be much more competitive and challenges for the EPL title.
Those performances carried over into the EPL season as well. Even though Manchester United managed to win their season opener at home 2-1 versus Leicester City, they didn’t impress with their style of play. This became even more apparent when the Red Devils lost next week on the road 3-2 versus a determined Huddersfield Town side.
On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspurs had an extremely quiet offseason, as most of their key players played important roles at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. There were some speculations about certain players leaving Tottenham but none of those rumors materialized, so the Spurs have entered the new EPL season with the same roster that competed the last year, but more experienced and familiar with Mauricio Pochettino’s demands from the team.
The Spurs have opened their EPL season with a pair of victories. In the season opener at Newcastle United they managed to come back from 1-0, and win the game 1-2, securing their first victory of the new EPL season. A week later, Tottenham has hosted Fulham at Wembley and managed to defeat the Cottagers by a score 3-1.
The Spurs have looked like a title contender in both games but there are concerns that their squad might not be deep enough to mount a serious title challenge in the EPL. This remains to be seen, especially since Tottenham will be competing in the UEFA Champions League this season as well.
Usually, only one of the teams will scores in these matchups, with only 2 out of the last 9 matches ending up with both teams scoring in the match. Since 1999, Manchester United and Tottenham have played 25 matches at Old Trafford, in various competitions, with Manchester United winning 20 of those matches, Tottenham winning only 2 and 3 draws. It is quite obvious that the tradition favors Manchester United at Old Trafford and that gives them an edge in this matchup.
I find it hard to look past Manchester United in this matchup. Granted, it will be a closely-contested game between two elite clubs in EPL but Manchester United always seem to find the recipe to beat Tottenham at home in the EPL. Also, there is a sense of urgency regarding Jose Mourinho’s status at the club and the team’s performances, that should make Manchester United more hungry to take this one at home.