The pressure is mounting of Jose Mourinho as his relationship with Ed Woodward seems to grow ever more strained and, inevitably, he becomes increasingly volatile with the media. Defeat last weekend to Brighton was ugly and left Manchester United’s manager – rightly – facing an awful lot of criticism. What’s his relationship with Paul Pogba like? Will United appoint a Sporting Directory?
But he has an immediate chance to bounce back in a game against a top-four rival. Unbeaten Tottenham come to Old Trafford on Monday night and Mourinho will see it as a chance to reclaim some momentum. But Spurs are in good form. They haven’t been entirely convincing in their first two games, but they’ve won both – and, finally, Harry Kane has also showed that he can score goals in August.
Here’s our Stats Digest:
• Following a disastrous start to the season, Mourinho may alter his centre-back pairing. Marcos Rojo remains unavailable, but either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling could replace Eric Bailly or Victor Lindelof – or both.
• Nemanja Matic remains unavailable, but Ander Herrera could make his first start of the season as Mourinho searches for greater protection from his midfield.
• Luke Shaw and Alexis Sanchez are both doubts, so Anthony Martial and Ashley Young could play on the left side.
• Mauricio Pochettino is still without Heung Min Son, who remains on international duty, so could start with the same side who beat Fulham at Wembley.
• Victor Wanyama remains unavailable.
• Manchester United have lost just 2 of their last 37 Premier League at Old Trafford.
• Tottenham have only lost 2 of their last 22 games in the league home and away.
• In 5 of their last 6 matches at home, Manchester have been winning at half-time and full-time.
• In the last three of those games, United have also only won by a one-goal margin.
• There have been at least three goals in all of Tottenham’s last three games.
• Currently, Paul Pogba is averaging more shots per game than other Man United player (2.5).
• Pogba is also United’s most dynamic player on the ball, averaging 3.5 successful dribbles per game.
• Across their opening two games, Mourinho’s side have averaged 55.7% possession and have completed their passes at an accuracy of 83.6%.
• In Tottenham’s first two fixtures, Pochettino’s players have enjoyed a marginally superior 56.8% possession and completed their passes at a slightly higher 85.3%.
• Whether Spurs begin with a back-three (Vertonghen, Sanchez, Alderweireld) again remains to be seen, but Vertonghen is the most common start point for their moves – he has averaged 84 touches of the ball across the two games and is Hugo Lloris’ most trusted outlet from the back.
• Christian Eriksen has averaged 3 key passes per game so far from open play.
• Dele Alli is Spurs’ most-fouled player (2pg).
• Alli is also the greatest liability in possession though, being dispossessed on average twice per game.
• Manchester United to win to nil: 10/3
• Romelu Lukaku to score: 17/10
• Over 45 booking points and Lukaku to score (#BrightBundle):18/5
• Under 1.5 goals to be scored: 23/10.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.