The stage is set for a humdinger at Wembley on Super Sunday when Manchester United travel to London to take on Spurs. Paul Robinson has the main betting angles covered…
Tottenham v Man United
Sunday January 13, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports
Pochettino aiming to enhance his CV
Let’s start with the team news for the hosts. Son Heung-min will be making his final appearance before his stint for South Korea in the Asia Cup, so it’s a nailed on certainty that he will start the game – as if seven goals and five assists in his last half dozen Premier League starts would have you in any doubt.
The other big news in the Spurs camp is that Jan Vertonghen has returned to training, so it will be interesting to see if he goes straight back into the starting XI – we all remember the torrid time he received against Arsenal following his previous absence.
Since the last time Tottenham played a league game, Manchester City took three points off Liverpool, meaning that the Lilywhites are only six points off top spot, with the same amount of games played. Spurs have also trounced Tranmere in the FA Cup and taken a 1-0 lead in their EFL Cup semi-final tie against Chelsea.
Some might argue that this match is merely a dress rehearsal ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s summer switch to Old Trafford, but even if Poch does head for pastures new, he will be desperate to cement his legacy in North London first.
Tottenham are still well in this title race, and if they can keep the likes of Kane, Eriksen, Son and Alderweireld fit and in-form, they have every chance of running both Manchester City and Liverpool close. Let’s also not forget that they are still in both domestic cups and the Champions League.
Five-star Solskjær to face first real test
What a difference a few short weeks can make in football and the goings on at Manchester United are proof of that. Under Jose Mourinho, United were playing some pretty dour stuff, and the players were hardly putting their all in for the ‘Special One’.
It’s been a different story under Ole Gunnar Solskjær though as the Norwegian has led them to five straight wins in all competitions – with the team racking up 16 goals in the process.
Paul Pogba has returned to the side and he is playing like the Paul Pogba that took all the plaudits for Juventus and France. He’s been deployed higher up the field, of course, but he’s also now actually trying his best.
Romelu Lukaku has also returned to the fold in recent weeks, and he has scored in the last three games. It will be interesting to see if the Belgian forces his way back into the starting XI on Sunday, or if Solskjær utilises him from the bench again.
As for their realistic prospects for the remainder of the season – a top four finish is still possible as they only trail Chelsea by half a dozen points, and I wouldn’t rule anything out in the Champions League, even if they have drawn PSG. The FA Cup, however remains their best chance of a trophy.
For all United’s resurgence, Tottenham are still around the even money mark at [2.14] for Sunday’s clash. I would be interested to know what price they would be if Mourinho were still in charge at Old Trafford, but I very much doubt that they would be much shorter.
It’s hard to put up too much of a case against Spurs though – they have won seven of their last eight in all competitions. That being said, their latest league outing at Wembley was a 1-3 defeat to Wolves, and both Liverpool and Man City have already won here this year.
If you think that United are going to make it six from six under Solskjær, then you can back the away win at [3.7]. I wouldn’t be getting too carried away with their form just yet though, as Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Reading are hardly the who’s who of English football. I’d also be concerned abut the fact that they only kept two clean sheets during that run.
I have to say that I like the draw in this one. It’s also priced up at [3.7], and I see these two as being quite evenly matched. There hasn’t been a draw between them since 2014, and the last eight have seen them trade wins, one after another. If symmetry is your thing, then it’s United who are due the victory following Spurs’ 3-0 win at Old Trafford in August.
I’m not a believer in that kind of thing though, and from what I’ve witnessed lately, these are two teams who are playing some good football. I expect the spoils to be shared.
I am thinking about goals in this game, but unfortunately, so are the Betfair layers. Over 2.5 is as short as [1.69], with Both Teams to Score even shorter at [1.58].
The hosts are on a run of four league games in a row to end with the ball in the net on at least three occasions, with seven of their last nine also seeing Over 2.5 backers collect.
The visitors have won their two latest outings by a 2-0 scoreline, but Solskjær’s first three games in charge all had a minimum of four goals. It’s also worth noting that the last five of Mourinho’s matches also went Over 2.5.
There is no denying that the most sought-after players in both squads are of the attacking nature. Goalkeepers aside, only probably Alderweireld is a top class defender – and his head might not be in the game having been linked to United all through the summer.
I’m very keen on the Over here, but I am going to throw an additional goal into the mix and go for Over 3.5 at [2.7].
It is a bet that has landed in four of Tottenham’s last five at home in the Premier League, while the same can be said for four of United’s last five league games on the road.
If you want something at an even bigger price, then take a punt on a 2-2 Correct Score at [13.0].
A Same Game Multi is a great way of combining a few shorter priced selections and ending up with good odds. You also often get plenty of enjoyment during the 90 minutes as every little thing can have an impact on your bet.
This should be an action-packed affair, so I’m opting for BTTS in the First Half, Over 10.5 Corners in the match and Son Heung-min to score anytime. The Betfair Sportsbook calculates that little lot up at [15.32].
2018/19 P/L (1pt each bet)
Source: Betfair Premier League