Manchester United looks to gain ground as Tottenham visits

14 Jan 2024

After exiting European competition in the group stage of the Uefa Champions League , Manchester United will look to take a step towards a return to continental play when they host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (6.30pm).

Man United (10-9-1, 31 points) begin the weekend in ninth place in the table, nine points back of the top four and Champions League places, and three back of a top-six position that is typically enough to secure a spot in the Europa League.

The Red Devils' most pronounced struggles continue to be in the attack. Midfielder Scott McTominay's five league goals are the most on the team. And manager Erik ten Hag's squad still has yet to score more than three goals in a game in any competition this season.

But Man United's previous match against fifth-place Spurs — a 2-0 loss at Tottenham back on the second weekend of the season on August 19 — showed how things might be different if the Red Devils had consistently shown more composure in front of goal.

It was a very winnable match for the visitors — especially during a first half in which they were decisively the better side — before being punished for their wastefulness after the interval.

“They're really proactive, very enjoyable to watch them with a lot of dynamics, very proactive, they combine it with good results,” ten Hag said of Spurs.

“But also, when we played them over there ... the first 35 minutes we dominated them, we should have gone in the lead but we didn't, so we have to make our own luck and take control of the game and finish the chances.”

Spurs (12-5-3, 39 points) begin the weekend only a point behind North London rivals Arsenal and the top four, and they will see loan-signing Timo Werner potentially make his Tottenham debut.

Werner previously spent two frustrating Premier League seasons at Chelsea (2020-22), and has recently drifted down the striking depth chart at RB Leipzig to precipitate his loan.

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