The Red Devils were forced to accept a point in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United last time out, while Antonio Conte’s men ran out 2-0 winners over Everton.
Officiating controversy reared its ugly head once again as Man United and Newcastle shared the spoils in Sunday’s goalless stalemate, during which neither Jadon Sancho nor Callum Wilson were awarded spot kicks despite presenting strong cases to Craig Pawson.
It was not a dull 0-0 at the Theatre of Dreams by any means, as Joelinton rattled the woodwork twice in the space of a few seconds before Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had scored a perfectly good goal by intercepting Nick Pope‘s free kick, but Pawson thought differently.
Having seen his side’s three-game winning run come to an abrupt end on Sunday, Erik ten Hag must pick up the pieces and help his side regain some ground on the top four, as the fifth-placed Red Devils have now fallen three points behind Chelsea after nine matches.
The Dutchman insisted that there were positives to take from the showdown with Eddie Howe‘s side, but even in Man United’s pair of wins versus Omonia and narrow success over Everton, the Red Devils only won by one goal on each occasion and were far from convincing.
Man United’s eight-game scoring streak in the Premier League at Old Trafford was also brought to an end by Newcastle last week, but only two of their last 17 top-flight games in front of their own fans have ended in defeat, and no team has posted more than their 72 Wednesday victories in the competition.
While Man United and Newcastle were left to rue controversial penalty calls at the weekend, Tottenham Hotspur were on the correct end of such a decision against Everton, with Harry Kane taking a tumble over Jordan Pickford and banishing his Champions League spot-kick woes to put his side ahead on Saturday evening.
Some felt that Kane had gone down too easily under the challenge of Pickford in what was his 400th appearance in a Tottenham shirt, but there was nothing questionable about Tottenham’s second, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s strike took a nick off of Alex Iwobi into the back of the net.
Antonio Conte’s men had to be patient to break down a dogged Everton defence, and they have been rewarded heavily for their efforts, moving level on points with Manchester City in third place following the champions’ loss to Liverpool and ensuring their gap to leaders Arsenal would stay at four.
It is now three wins on the bounce for the North London club in all competitions, but rival turf has not been so kind to them, as they have only won two of their seven away matches in all tournaments this season and have just three goals to boast from their last five on the road.
Ronaldo rolled back the years with a hat-trick to propel Man United to a 3-2 victory in this fixture last season, which came a few months after the Red Devils triggered Nuno Espirito Santo‘s sacking with a 3-0 win in North London, and Conte is also at risk of suffering a fourth consecutive defeat away to the Red Devils as a manager.
Man United’s treatment room is still full to the brim ahead of Wednesday’s game, as Axel Tuanzebe (unspecified), Brandon Williams (unspecified), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (muscle), Harry Maguire (hamstring), Donny van de Beek (muscle) and Anthony Martial (back) all missed the draw with Newcastle.
Maguire and Martial are not too far away from making their comebacks but will not force their way into contention this week, while Martin Dubravka and Scott McTominay will be back after missing out at the weekend through ineligibility and suspension respectively.
It remains to be seen if Christian Eriksen will recover from illness in time to line up against his former club, so McTominay and Casemiro could form the midfield pairing, while Cristiano Ronaldo will aim to replicate his hat-trick in this fixture last season if he can convince Ten Hag to keep him in the starting lineup. Marcus Rashford will have a thing or two to say about that, though.
Tottenham have also been handed a couple of fresh concerns ahead of Wednesday’s game, as Richarlison went down with a calf injury early into the second half against Everton, and he was pictured leaving the stadium on crutches.
Conte has already ruled the Brazilian out of this clash amid fears that he could also miss the World Cup, while Dejan Kulusevski remains doubtful after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Emerson Royal is set to serve the third and final game of his suspension, as Matt Doherty continues to deputise.
A change in formation can be expected from Tottenham given Kulusevski and Richarlison’s injuries, with Yves Bissouma likely to be introduced into a 3-5-2 formation, while Kane will aim to become the first Tottenham player in history to score in six successive Premier League games.
Conte said in his pre-game press conference that he wanted to stick with a 3-4-3, with Perisic potentially moving further forward, but it remains to be seen if that admission was simply mind games from the 53-year-old.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia; Casemiro, McTominay; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford
Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Doherty, Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Bentancur, Perisic; Son, Kane