Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Manchester United V Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 15th March. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
The race for Champions League football is really heating up and Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford could go a long way to deciding the fates of two runners.
Both Manchester United and Tottenham have enjoyed very mixed seasons but both remain in the hunt for a top four finish despite rarely hitting top four.. Now would be a great time for either to pull a solid performance out of the bag.
It should be a fascinating affair.
Red Devils Looking To Bounce Back From FA Cup Exit
Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final loss to Arsenal has essentially condemned Manchester United to back-to-back trophyless campaigns for the first time in over two decades. Louis van Gaal’s men must dust themselves off, though, as they look to secure a top four finish – starting with this immensely tough test against Tottenham.
One result shouldn’t detract from the Red Devils’ otherwise strong home form. However, it is worth noticing they did also lose to Southampton at Old Trafford in recent weeks and the pressure is really on in this one as a trip to Anfield awaits next.
Perhaps most worryingly, though, the hosts will have to deal without the talents of Robin van Persi or record signing Angel di Maria, who earned himself a ridiculous sending off against the Gunners on Monday. The weight of a team will be on captain Wayne Rooney’s shoulders, whilst Manchester United fans would also love to see Radamel Falcao finally prove his worth.
However, Spurs have lost three of their past four away games. If the Red Devils start strong then they should take a huge step towards a Champions League return.
Can Spurs March On At Old Trafford?
Like Van Gaal, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has at times endured a turbulent first year at White Hart Lane. However, a win at Old Trafford would really thrust Spurs into genuine contention for a top four finish.
The North Londoners will be all too aware of the various deficiencies within their ranks, but they are blessed with some very talented players and there is no reason that they cannot capitalise on the poor quality of other sides vying for Champions League places.
If Tottenham are to secure their place back in Europe’s elite competition then they will need to win these crucial contests. Fortunately, they can take huge inspiration from various other results this season – including the 0-0 draw in the home match against Manchester United – and will also be pleased to have not played in Thursday’s Europa League.
Spurs do have weaknesses, but so do Manchester United. With the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen on fire, Spurs fans may feel this is their best chance to silence the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United V Tottenham Hotspur Betting[quote_box_right]Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League starts against Spurs. Rooney to score anytime against Spurs is a best price of 6/4 with Betfair sportsbook[/quote_box_right]Manchester United enter Sunday’s showdown as the bookies favourites but a price of 10/11 with Bet365 indicates that Louis van Gaal’s men can’t expect to have everything their own way. Meanwhile, Spurs are priced 10/3 to cause an upset whilst the draw is available at 11/4.
From a betting perspective, the one selection that really stands out to us is the BTTS market.
In Kane, Tottenham have a real goal threat and the visitors should be able to take advantage of the home side’s vulnerable defence. At the same time, United have failed to score just once at Old Trafford this term.
BTTS @ 8/11 with Betfred
Historically, this has been a time of the year where Manchester United really find top gear and they may need to do that once more if they’re going to secure a return to Champions League football.
If one player is going to drag them to a top four finish then it’s clearly Rooney. We’re backing captain fantastic to open the scoring here.
Wayne Rooney to score first @ 9/2 with Bet365