Manchester United take on a struggling Tottenham side away from home in the Premier League on Thursday night.
United bounced back from their embarrassing defeat against Sevilla with a victory against Brighton in the semi-final of the FA Cup at the weekend and the Reds will now face Manchester City in the final of England’s oldest competition on June 3.
However, Erik ten Hag’s attention has returned to the Premier League and Thursday’s game against Tottenham, who are currently in crisis after suffering a brutal 6-1 defeat against Newcastle, a game in which they conceded five goals in 20 minutes.
Regarding the team news for the game, Harry Maguire is missing from the squad, but Bruno Fernandes starts after he picked up a knock at Wembley.
Jadon Sancho replaces Anthony Martial in the starting line-up with Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw again in central defence.
Maguire has a knock
Maguire was doing a passing drill with one of the United coaching staff members at Carrington yesterday. He didn’t appear to be obviously injured but perhaps that was his fitness test and he didn’t pass it. United say Maguire was injured in training.
That’s another nail in Martial’s coffin. Sancho did well when he came on at Wembley but it is about time he turned up from the start.
TEAM NEWS | UNITED STARTING XI
XI | De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw, Dalot, Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Rashford, Sancho.
SUBS | Butland, Malacia, Williams, Fred, Pellistri, Sabitzer, Elanga, Martial, Weghorst.
Rich Fay knows his music
Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out is reverberating around the stadium. That is included on Rich Fay’s peerless playlist that made the journey to Newcastle and back fly by.
There are a lot of ‘Son 7’ shirts in the Spurs section around the press box and the odd Korean flag. One is wearing the first Nike United shirt under his jacket. He may have to zip it up when the hardcore Spurs fans head down the gangways.
Tottenham have been mocked
Ryan Mason’s programme notes tonight amount to nine paragraphs and some pretty bland platitudes. He’s the third different person to be writing the manager’s notes in the space of four home games here. He’s still only 31 but the experience he’s gathered at Tottenham must feel like a lifetime already. Tottenham were roundly mocked on Monday when they had the indignity of firing a caretaker manager. It’s fairly unprecendented, even Ralf Rangnick avoided that fate, but it might be about to catch on the way Frank Lampard’s career is unravelling across London.
A blast from the past
The Well Offside Instagram account has reminded me it is 20 years since United effectively clinched the title at White Hart Lane. Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy settled a 2-0 win that left United so jubilant Gary Neville whipped his shirt off when Van Nistelrooy larruped the ball past Kasey Keller.
That was Van Nistelrooy’s 40th goal of the season and Scholes’s 20th. Van Nistelrooy ended on 44. Times have changed, but having two players who can get 60-odd goals between them will make you championship challengers.