Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur: Mourinho Aiming for Happy Return

manchester unitedIn the build up to this vital Premier League game, the media will doubtless be hyping up Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford. The former Manchester United boss brings his new Tottenham side to face a team who look to be on the verge of sacking his replacement.

While the rolling TV news channels will be focusing on the managers, this is a vital game for both sides and with Spurs back in touching distance of the top four, the team have a good opportunity to maintain their winning run.

Team News

It’s believed that there are no additions to the injured list following Saturday’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth. Erik Lamela was tipped to make a return to the squad for that game but latest reports suggest that the Argentine will now be available for this weekend’s home clash with Burnley.

That leaves Ben Davies, plus the goalkeeping pair of Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm as the longer term absentees. With no suspensions due, Jose Mourinho looks to have a full squad to select from with the exception of those four names.

Match Odds

Prior to the weekend’s action, the bookies were having a hard time splitting these sides and some outlets were listing both teams at the same win price. With Spurs beating Bournemouth and United held at home by struggling Aston Villa, we’ve sneaked ahead – but only just.

Tottenham are the narrow favourites and can be picked up at odds of 8/5 with William Hill and Betway. Manchester United are just behind at a top price of 7/4 with Black Type while the draw can be claimed at 12/5 with BetFred and 10Bet.

There will be backers for the draw and that’s the option that jumps out initially. United are undoubtedly in a poor run of form but we’ve seen them lift that form when hosting Spurs and, while we should be aiming for three points, a share of the spoils wouldn’t be the worst outcome.

Side Bets

harry kane

Harry Kane

For once, we have a good mix of the two teams at the top of the first goalscorer market. Harry Kane leads the way at best industry odds of 22/5 with 888Sport and Unibet while the same two bookmakers list Harry’s England colleague Marcus Rashford at a top price of 21/4.

Elsewhere, Anthony Martial proved a pain for Spurs in the past and he can be claimed at a best of 13/2 with Royal Panda. A player from each side follows at best odds of 7/1 with Unibet and 888Sport – Son Heung-Min for Spurs and Mason Greenwood for Manchester United. Lucas Moura is on offer at a top price of 8/1 with 888Sport and Unibet yet again, while there will be some interest in Dele Alli. The midfielder is heading back to his best following a lean run of form and Dele can be picked up at a generous best of 10/1 with VBet and Royal Panda.

There are lots of tempting options in that list but is there any value in our remaining set of favoured side bets? We’ll start, as always, with Both Teams to Score which doesn’t look bad at all at best odds of 4/6 with William Hill and SportNation. This bet will mostly drop below Even Money but that could have been much lower. BTTS would have landed in each of the last eight combined games involving these two sides so it’s the first tip to add to our betslip.

Over 2.5 goals also looks reasonable at 3/4 with Coral and SportingBet but if you want to push that a shade further, betting Over the 3.5 line would currently return a top price of 21/10 with SportNation.

As for the Correct Score, we expect this will be tight: We’ve mentioned the probable interest in the draw so you could look to take a 2-2 outcome at best odds of 12/1 with BetFred. Alternatively, a 2-1 win to Spurs is available at 37/4 with 10Bet while the same scoreline in favour of Manchester United can be picked up at a best of 10/1 with 10Bet once again.

Dangerman

We’ve mentioned that Marcus Rashford carries the shortest price for United in the individual goal scorer markets but how is the forward shaping up this year? Stats are certainly healthy with ten goals in 19 overall matches and that tally includes seven in 14 in the Premier League.

We therefore look to have identified an obvious dangerman but there is that concern over Martial if he starts the game. The French international has three goals in nine EPL games this season but he does make important contributions at times and memories of that winner at Old Trafford in 2017/18 remain fresh.

Head to Head

tottenhamWednesday night’s game will be the 192nd meeting between these two famous sides and it’s fair to say that Manchester United have enjoyed the upper hand. Of the previous 191, the Red Devils have won 91, Spurs have claimed victory in 52 games and there have been 42 draws.

A barren spell at the start of the century didn’t help. From the start of the 2001/02 season, Tottenham went 26 games without a win before a memorable 3-2 victory at Old Trafford in September 2012. Since then, there has been a better balance between the two and the last eight games in all competitions show four victories for each side.

Verdict

The suggestion of a draw has come up a number of times in this preview but we suspect there will be a winner. Spurs are returning to form while United have been quiet so far this season but there is enough attacking talent to swing this one way or the other.

We’ll start with our obvious tip of Both Teams to Score. We mentioned that the stats are good in this respect and odds of 4/6 are actually quite generous under the circumstances. As for our regular, goal scorer tip, we’ll opt for Lucas Moura who scored twice in this fixture at the start of last season. We’d be happier if we knew that the Brazilian was starting the game but even from the bench, there is some value in his anytime goal odds of 17/4.

As for the result, we just don’t want to jinx it so we’ll take our semi-regular bet of a one-goal winning margin for either side which is on offer this time at 13/10 with Betway. Based on form it should go our way and a tight 2-1 finish would be more than satisfying.

Best Bets:

  • Both Teams to Score at 4/6 with William Hill
  • Winning Margin of One Goal to Either Side at 13/10 with Betway
  • Lucas Moura to score any time at 14/5 with 888Sport

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