In Review

Tottenham vs. Man Utd preview: team news and possible starting XIs

Focus will be on managers Pochettino and Solskjaer at Wembley

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United
  • What: Premier League matchday 22 
  • When: Sunday 13 January 
  • Where: Wembley Stadium, London 
  • Kick-off: 4.30pm UK time 
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports

Sunday’s Premier League encounter between Tottenham and Manchester United will be intriguing for both the action on the pitch and on the sidelines.

While a third-versus-sixth clash would usually be enough to get the headlines, it’s the managers in either dugout who are getting the most focus.

On one side you have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United’s current caretaker boss, and on the other you Mauricio Pochettino, the possible next United permanent manager.

Following Jose Mourinho’s sacking last month Solskjaer was placed in interim charge at Old Trafford. He will remain caretaker until May while United’s board search for a full-time appointment in the summer.

After five wins in a row, Solskjaer has said that he wants the job full-time. However, Tottenham manager Pochettino remains as one of the leading candidates along with Zinedine Zidane and Massimiliano Allegri.

When asked about Pochettino, Norwegian Solskjaer told the BBC: “It’s not my job to rate different managers but he has done a very good job. The speculation is there for a reason.”

United will attack

The Red Devils have impressed with five successive victories under Solskjaer, but Spurs will present his toughest challenge so far.

Despite Tottenham’s strength Solskjaer has vowed that United will go for the victory at Wembley. He told The Daily Telegraph: “You always adapt to any opponent, they are one of the best in the league so we have to be aware of their strengths but I have been brought up… we need to attack teams.

“That is our strength - going forward, attacking. We are not going to get as many chances to attack against these as we had before so when we have the ball we have to be ready to play well with it and we have to use the whole pitch because Wembley is a decent size pitch as well.”

Motivation for the managers?

Despite the rumours Pochettino says there will not be any added motivation for him or Solskjaer on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “The motivation always is going to be there - when you are a manager, when you are a coach, you cannot be focused on all the rumours. The most important is the motivation that we have to do our job in the best way.

“Manchester is going to come on Sunday to try and win. For him, it is a massive challenge to manage Manchester United.

“Of course always the motivation is to win, because we are so competitive. In the Premier League, the motivation is always there.”

Team news and possible starting XIs

Tottenham team news

The London Evening Standard reports that England international Eric Dier could feature for the first time since 8 December.

Mousa Dembele is also back in training, but the Standard says the Belgian is unlikely to play for the club again amid transfer speculation from China. Victor Wanyama remains sidelined.

Forward Lucas Moura will be assessed before Sunday’s fixture and defender Jan Vertonghen is set to return after a thigh problem.

Man Utd team news

Solskjaer has confirmed that midfielder Paul Pogba will be fit to play after returning from injury. The Frenchman missed the FA Cup win against Reading but trained with the squad this week.

Goal.com reports that Alexis Sanchez is also available and fit to play after limping off in the cup last weekend.

Marcos Rojo remains on the injury list, fellow defender Chris Smalling has an ankle issue and Eric Bailly is suspended. Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones should start in the centre of defence.

Possible starting XIs

How the team could line up on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, according to the London Evening Standard.

  • Tottenham possible starting XI (4-4-2): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose; Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele Alli; Son, Kane
  • Man Utd possible starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Sanchez

This weekend’s Premier League fixtures

Saturday 12 January (3pm unless stated)
  • West Ham United vs. Arsenal (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Liverpool 
  • Burnley vs. Fulham 
  • Cardiff City vs. Huddersfield Town 
  • Crystal Palace vs. Watford 
  • Leicester City vs. Southampton 
  • Chelsea vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 13 January
  • Everton vs. AFC Bournemouth (2.15pm, live on Sky Sports
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 14 January
  • Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (8pm, live on Sky Sports)

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