On this edition of Pundits Roundtable, Tomiwa Ojo is joined by seasoned pundits Ivan Dougan and Tope Adepoju to preview Sunday’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Tottenham.
Jose Mourinho will be looking to get one over his former side at Old Trafford. Our pundits sank their teeth into it.
GB: It has not been a convincing start to the season for both sides. How do you expect both coaches to approach this tactically?
Ivan: I expect Ole to continue with the trend of ceding possession against the big teams and relying on the pace of his forwards and passing range, creativity of his midfielders. However, Jose Mourinho as well wouldn’t mind doing same so, tactically, both managers could have the same game plan.
Tomiwa: I expect both sides to deploy a defence first approach. They will both want to play on the counter. I expect it to be decided by fine margins – like set pieces. I hope we won’t be treated to a bore fest. I expect the first half to be cagey, we may see a more expansive second half.
Tope: I think United will probably edge the midfield battle which means they will probably control the game a little bit more.However, it will be interesting to see how they can break Spurs’ defence.
Jose Mourinho on the other hand usually set up his team to keep his opponents at bay especially in the away fixtures while banking on the likes of Kane and Son to do the damage on the break.
GB: How do you see the absence of Son Heung Min affecting Spurs? Considering he is their topscorer in the PL this season.
Ivan: He’s going to be a huge miss. He creates, scores, puts in a good shift defensively and has the ability to determine the outcome of a game. They will lack some bite going forward and his early season partnership with Kane has been good. His absence could set Spurs back.
Tomiwa: He will be a big miss. Very important for Mourinho’s men, especially when they set up to play on the counter. Kane could cut a lonely figure without him. However with the likes of maybe Bergwijn or Moura expected to replace him, they could have their days as we have seen in the past.
Tope: 4 goals against Southampton, formed a decent partnership with Harry Kane. Of course Son’s absence is a huge miss for Tottenham.
He would have been licking his lips at the prospect of facing Wan Bissaka who has been poor this season. In Son’s absence, Steven Bergwijn might be deputising.
The Dutchman has had sparks here and there but hasn’t been consistent. Hopefully he seizes his opportunity on Sunday.
GB: Solskjaer replaced Mourinho at United. Do you think United have really improved under Solskjaer?
Ivan: United haven’t really improved under Ole.
Tomiwa: I don’t think much has changed, apart from the’Manchester United family’ liking Ole more. The difference is like that between half of a dozen and six.
Tope: Finishing 33 points behind Liverpool and losing out in the semi finals of the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League is no improvement.
GB: Key battles.
Ivan: Kane vs Maguire and Lindelof, Doherty vs Rashford, Bruno vs Dier.
Tomiwa: Kane vs Lindelof/Bailly, Kane will fancy playing off the shoulder of whoever Ole chooses to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence. I expect him to come in from the left to his right foot often. Greenwood vs Reguillon will also be interesting to watch.
Tope: Horgberg v Bruno Fernandes.
Signing Horgberg was a smart buy for Spurs. The Lilywhites have been screaming for a player who can protect the back line, win the 50/ 50 balls and give the team some sort of balance and he has been good but seeing him up against United most creative player in Bruno Fernandes will be very keen to see.
The Portuguese can also score goals. Should be an interesting battle.
GB: Call it
Ivan: A draw.
Tomiwa: A bore draw.
Tope: Man United 1 – 1 Spurs