Paul Pogba.

Anticipation builds for United's team to face Spurs

Thursday 18 June 2020 14:11

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has remained tight-lipped about his Manchester United team to face Tottenham Hotspur, understandably, which has only added to the anticipation for the huge Premier League match.

The boss revealed in his pre-match press conference that Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are set to miss out through injury, but the squad is otherwise in rude health with plenty of options available. 

Many fans are desperate to learn if Paul Pogba will return to action following his six-month absence and a poll within our Official App asks how the Frenchman might be involved in North London, with 58 per cent guessing he will start and another 39 per cent believing he’ll come off the bench (at the time of writing).  

The same question is asked about fit-again Marcus Rashford and the response from supporters so far is much more conclusive, with 83 per cent of Official App users predicting he will start against Spurs.

Of course, before the three-month break from football, Solskjaer’s United were enjoying an 11-match unbeaten run across all competitions and the performance in the last Premier League match – a 2-0 victory over Manchester City at Old Trafford – was arguably the best of the season so far. 

Ole’s starting XI that night consisted of De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Williams, Fred, Matic, Fernandes, James and Martial. So will he retain or rotate it against Tottenham? In another poll published in our Official App, 72 per cent of users predicted Solskjaer will freshen things up.
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In Wednesday’s episode of our popular series, which you can watch below, the panel of former United players all speculated over who might start at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday night…

Ben Thornley’s predicted XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; Martial, Ighalo, Rashford. 

Explaining the side: “I must admit I did think about us playing with three at the back, but I’m sticking to my guns and I've gone with De Gea in goal, then a back four from right to left of Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw instead of Williams, but it was a close call. Then it’s a midfield two of McTominay and Fred. I think Pogba has to work for his place and we all know what a tremendous asset he is, so if not on Friday he will be back very soon. Then I've got Bruno just sitting in front, with a forward three of Martial on the right, Rashford on the left and Ighalo in the middle, because at a place like Spurs you need somebody who is able to make the ball stick when it goes up there. It is a big pitch, we've got some really good passers of the ball and we need to get people in and around him. He's shown that he's a really useful asset at that, so that's my team.”

Danny Webber’s predicted XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; James, Martial, Rashford.

Explaining the side: “I have gone with the same back five as Ben. My preferred midfield trio would be Pogba, Fernandes and McTominay, I actually think that on this occasion, because Fred does a lot of the dirty work and the ratting work, we are going to end that in the middle of the park and I think he will sit with Scott, giving the freedom to Fernandes. I disagree with Ben about the front three – if you play Martial, Rashford and Ighalo from the start then you don’t have a striker to come on and change the game if it isn’t going well late on. So I think Ole will play two of them and I think we’ll see Ighalo late on. So I do see Dan James starting and being effective, used in the right way, because he’s a massive threat and he does a lot of work getting back.”

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David May’s predicted XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; Martial, Rashford.

Explaining the side: “I’ve gone with three at the back - or a back five depending on how you look at it - with Bailly, Lindelof and Maguire, and with Wan-Bissaka and Shaw as the wing-backs. Then I’ve got Scott and Fred, with Bruno floating as a no.10, with Marcus and Martial up top. I just think we were in such a great vein of form before the break that it would be really tough to leave Fred out, because he was absolutely flying with Bruno and Scott. They were fantastic at that time. Fred is the one who is going to break everything up, he covers so much ground and for that I think he will start. Nine months out for Paul is hard – a proper matchday is your bread and butter, so I think we can bring him on if he needs to be brought on.”

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