Match preview: Tottenham Hotspur v United
Manchester United hope to finish January on a high by continuing the 100 per cent winning run in 2018, when facing Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night.
Setting the scene: From the humble surroundings of Huish Park to the glamorous stage of Wembley Stadium, Manchester United switch focus back to the Premier League for a crucial midweek clash against Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds make the trip to the capital looking to continue a 100 per cent winning run in 2018 (without conceding a goal) and extend the unbeaten run in the top flight to nine games. Victory would also move Jose Mourinho's men 11 points clear of fifth-placed Spurs in the table. Both sides experienced contrasting fortunes when taking on League Two clubs away from home in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round at the weekend, with United easing past Yeovil Town with a 4-0 win on Friday night before Spurs drew 1-1 against lowly Newport County.
How can I follow the game? Wednesday's 20:00 GMT kick-off will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK. Subscribers to MUTV can watch the build-up from 18:00 GMT on the Match Day show. Radio commentary of the game is also available, and the full game will be shown at midnight on Thursday.
Any team news? Alexis Sanchez could make his first Premier League appearance for United after a Man-of-the-Match display at Yeovil, while captain Michael Carrick could be in contention for a first league top-flight outing of the season (against his former club) after returning at Huish Park. Jose Mourinho told MUTV there are no new injuries to contend with and admitted he has a positive selection headache. He also gave an update on last season’s top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been working on his match fitness. For Spurs, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen are set to return after missing the last two games through illness, while Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Erik Lamela (gluteus muscle) have also returned to training but are likely to stay on the sidelines for the game along with Serge Aurier (calf) and Harry Winks (ankle).
All eyes on Alexis… After an impressive showing against Yeovil, our new no.7 is looking to build on his positive debut on a ground where he has a good record. The Chilean has scored seven goals at Wembley – including on his last appearance in Arsenal's FA Cup final victory over Chelsea last May, having missed the Gunners' Community Shield win over the same opponents on penalties at the start of this season through injury. He is bound to receive a hostile reception from Spurs fans as a former Arsenal player, but the national stadium is a fitting stage for the 29-year-old to make his Premier League debut for United.
How have Spurs been doing? Tottenham have stuttered to successive 1-1 draws in their last two games against Newport and Southampton, following emphatic home wins over AFC Wimbledon and Everton. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in six league matches since a 4-1 defeat at leaders Manchester City in mid-December as they chase down Liverpool, who are two points ahead of them in fourth.
What happened in the previous meeting? Both teams were locked level on points heading into the clash at Old Trafford at the end of October, when a tight game in the driving rain was decided by substitute Anthony Martial’s late finish – which was later voted our Goal of the Month – as the Reds prevailed 1-0.
What's our record like against them? Historically, United have a strong record against the north London club, registering 88 wins and 49 draws in 187 previous meetings in all competitions stretching back as far as 1899. In more recent times, United have won 33 of the teams’ 51 Premier League encounters, with Spurs managing just seven wins and there have been 11 draws. The Reds are in fact unbeaten in five of the previous seven league meetings between the sides, and plan to earn maximum points against Spurs in the same Premier League season for the first time since 2011/12.
An historic occasion… For the first time in our history, United will play a Premier League game at Wembley Stadium - which is Tottenham's temporary home while a new ground is built at White Hart Lane. It's also our 50th match at the national stadium overall, with the record to date standing at 22 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats – scoring 73 goals and conceding 55 in the process.
One to watch… He may have missed the Old Trafford encounter earlier in the season through injury, but Harry Kane will be fit and raring to go for Spurs on Wednesday. The records have been tumbling all season long for the irrepressible frontman, who made it 34 goals in as many games for club and country in 2017/18 with his late equaliser against Newport last weekend. The 24-year-old, who netted his first goal against United at White Hart Lane last term, has had the most shots of any player in the Premier League this campaign (133) and the Reds defence will need to keep him quiet.
Defensively sound… United boast a formidable record at the back, having not conceded a goal since the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley on Boxing Day. No team has conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season than United (16) and no goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets than David De Gea (14).
Who is the referee? As he was for our last visit to Wembley 11 months ago, Andre Marriner will be in the middle for Wednesday’s game. The 47-year-old will officiate his fourth United match of the season after handling both of our victories over Everton and last month’s 3-1 win at Arsenal. He’ll be assisted by Scott Ledger and Simon Beck, with Graham Scott on fourth official duties.
Rivals Watch: There’s a full midweek Premier League programme. Here’s the full fixture list…
Tuesday 30 January (19:45 GMT unless stated)
Swansea City v Arsenal
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
Huddersfield Town v Liverpool (20:00 GMT)
Wednesday 31 January (19:45 GMT unless stated)
Chelsea v Bournemouth
Everton v Leicester City
Newcastle United v Burnley
Southampton v Brighton & Hove Albion
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion (20:00 GMT)
Stoke City v Watford (20:00 GMT)
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United (20:00 GMT)