The 2019-20 Premier League season restarted after a three-month disruption on Wednesday evening with an underwhelming but controversial 0-0 draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
Chris Wilder’s side missed out on the opportunity to overtake us with their game in hand, leaving us in fifth heading into Friday night’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
Victory for Manchester United in North London would see us move into the Champions League places ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Aston Villa on Sunday. For those confident in an away win, our odds are currently 7/5 which can be backed for free if you get the Paddy Power betting promo code from this website.
There are three points between the two of us with nine games remaining. We’re both in the FA Cup quarter-finals too and most of our remaining Premier League fixtures are against bottom half sides.
If there had been no disruption back in March then we may have finished the season in the top four given our form and Chelsea’s dip. We had won three of our last four in the Premier League whilst Frank Lampard’s side had won just two of their last seven, including our2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in mid-February.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a fully fit squad to work with heading into our first match back, with notable recoveries from injuries for Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. The former is our top scorer so far this season and scored both goals in our 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford to begin December.
Spurs will be without Dele Alli through suspension tomorrow. The midfielder scored their only goal in the aforementioned previous meeting between the two of us.
Jose Mourinho could also be without Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso as both are currently listed as doubtful due to fitness issues.
Spurs made a poor to start to the season under Mauricio Pochettino which saw the manager, who took them to a shock appearance in the Champions League final last season, dismissed. His replacement had initially made a good start before things dropped off. They head into the final nine games four points behind us and seven points outside of the top four.
Victory for Manchester United to restart the domestic action would be huge and give us great confidence of finishing in the top four. After this game, we host Sheffield United in our first game at Old Trafford since 8 March when we beat Manchester City 2-0 in the derby. The Blades will have already played two games by this point, and whilst we will have five days’ break since our first game back, the Blades will have had only three days since facing Newcastle United. This could and should play in our favour.
After that our fixture list gets a bit hectic. Three days after hosting Sheffield United we are away to Norwich City in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Daniel Farke’s side will be bottom of the Premier League when it restarts but host both Southampton and Everton. There’s no reason why they can’t pick up points from both of those games, and what’s more, they will have no problems travelling and be used to their empty stadium setting.
Our third Premier League game back will be away to struggling Brighton & Hove Albion. This comes just three days after our FA Cup tie, whilst the Seagulls will have had a full week off having already been eliminated from the domestic cup. Although they have two tough games before us – Arsenal and Leicester City, they are scrapping for their lives at the bottom and the additional rest should give them a big advantage.
Because of our involvement in the FA Cup there will be little respite between games for us, but fortunately, we do have a lot of depth, which should favour us against the lesser sides. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rotated his side well all season so this shouldn’t be a problem for him to navigate.
I am confident that going into July we will still be challenging for the top four, if not in the driver’s seat, and in the FA Cup semi-finals…