Here is everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United’s first Premier League match in 2024.
Man United will have two players at the Africa Cup of Nations, but for this match, only one of them is expected to be out – Sofyan Amrabat has already joined the Morocco squad ahead of the tournament’s start, while Andre Onana is expected to be in goal for this match and then immediately travel to Ivory Coast. As for the other players Erik Ten Hag will have to do without are the still injured Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and now even Luke Shaw. But there are more problems. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are out due to groin injuries, Antony has a hamstring issue, while Tyrell Malacia is still out due to a knee problem. Mason Mount has a calf problem that keeps bothering him, while Anthony Martial is out due to illness. Good news are that Christian Eriksen and Amad Diallo have recovered from their illness.
On the other side of the pitch, Tottenham will have to be without Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma due to AFCON, but also without Son Heung-min, who is set to represent South Korea in the Asian Cup. Also, Eric Dier has joined Bayern Munich after nine years at Spurs, but they did bring in new faces. Radu Dragusin joined in defence, Timo Werner will improve options in attack. The list of injured players at Spurs is still long – Ben Davies, Giovani Lo Celso, James Maddison, Manor Solomon, Alejo Veliz, Dane Scarlett and Ivan Perisic are all out due to various injuries.
Man United have won their only match of 2024, but they are far from being an in-form side. Sitting in eighth place of the Premier League standings with mere 31 points from 20 matches, United had just two wins in the whole of December. Beating Chelsea and Aston Villa were great wins at Old Trafford, but they were all immediately followed by some more poor results. Losses against Bournemouth 3-0, West Ham 2-0 and Nottingham Forest 2-1 were particular lows for the Red Devils in the last month. In the year opener in the FA Cup third round match, United defeated Wigan 2-0 on Monday night and qualified for the next round, but now they have the most important match of the month ahead of them.
Tottenham Hotspur, on the other side, are the team in great form and a side that is showing much progress this season under Ange Postecoglou. In their last six matches, Spurs have five wins and a solitary loss to Brighton 4-2. But in the process, they defeated Newcastle 4-1, Nottingham Forest 2-0, Everton 2-1, Bournemouth 3-1 and Burnley 1-0. From five of those wins, they defeated three sides which already managed to beat United this season. They sit in fifth place with 39 points, just one behind Arsenal and Manchester City, and three points behind second-placed Aston Villa.
Considering everything, we expect Manchester United to get a 2-1 win against Tottenham. The Devils have shown this season they know how to surprise the good sides at Old Trafford, before stumbling against weaker sides away from home. Do not be surprised if this weakened Tottenham side ends their good streak of results on Sunday.