Manchester United will be facing their biggest test of 2018. Symbolically, the test will occur on the last day of January, but it should provide a good indicator about United’s current situation. The rival will be Tottenham Hotspur and the two sides will be coming into the match in different mood.
The Devils still have not conceded a single goal in 2018, beating five opponents in as many matches. The unbeaten streak is one match longer and the atmosphere at the club has been improving on a daily basis. United are not only winning their matches, but also managed to sign Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The mood is very positive and the situation is drastically different to the one from a month and a half ago, after the Manchester Derby loss.
Tottenham Are Struggling In 2018
However, Tottenham are in a quite different moment in the season. Since the campaign started they have seldom looked like the team from last season. Spurs have been more reliant on Harry Kane’s goalscoring form than they were in most part of the last term, when the Englishman got injured on two separate occasions.
Mauricio Pochettino was angry at his players after they drew 1-1 at Newport County in fourth round of the FA Cup. Spurs were playing with practically their best side and still managed to trail the League 2 side for most of the match. The Argentine’s anger was backed with team’s poor results in 2018.
Spurs have played six matches and drew on three occasions. The teams they failed to beat were West Ham, Southampton and Newport County and the performance of their key players, like Dele Alli, were not at the necessary levels. Having in mind how horrible Spurs’ schedule is in the next month or so, Pochettino must be feeling itchy ahead of the clash against Manchester United.
After the match this Wednesday, Tottenham will face Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus (twice) in their next eight matches. Having in mind that this rocky road for them starts against Manchester United and you will understand why the situation is tough for the London club.
Things Are Looking Much Better At Manchester United
Looking at Manchester United, things are looking much rosier than six weeks ago. Alexis Sanchez is expected to play for the team for the first time in Premier League and that should lead to better chance creation from the team. The Chilean is magnificent in making those around him looking better and his incredible drive will certainly help United. And that could be very much needed, as United’s expected goals (xG) are decreasing in recent matches.
The 2-0 match against Everton was a perfect example how United managed to earn a comfortable win in an evenly matched clash. While that also goes to show Man United are able to winning matches when they are not at their best – something they were unable to do often in Mourinho’s first season – it is also obvious that such performances should not be replicated. On a longer term, that is not sustainable. The Devils need to be creating better chances – something they have already improved this season – but the appetites are getting bigger, especially since Sanchez’s arrival.