Manchester United’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday is huge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Reds began a crucial six days with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Aston Villa; the second time Solskjaer’s men have dropped points against a newly promoted side in the space of a week.
Many United fans feel the results in the next two games against Spurs and Manchester City on Saturday are imperative for Solskjaer in keeping his job.
Here’s three things to watch out for at Old Trafford on Wednesday night:
We expect the new Spurs boss to receive a warm reception from United fans, a year after being relieved from his duties at Old Trafford. The Portuguese boss won the League Cup and Europa League during his time at the club, and there is certainly a respect between Mourinho and the United fanbase.
“I expect there is respect shown towards me, but I understand what they want is exactly the opposite of what I want — I want Tottenham to win, during the match of course I expect them to forget me, and I expect them to support their team and try and get the result they want,” Mourinho said in the buildup (via Eurosport).
He will, however, come with a point to prove and a game plan to expose United’s weaknesses in which he knows all too well.
Solskjaer’s midfield selection
We hope Scott McTominay has recovered from his ankle injury and is back to full fitness on Wednesday. His return should finally see Solskjaer drop Andreas Pereira from the starting eleven. It almost seems as if the United boss has turned a blind eye to the 23-year-old’s performances in recent weeks. Pereira has been given chance after chance in a number of positions this season and undoubtedly tries his best, but the quality is simply not there.
If Solskjaer operates with a five-at-the-back formation (which failed against Sheffield United), then Fred and McTominay should start in midfield. Alternatively, a more traditional three in midfield may see Jesse Lingard given the chance to start in the number 10 role, with Juan Mata largely ineffective against Aston Villa.
In-form Dele Alli
The 23-year-old lost his way at Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino, subsequently losing his place in Gareth Southgate’s England team. But the midfielder has been reinvigorated by the arrival of Jose Mourinho.
Alli has scored three goals in his last two games with Mourinho’s side wracking up ten goals in victories over West Ham, Olympiakos and Bournemouth. In what should be the toughest test of Mourinho’s reign so far, we expect the Portuguese tactician to maintain his selection of the dangerous front four of Alli, Lucas Moura, Heung Min Son and Harry Kane. United will have to be aware of Alli finding space between the lines and looking to pick out his forwards.