Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur: Potential XI with three at the back

by Leo Nieboer

Following their disappointing attacking performance at Anfield, Manchester United need to demonstrate a capacity for dominating top sides against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s men have made a positive start to the 2017/18 campaign, claiming 11 wins from their first 15 games, but question marks continue to loom over whether they swipe aside top four rivals with the same ruthlessness displayed by Manchester City against both Liverpool and Chelsea.

And with Harry Kane injured and United returning to Old Trafford for the first time in nearly a month, there isn’t a better time to do exactly that against Spurs.

With that in mind, here is Mourinho’s strongest XI for the clash with Mauricio Pochettino’s side.



Spurs centre their attacking strategy around Serge Aurier and Kieran Trippier pinning back opponent full-backs, forcing the back four deeper than they would like, before letting the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli inflict damage in the space create, with Son Heung-min dragging centre backs all over the place as a second striker.

This is why Mourinho, in turn, needs to stop Spurs at the source and put Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia up against their wings backs, man to man, and drive the current the other way, ensuring their creative players don’t receive as much time or space to pour forward.

United cannot allow Spurs to gain an early foothold in this game; Pochettino’s men can bypass most teams with their raw aggression and plenty of thought, therefore, needs to go into how the home side sets up structurally – as well as mentally – on Saturday.

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