Although there are sure to still be one or two more additions to the squad, it has already been an extremely encouraging transfer window for Manchester United. Morgan Schneiderlin arrives to shore up the midfield.
Bastian Schweinsteiger brings class and experience and Memphis Depay offers a cutting edge going forwards.
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At the time of writing Pedro’s transfer from Barcelona appears to be imminent and the Spaniard’s arrival would bring yet another dimension to Louis van Gaal’s offensive options.
Results in pre-season have also, generally, been fairly encouraging. A tour of the United States produced wins against Club America (1-0), San Jose Earthquakes (1-0) and Barcelona (3-1), before a slightly disconcerting defeat to PSG (2-0).
Probably the only genuine downside to United’s summer so far has been the ongoing and as yet unresolved saga surrounding David de Gea’s future. A move to Real Madrid has been mooted throughout the course of the last few months and Van Gaal has admitted the Spaniard is not mentally ready to play, meaning it will probably be Sergio Romero between the sticks this Saturday. United can ill afford to lose their best player from last season, but all concerned will want the matter resolved one way or another before long.
United look sufficiently equipped to challenge for the Premier League title offensively, but I’m yet to be convinced that they’re defensively strong enough to do so.
Spurs have been worryingly quiet in the transfer market so far this summer with only Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier, all defenders, joining the club. One could argue that with Harry Kane’s goals they may not need to strengthen too much offensively, but with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor as the only other recognised strikers in the squad (and the latter not in the manager’s plans) that’s a lot of pressure to place on the shoulders of the young Englishman. And with Kane now reportedly the subject of a significant offer from Manchester United, they really could be left scrambling around in the final few weeks of the transfer window.
Pre-season has been a bit of a mixed bag for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Post-season wins against Malaysia and Sydney FC were overshadowed by subsequent defeats to an MLS All Star team and Real Madrid, before a second-string XI beat AC Milan. One also has to question the merits of playing back-to-back games, albeit with different starting XIs, against Madrid then Milan as recently as Tuesday-Wednesday of this week.
Although Spurs finished a position higher in the Premier League last season compared to the previous campaign, they amassed fewer points and, aside from the emergence of that man Kane, showed limited signs of improvement.
While most others have strengthened in the transfer market this summer, Spurs are yet do so on any significant level and unless they pull off two or three big deals in the next few weeks I believe this could be a tough season for The Lilywhites.
At 1.67 the home side look to be a fair price, although backing them at such odds is not a bet that I’d get particularly excited about. There is also an argument to say that Spurs are too big a price at odds of 6.20 and perhaps United’s plethora of new faces will take some time to gel as a unit; it’s not a belief that I subscribe to, but I do see that it has some credibility.
If you really feel that you want to have a play on this market then I’d advise a small stakes bet on the draw at odds of 4.10 – three of the last five meetings between these two clubs have finished level.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Now this is a market where I do feel that there could be some value. United kept only two clean sheets in their final ten home games of last season, and with a defence that is potentially weaker – if De Gea doesn’t play – and at best no better, they could be vulnerable at the back.
If Tottenham are feeling the effects of the two midweek friendlies in Munich and all the travelling that entailed, United may run riot. But if Kane is on his game – the goal against the MLS Allstars suggested he might be – then he should get enough opportunities against this questionable United defence. Either way, 1.90 on there being at least three in the game looks a good bet.
Wayne Rooney is expected to lead the line for Manchester United this season, or at least until a new central striker is brought to the club, and we should back the club captain to cash in this weekend. Against Spurs Rooney has a solid record of 10 goals in his last 14 games, including one in this fixture from last season, while he is also likely to be on penalty duty. Take some of the 2.30 on the Englishman to score anytime in the game.
3pts Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90
United kept only two clean sheets in their final ten home games of last season, and with a defence that is potentially weaker – if De Gea doesn’t play – and at best no better, they could be vulnerable at the back