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#Men'sFirstTeam #PremierLeague #PreMatch #ManUtd

Notebook – Spurs v Manchester United

Fri 29 October 2021, 20:00|Tottenham Hotspur

It’s a huge Premier League clash at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening as we host Manchester United (5.30pm kick-off).

Here in the Notebook, take a look at all the game’s key points of note…

1 - Home reverse

Recently in this fixture, it has been the away side that has been left smiling come the end of the 90 minutes. In the last six Premier League games between the two teams, only once has the home side taken all three points, with Manchester United coming out on top at Old Trafford in December, 2019.

In that period, United have also defeated us at Wembley (1-0 in January, 2019) and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (3-1 in April of this year), although we did break the pattern in June, 2020, as the Red Devils had to salvage a late point at our N17 home with a 1-1 draw in the first game back following the initial coronavirus lockdown. At Old Trafford, meanwhile, we have been victorious in two of our last three visits (3-0 in August, 2018, and 6-1 in October, 2020).

2 - United slump

It has been a rough few weeks for visitors United with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side having lost three of their last four Premier League games and drawn the other. That run began with a home double as United fell to a 1-0 defeat against Aston Villa before drawing 1-1 with Everton. Their record 29-game unbeaten away run then came to a crushing end against Leicester City as they fell to a 4-2 reverse at the King Power Stadium before Liverpool humbled them on their own turf with a 5-0 win. They have not lost three games in a row in the top flight since December, 2015, when they succumbed to Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke in quick succession.

3 - Record unbeaten away run ended

As aforementioned, Manchester United’s run of 29 unbeaten games on the road, a record in English football, came to an end in their last outing away from home – a 4-2 defeat to Leicester City. They last lost back-to-back away games immediately prior to that run, starting with defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool in January, 2020.

4 - Defensive difficulties

So far this October, United have conceded 10 goals in the Premier League (one versus Everton, four versus Leicester and five versus Liverpool). Only twice before have they conceded more than 10 goals in a single calendar month – 11 in October, 1996, and then again in December, 2018. They have also conceded at least four goals in their last two league games – they last conceded four-plus goals in three consecutive games in December, 1961.

5 - Son’s United run

Heung-Min Son has been the man behind the goals in our recent counters with Manchester United. In the South Korean international’s last two appearances against them, he has been involved in five goals (three scored, one assisted).

6 - Greenwood’s strikes on the road

Mason Greenwood is the man in form for the visitors, when it comes to away games. The young forward has scored five goals in his last seven away outings for the Red Devils.

7 - Home comforts

Making your home a fortress is the aim of every team and, in recent months, we have slowly started to do just that at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. In our last 12 games at home, we have won nine of those matches. In total, we have won 43 of our 66 games at our north London home since it opened in April, 2019 (65 per cent win record).

8 - Duel of the fates

This season, we have won the most duels across all 20 teams in the Premier League, having come out on top in 996 contests. Manchester United, meanwhile, have won the least in the competition with 791.

9 - Team news – Gil to be assessed

The fitness of Bryan Gil is to be assessed ahead of our clash with United. The summer arrival from Sevilla was forced off with an injury in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Burnley, but Nuno Espirito Santo would not rule the winger out of the meeting with Solskjaer’s men. Ryan Sessegnon, however, remains sidelined.

10 - Nuno – Improvements are being seen

Head Coach Nuno spoke about improvements he has noticed in our performances as he addressed questions from the national and local media in his pre-match press conference. Highlighting our control of the ball in recent games, Nuno admits he’s been happy with the possession we have enjoyed, however, the boss feels we need to be doing more to make our dominance in games count. Meanwhile, despite conceding from a set-piece last time out in the league against West Ham, he has been pleased with our defensive showings.

“Possession (wise), we've been able to increase our moments with the ball,” he explained. “We need to improve on when we have the ball in the final third to create better lines, better combinations that can finish in goals, chances, shots and crosses. But we are improving on being more compact, we are playing close to each other, so the possession has been good.

“In terms of defensive aspects, we have been solid, and we have to see the set pieces that really caused us a problem in the Premier League game against West Ham, but we improved against Burnley. We didn't concede too many chances and defensively we were spot on. This is how we work. Sometimes we improve things, some things don't go so well, and we go again. We keep persisting because we want to be a better team.”