The first game of the season and anything can happen. Opening day didn’t go well last year for the home side, and surely Man Utd coach Louis van Gaal does not want to repeat that defeat when they lost to Swansea City at Old Trafford. But going into tomorrow’s match there are many points of concerns for the coach. One issue might be that David de Gea will not play and to replace his No1 van Gaal only has the untested Sam Johnstone or Sergio Romero. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the star central midfield who signed this summerm, is not match-ready and, if Wayne Rooney was to get injured, Van Gaal has only Javier Hernández or James Wilson to replace his central striker. £230m has been invested in the team over van Gaal’s 12 months in charge, which the manager has carefully overseen. It will be a black mark on his face now if they lose at home to Tottenham after all that preperation and hype.
And the chances of that happening are not as small as some might believe. There are a few major reasons why Tottenham should be confident ahead of their trip to Old Trafford and might take home the win.
A major cause for concern is that United’s defence is unreliable. Many local experts have criticised the Red Devils’s defence in pre-season as it was once again brought into question right into pregame. A highlight for them was that Chris Smalling became a surprise performer last season with impressive defensive performances. But Luke Shaw was injured for most of last season and Phil Jones was under a lot of scrutiny, as there were many instances that United’s defence became unreliable. Manager van Gaal played the 4-2-3-1 formation during pre-season but told media that he will adopt a 4-3-3 for the game tomorrow, and if successful, also for the remainder of the season. Daley Blind might get a chance to play at centre-half for this season’s campaign. Harry Kane will also have to take hs game up a notch. However, the most important issue that remains under a question mark is who will start in goals on Saturday? Some local media has reported that Van Gaal may give Sergio Romero a chance to prove himself. Why? Because there has been some concern over goal keeper David De Gea, that starting him might be troublesome as he will lack the focus required for an afternoon kick off. Rumours have De Gea wanting to sign for the Spanish giants Real Madrid and that can’t be good for team morale so he’s not playing. Tottenham, if they are wily can capitalise on that and take all three points.
Harry Kane can also be a major factor in tomorrow’s game. Last season, he scored 24 goals. The 21-year-old has lived up to the hype and expectations surrounding the news of acquiring him, and can easily do damage against Manchester United. He Tottenham’s star man, he’s the Spurs’ hitman and every opposing defender knows that if he is given any time and room in the box he will probably put the ball at the back of the net. He has a great shot to goal ratio, and is excellent in creating chances for his team-mates. United’s faulty defence will need to be on top of him to avoid having him score in the opening day of the Premier League.
Frenchman, Hugo Lloris might also play on Saturday after returning from a wrist injury. Getting their number one goalkeeper back is the perfect boost Tottenham needs to go marching in and set up a victory. He has proven time and again to be one of the best stopper’s in the Premier League and that can’t sound good for Man Utd. Lloris is a solid shot-stopper and can easily keep United off the score sheet on Saturday. He has a commanding presence and his cpataincy rallies his defence, the Spurs overall just seem more at ease when the 28-year-old goal minder is playing. Yes, Tottenham do have huge test on Saturday against United, but with the possibility of Lloris coming back looking more certain, since his play in the pre-season friendly against AC Milan, it gave the Spurs a confidence that he’ll be primed for Saturday’s clash. In the friendly, Lloris didn’t show any signs of discomfort when catching or punching. He might just be that deciding factor that tilts the scales in the Spurs favour. We think so.
Our Pick: Tottenham over Manchester, 1-0