Juventus preparing moves for Arsenal and Chelsea playmakers – report

Juventus are looking to raid the Premier League for some of its best playmaking talents with Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs stars all reportedly being targeted by the Italian giants.

Italian media outlet Calciomercato claims Juventus sporting director Fabio Guild has been in London in recent days as he is looking to sign Chelsea star Oscar, with Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil also a major target.

Oscar has long been linked with a move to the Serie A giants and Juventus believe they could land the Brazilian in January if they agree to pay in excess of €30 million.

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Chelsea’s horrendous start to the season could mean that several changes are made in January and Oscar could be one of those allowed to leave after only starting five Premier League games so far this campaign.

Ozil is an alternative to Oscar but would likely be a more expensive investment, especially after his fine start to the season with Arsenal.

The German playmaker has more assists than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues so far this term and has now recorded at least one assist in each of his last six Premier League games.

Arsenal are looking to tie him down to a new four-year contract and so a move away from the Emirates looks unlikely as this stage.

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While Juve are also keeping tabs on Tottenham’s Danish superstar Christian Eriksen. The 23-year-old has also previously been linked to Juventus but Spurs reiterated that he is not for sale back in August.

Juventus have started the 2015/16 Serie A season in poor form by their high standards. They sit seventh after 12 games after winning just one of their first six league games and will look to strengthen in January.

Should Juventus be looking to sign Oscar, Mesut Ozil or Christian Eriksen? Which playmaker is the best?

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool

Venue: White Hart Lane – Saturday, October 17 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET) 

Match Odds: Tottenham 6/4 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 7/4

Match Preview

Tottenham host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime as the Premier League returns from the international break in style. Jurgen Klopp will lead the Reds out in his first game in charge and all eyes will be on White Hart Lane for what should be a great spectacle.

Spurs are currently unbeaten in their last seven league games, the longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League. They drew 2-2 at Swansea last time out but will be looking to repeat the performance that saw them beat Manchester City 4-1 at home three weeks ago.

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Pochettino has ensured the Spurs defence are tougher to break down than they were last year and they will look to end a worrying recent trend of being outgunned by Liverpool, particularly at home. The Reds have scored eight goals in their last two trips to Spurs without conceding.

Klopp will hope to keep that run going when he watches his new team play for the first time. Brendan Rodgers was sacked following the 1-1 draw with rivals Everton two weeks ago, with Liverpool sitting in 10th place going into this one.

They have only won three times so far this term and will be looking for their first away win since the opening weekend in North London here.

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A win for either side will fill them with confidence as both are expected to be battling for the Champions League places come the end of the season.

Team News

Tottenham have still got several injury worries in midfield. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb are both ruled out, while Eric Dier is suspended. Alex Pritchard and Heung-Min Son are also ruled out as Mauricio Pochettino will look to Moussa Dembele to partner Dele Alli in midfield.

All eyes will be on Jurgen Klopp’s first team selection as Liverpool manager but his options are limited for his first ever Premier League outing. Jon Flanagan, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings are all ruled out through injury. Gomez and Ings are out for the season with ACL injuries, while Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren are doubts.

Key Points

Tottenham’s last five: D/W/W/W/D

Liverpool’s last five: L/L/D/W/D

Key Stat: Liverpool have won their last five matches against Spurs in all competitions, scoring 18 times in the process.

Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Danish playmaker scored two free-kicks in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Swansea last time out and will look to shine once more in what is a big game for both sides.

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Score Prediction

Spurs 2-2 Liverpool – Tough game to call here. Spurs boast the better form and their 4-1 win over City proved they can be a match for anyone when on song. But the arrival of Klopp to Anfield should rejuvenate the Liverpool team and they will be keen to impress in his first game in charge. Goals are expected but we’re going for a score draw.

Former Spurs midfielder claims Eriksen is a step backwards and questions current squad

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has offered a damning verdict on the state of the current first-team, claiming they are not good enough to make the top four and believes Christian Eriksen would not have got in the team four years ago.

Redknapp, who played for Spurs for three seasons between 2002 and 2005, has said the North London club look “miles off” the top four after Saturday’s disappointing 3-0 loss to Stoke.

Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t had a bad first season at the club but failure to qualify for the Champions League yet again will leave supporters angry over the summer once more.

“Four years ago Tottenham were in the Champions League quarter finals,” Redknapp said in his column for the Daily Mail. “Now they look miles off the top four.

“Their best players this season have been the homegrown lads — Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Danny Rose.”

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Redknapp didn’t mention Eriksen as one of the best players this season and has instead claimed that the Danish playmaker wouldn’t have got in the side under his dad, Harry, four years ago.

“Of the players brought in Christian Eriksen has been good but even he would be a squad man in that 2011 team — he wouldn’t play in front of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric or Rafael van der Vaart.

“If Spurs want to improve they can’t waste more money. They need to buy some proper players but with a director of football that is easier said than done.

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“That role has never really worked — I wonder where Spurs would be if they went through them like they do managers? At least in Mauricio Pochettino they have a man to stick with for the long term.

“The points gap to the top four has increased and with respect to Stoke, losing 3-0 at the Britannia Stadium should not happen to Spurs. But that is where they are. It’s time for action.”

Spurs look set to finish the season with their lowest points tally for six seasons with just two games to go and that would be a worrying sign.

The Lilywhites are currently on 58 points, with Hull at home and Everton away still to play, but that means they won’t get near last year’s tally of 69 points – the same number they accrued when finishing fourth in 2012, though Chelsea’s Champions League success meant the club failed to make the competition.

Do you agree with Jamie Redknapp? Are Spurs miles off fourth? And would Christian Eriksen have got in the 2011 team?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: St Mary’s – Saturday, April 25th – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Spurs 5/2

Match Preview

Southampton host Tottenham at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon in a huge Premier League battle for European football next season, with Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino returning back to the south coast for the first time since he left his managerial position with the Saints last summer.

Both teams are separated by just a point with Southampton on 56 in seventh and Spurs on 57 in sixth heading into this one, so a win for either side could have huge implications on who gets those all-important Europa League places for next season.

Southampton come into the lunchtime kickoff off the back of a defeat to Stoke City last weekend despite taking the lead as they went on to lose by a 2-1 scoreline, so it’s important they look to bounce back quickly in front of their own fans.

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The Saints’ last five fixtures look like games they can get something from as they look to qualify for European football for the first time in 12 seasons. With three away games after this, it’s imperative that Southampton grab all three points against Spurs to keep dreams of a top four place alive, and to reinforce Europe League claims.

One worry for the Saints is that if they fail to qualify for European football, a second summer in a row of squad dismantling could happen again with players like Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama continuously being linked with moves away.

For Tottenham, a much needed win away at Newcastle was essential to keep themselves on track for a top four finish last week.

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Harry Kane grabbed his 30th goal of the season to give the England youngster another boost for his PFA Player of the Year claims. His quality will be needed at Southampton against a well organised defence if Spurs are to get anything from the game.

For Tottenham, their run in on paper could spell the end of their top four challenge with Manchester City at home and an away trip to Stoke following Saturday’s game. Their last game of the season will see them head up to Goodison Park to play Everton and so a top four finish is looking unlikely yet again for the Lilywhites.

One deciding factor this weekend could be how Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino approaches the game.

The Argentine has coached a number of players in the Saints squad and will know their strengths and weaknesses ahead of this one after being in charge for a little under 18 months before he took the Spurs job last summer.

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The match may not be as full of goals as we would hope but it has the potential to be one of the best games of the season, as both teams are fighting for their lives with regard to a Champions League finish.

The reverse fixture at White Hart Lane finished 1-0 to Tottenham thanks to a solo goal from Christian Eriksen just before half time.

Team News 

Ronald Koeman’s Southampton could be without Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld, who dislocated his shoulder last week, while the Saints will still be missing Fraser Forster so Kelvin Davies will retain his place between the sticks. Filip Djuricic, Jay Rodriguez, Emmanuel Mayuka are also out while Victor Wanyama is suspended.

Tottenham could welcome back France captain Hugo Lloris, providing he passes his late fitness test before the game, plus Danny Rose could also be back in line for a start but Kyle Walker is still out with his foot injury. DeAndre Yedlin is likely to start on the bench again but could see some action later on in the game if Spurs need to inject some pace down the right side.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: D/W/L/W/L

Tottenham’s last five: L/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Tottenham have won the last five matches between the two sides, scoring ten goals in those games.

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Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Dane has scored 3 goals in his last two matches against Southampton, so you can expect he may unlock the defence and add to his total.

Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham – Difficult to see many goals in this one. There should be plenty of chances but the spoils look likely to be shared, doing neither side any favours at this late stage of the season.

International Preview and Prediction: Denmark vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Denmark vs. United States

Venue: NRGi Park, Denmark – Wednesday, March 25 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Denmark 23/20 – Draw 11/5 – USA 5/2

Match Preview

Denmark host the USA on Wednesday night in an intriguing international friendly as Jurgen Klinsmann and his experimental US Men’s National Team squad face a skillful Danish side at NRGi Park.

Klinsmann has only called up six MLS-based players into his 23-man squad for the upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland as the new Major League Soccer season is underway. That means a lot of less experienced faces are involved and will hope to impress.

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Regardless of who plays, the main aim will be to take positives out of the game and that means a good performance is needed against a Denmark side that boasts quality players such as Christian Eriksen and Daniel Agger.

The Danes have only won one of their last four though and have yet to play a game in 2015 so the USA will look to capitalise on any rustiness from Morten Olsen’s men.

Klinsmann has seen his USMNT side in action twice already this year as they lost to Chile 3-2 back in January before beating Panama 2-0 at the beginning of February to record their first win in six.

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The USA squad’s last trip to Europe didn’t go too well as they lost to Colombia in London before being thrashed by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and Klinsmann will be desperate for better performances against the Danes and Switzerland.

This will be the fifth meeting between Denmark and the USA and the USMNT will hope to record a first-ever victory against the Danes, having lost two and drawn two of the previous four encounters.

The last meeting saw Denmark run out 3-1 winners at NRGi Park in November 2009 and there are now just four places between the two nations in the FIFA World Rankings so this should be close.

Team News

Denmark coach Morten Olsen has named a strong squad for the game and Christian Eriksen will be hoping to earn his 50th cap with a start in this one, becoming the youngest-ever player to do so for the Danish National Team if he does. Former Liverpool defender Daniel Agger will expect to start at centre-back and could be partnered by Aston Villa’s Jores Okore. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will hope to start in goal while former Arsenal man Nicklas Bendtner could start in attack.

Denmark vs USA Predicted Lineups

Denmark vs USA Predicted Lineups (via LineupBuilder.com)

The USMNT have plenty of unfamiliar faces in the squad but the experienced heads in the team will likely start this one. Nick Rimando will start in goal, while Michael Bradley is almost guaranteed to start in midfield. Brek Shea will fill in at left-back once again, while DeAndre Yedlin could be used on the right wing if Fabian Johnson gets the nod at right-back. Gyasi Zardes impressed against Panama and could start again, though Dempsey and Altidore look most likely to start in attack.

Key Points

Denmark’s last five: W/D/L/W/L

USA’s last five: D/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: There have been 15 goals in the four previous meetings between the two countries. Add that to the fact that neither team has seen a 0-0 for a combined total of 43 games and it’s clear that we should be treated to goals on Wednesday evening.

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Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Danish playmaker will be the most talented man on the pitch if he starts the game. It will be his 50th cap and he’ll want to mark the occasion with a fine performance and a goal.

Score Prediction

Denmark 2-2 USA – This should provide bundles of entertainment as both sides will look to attack from the outset. However, it is tough to separate them on paper and that could lead to a score draw in Denmark on Wednesday. It is important that the USA take positives from the game and avoiding defeat will be the main aim.

Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen set to break international record in USA friendly

Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen is set to become the youngest-ever player to make 50 international appearances for Denmark’s national team when they face the USA at the end of the month.

Eriksen is one of many Danish stars to be called up for the upcoming friendlies against the USA and France next week, and he will be making his 50th international appearance for Denmark if he features in either of those games.

At just 23, Eriksen will beat the current record held by Michael Laudrup, who made his 50th cap at the age of 24 in 1988.

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The Spurs star is one of the brightest talents in world football and is undoubtedly one of the best attacking players in the Premier League.

Jurgen Klinsmann and his US Men’s National Team face a tough trip to Denmark next Wednesday in what will be just their fifth game against the European side.

The USA have never beaten Denmark, having drawn two and lost two of the previous four meetings, and lost the most recent meeting 3-1 in 2009 at NRGi Park – the same venue they will play at next week.

Beating Denmark will be a real ask, especially as head coach Morten Olsen has named a strong squad for the friendlies.

Recognisable Danish stars such as Kasper Schmeichel, Daniel Agger, Jores Okore, Lasse Schone, Marin Braithwaite and Nicklas Bendtner join Eriksen in the squad and will prove to be stiff competition against a USMNT team that has only won one in their last six.

Will Christian Eriksen make his 50th cap against the USMNT next week? Can the USA beat Denmark?

Michael Owen claims Crystal Palace duo are two of the best in the league – is he right?

Whilst commentating on the lunchtime kickoff between Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, BT Sport commentator and pundit, Michael Owen made a bold statement regarding two of the Palace players.

During commentary, Owen stated that, in his opinion, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are “two of the better wingers in the Premier League”.

Regarding this comment, we take a look at stats and see whether the former England strikers is right.

Bolasie and Zaha have been important for Crystal Palace in recent weeks as they fight off relegation. Both were instrumental in the 3-1 win at home to QPR on Saturday, and are huge part of Alan Pardew’s plans going forward.

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But despite their solid form, there may be more effective wingers in the Premier League. Especially when you consider Palace are in the bottom half of the table.

The comment was made at a time when Palace were 3-0 up during the game and were dominating a defensively weak QPR side who are in the relegation zone. So are his comments justified?

From the statistics table we have created below (using the Squawka comparison matrix) you can see for yourself how the Palace duo compare to selected other star wide men.

Statistic Yannick Bolasie Wilfried Zaha Alexis Sanchez Eden Hazard Nacer Chadli Christian Eriksen Raheem Sterling Stewart Downing
Matches Played

25

22

25

27

25

28

26

27

Minutes Played

2005

1263

2089

2386

1637

2297

2239

2412

Goals 

2

1

13

10

8

9

6

5

Assists

6

2

7

6

5

2

7

8

Successful take ons (per game)

2.40

2.14

3.79

4.6

1.32

1.37

3.22

0.75

Chances Created (per game)

1.44

0.41

2.71

2.79

1.81

2.63

2.33

2.65

Key Passes (per game)

1.20

0.32

2.41

2.56

1.54

2.55

2.05

2.35

The table above can be misleading however. As a ‘winger’, Zaha and Bolasie do hold their width and rarely drift infield. Whereas, others like Christian Eriksen and Raheem Sterling do drift infield.

The main statistic that aids Owen’s argument is the successful take ons completed by the Palace duo. Both Zaha (2.14 successful take ons per game) and Bolasie (2.40 successful take ons per game) match up quite well with the elite wingers of the league.

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However, using the statistics, we can safely say that are better wingers in the Premier League than Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha in terms of productivity.

What do you make of Michael Owen’s comments? Who do you think is the best winger in the Premier League?

League Cup Final Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Tottenham

Competition: Capital One Cup – Chelsea vs Tottenham

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, March 1st – 16:00 (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – 9/2

Match Preview

It’s Chelsea vs Tottenham in the League Cup final and this has all the makings of a classic cup final clash at Wembley in what is a repeat of the 2008 final. Spurs lifted the trophy with a 2-1 win after extra-time on that day but have not won a trophy since and will have all eyes on Sunday’s clash with their London rivals.

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Chelsea go into the game as favourites and the Premier League leaders will be seeking revenge for that 5-3 defeat at White Hart Lane on New Years Day in this one. Jose Mourinho will have his side fully focused on the game as the Blues look to win their first trophy under Mourinho since his return 18 months ago.

The Blues come into the game off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Burnley last weekend but have had a full week to prepare for Sunday’s huge clash.

Don’t miss our League Cup final preview show:

Spurs were eliminated from the Europa League by Fiorentina on Thursday night and remained in Italy after the game to prepare for the League Cup final so it will be intriguing to see just how much that affects their performance.

Chelsea won the league meeting between the two sides with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in December but that 5-3 loss at White Hart Lane sets this one up perfectly.

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That defeat to Spurs was Chelsea’s first in eleven and so they will fancy their chances of lifting English football’s first major domestic honour of the season.

Team News

Chelsea will be without Nemanja Matic after he was sent off in last week’s draw against Burnley in what is a huge blow for Mourinho. Ramires will likely step in to partner Cesc Fabregas in midfield, especially as John Obi Mikel is likely to be unavailable as he is still suffering from a knee injury. The Blues will be at full strength apart from that and it will be interesting to see who starts in goal as well as who partners John Terry at the back as Gary Cahill was outclassed at Tottenham in the 5-3 loss.

Chelsea vs Tottenham League Cup Final Predicted Lineups

Chelsea vs Tottenham League Cup Final Predicted Lineups (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Spurs have no injury concerns ahead of the game and Mauricio Pochettino will be able to field what he feels is his strongest team on Sunday. Ryan Mason, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Moussa Dembele, Eric Dier and Harry Kane did not start against Fiorentina and can be expected to play from the off in this one. Erik Lamela is likely to start on the right but Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli will both be pushing for starts too.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five in all competitions: D/W/W/D/D

Tottenham’s last five in all competitions: W/L/D/D/L

Key Stat: Goals galore – There have been 33 goals in the last seven meetings between these two sides in all competitions.

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Key Player: Branislav Ivanovic – The versatile right-back has been in fine form of late for Chelsea and has scored four in his last six from defence. He will need to stop Christian Eriksen but could be a real threat at the other end too.

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham – There is too little to separate these sides in normal time and we could see the game go to extra-time once again. If it does Spurs could repeat their antics from the 2008 final and the key for Chelsea will be dealing without Matic for the entire game.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League

Venue: White Hart Lane – Saturday, February 7 – 12:45PM

Match Odds: Tottenham 21/10 – Draw 13/5 – Arsenal 23/20

Tottenham. Arsenal. It’s the North London Derby and both sides come into the game in strong form and know a win is even more important than usual in the latest episode of this intense rivalry.

Spurs currently sit in sixth in the Premier League and are just two points behind the Gunners who sit one place higher in fifth. Both sides know that a win could propel them into the top four and both will be looking for a victory in this one.

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Mauricio Pochettino has seen Spurs lose just one of their last nine in the league, in that 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace last month, and has seen the club’s fortunes at home improve as they are unbeaten in six at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham’s home record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 6 – Drawn 2 – Lost 4

Arsenal are in just as good form as they have only lost one of their last eight in the Premier League and have now recorded three straight league wins, beating Aston Villa 5-0 last time out.

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However we all know form goes out of the window in games as big as this one and Arsenal will be looking to record back-to-back league wins at White Hart Lane after winning 1-0 last season.

Arsenal’s away record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 4

The reverse fixture back in September ended 1-1 in a tight game that was closely contested throughout and you can expect Saturday’s clash to be just as nervy for both sets of supporters.

Arsenal will be without star man and top goalscorer Alexis Sanchez as Arsene Wenger has confirmed the Chilean has not recovered from a hamstring injury in time.

That’s a major blow for the Gunners as he has three goals and two assists in his last four games in all competitions. Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also remain out.

Tottenham vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Predicted lineups for Spurs and Arsenal (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Spurs are more fortunate on the injury front as they are the only side in the Premier League without a player in the treatment room. Nabil Bentaleb has returned from the African Cup of Nations with Algeria and could be in line for a start if he is fit enough to play.

Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane will look to provide the spark for Spurs again as the pair have scored five goals between them in Tottenham’s last two outings.

Tottenham’s last five in the Premier League: D/W/L/W/W

Arsenal’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Spurs have won just one of the last seven North London Derby’s in the Premier League and FA Cup combined.

Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Danish playmaker has been in tremendous form and he is the man who Spurs will look to if they are to win this one.

Score Prediction: Tottenham 2–2 Arsenal – Neither side can afford to lose this.

Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Manchester United

The Premier League fixtures just keep on coming and Spurs host Manchester United in the early game (12:00 GMT) on Sunday, just two days after their Boxing Day wins against Leicester and Newcastle respectively.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were fortunate to come away from Leicester with three points but they have now won their last three Premier League games, all by a 2-1 scoreline.

Spurs will be relatively confident being the home side, but they have won as many as they’ve lost on home soil this year and it’s their away form which is better. They’ve won two of their last five at White Hart Lane but will be desperate to get a win on Sunday.

Tottenham’s home record: Played 9 – Won 4 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Louis Van Gaal has got his United team whistling to his tune and the Red Devils have won seven of their last eight in the league.

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Though they are not as dangerous away from Old Trafford and a draw at Aston Villa just before Christmas proved that. They have won just two of eight away from home this season.

Manchester United’s away record: Played 8 – Won 2 – Drawn 4 – Lost 2

United are currently five points better off than Spurs and sit in third place in the table, with the North London club four places lower in seventh.

Games between these two usually provide goals and there have been 14 in the last four league meetings over the past two seasons.

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The last two games at White Hart Lane have ended in a draw and a similar result could be on the cards here as neither side will want to lose this.

United could adopt a similar approach to the tactics they deployed at Arsenal and Manchester City by sitting deep and hitting Spurs on the counter-attack. Though Pochettino will want to adopt that approach for his team too and it should be an intriguing tactical battle as a result.

Tottenham’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Spurs are unbeaten against Manchester United in four games

Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Danish Spurs midfielder has been in incredible form of late and netted his seventh of the season at Leicester.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United – An entertaining draw that see’s both sides stretch their unbeaten runs into the New Year.