Saturday, April 21 – 5:15p.m Local time – Wembley Stadium, London, United Kingdom.
Manchester United will be looking to inch within touching distance of a trophy when they line up against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in the first semi-final of the FA Cup.
Although Wembley has been Tottenham’s temporary home this season — while its new stadium is still under construction — Spurs will have to switch to the away dressing room after United were drawn as the home team in the cup tie.
The inquest into the inconsistent, spineless nature of the current Manchester United squad was renewed after they fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to bottom-placed West Bromwich Albion last weekend, but the Red devils regained their stride by dishing out some punishment of their own in a midweek Premier League fixture.
United showed they intend to stay the distance even in the business end of the season, as they got back to winning ways with a comfortably 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho elicited a response from his charges by making a staggering seven changes to the side that lost to the Baggies, a move which reaped luscious dividends.
United instigated their first threat of the match during the first few exchanges through Anthony Martial, but the visitors had to wait until the 28th minute to break the tie courtesy of Chris Smalling.
The win saw United move four points clear of Liverpool who have amassed 70 points, and only need two points in their remaining four games to secure a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
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Worst hit by the result however is Chelsea, whose hopes of Champions League qualification are in dire straits. The Blues made it into the last four of the FA Cup, but stand little chance of registering a top four finish in the Premier League, bearing in mind they are a whopping eight points adrift of Spurs, who are ranked fourth on the log.
The one thing that comes to mind whenever Spurs is mentioned, other than the goal scoring machinery that is Harry Kane, is their eye-catching brand of football. Mauricio Pochettino has completely transformed the club from being a peripheral side in the top half of the League, to title contenders.
Although their bid for the Premier League title was long diminished, Tottenham’s only realistic hope for a trophy this season, and quite tellingly the last ten years, rests in the FA Cup.
Spurs prepared for the decisive FA Cup semi-final tie by drawing 1-1 away to Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night in the EPL, after Pochettino ringed six changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Manchester City the previous weekend.
The Tottenham boss is however poised to field a full strength side this Saturday, with the rested likes of Dele Alli and Davinson Sanchez expected to slot right into the starting eleven.
The North Londoners will however be without the wingback duo of Kyle Walker-Peters and Danny Rose, who are recuperating from a hamstring and calf strain respectively, whereas Harry Winks is sidelined with an ankle injury.
It’s nonetheless a different tale for Manchester United who will be at full strength, with the exception of the injured Sergio Romero.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur match prediction
Spurs made it to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for a second successive season having blitzed past Swansea City with a 3-0 win, while United defeated Brighton 2-0 to book their place in the last four.
Injury to Sergio Romero, who has started in every round of the FA Cup this season, only means David De Gea is assured of his place in the starting berth.
The Spaniard claimed his 17th clean sheet of the campaign at the Vitality Stadium, and will be hard to beat given Jose Mourinho’s solid defensive organization, more so this close to a cup final.
Prediction: Man United to win – +220 at William Hill
Man United vs. Tottenham recent results
Tottenham 2-0 Man United (January 31, 2018)
Christian Eriksen 1′
Phil Jones 28′ (OG)
Man United 1-0 Tottenham (October 28, 2017)
Anthony Martial 81′
Tottenham 2-1 Man United (May 14, 2017)
Victor Wanyama 6′
Harry Kane 48′
Wayne Rooney 71′
Man United 1-0 Tottenham (December 11, 2016)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan 29′
Tottenham 3-0 Man United (April 10, 2016)
Dele Alli 70′
Toby Alderweireld 74′
Erik Lamela 76′