Manchester United host Tottenham on Sunday afternoon, in the first game at Old Trafford since the opening match of the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope for a better result than the 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace last time he sent his side out at home.

The signs are encouraging, with United having won three away matches on the bounce since then, scoring nine goals in the process.

Facing Tottenham represents a step up in the calibre of opponents, but the match will be their fourth match in seven days, which could play a part.

We’ve picked out three pre-match posers for Solskjaer to ponder…

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How does Solskjaer outwit Mourinho again?

Solskjaer’s United won this fixture last year – 2-1 – and utterly dominated the 1-1 draw between the sides post-lockdown.

Mourinho will likely look to soak up pressure here, using the tiredness of his players as an excuse.

United have struggled against that approach in the past but Solskjaer does seem to know how to play against Mourinho’s Spurs.

The challenge for Solskjaer is getting a better level of performance out of his first teamers than he got at Brighton last Saturday while executing his tactical plan in his first top six battle of the season.

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Have any of the second string impressed enough?

Eric Bailly, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata were among United’s best performers in the EFL Cup win at Brighton.


Of the second string, Bailly has the strongest case to start here, and his recovery pace could be crucial against Tottenham’s rapid forwards.

It would be a surprise to see van de Beek or Mata start, but they could have big roles to play off the bench.

Solskjaer has so far largely kept a distinct cup team and league team, but they could merge slightly closer here.

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How does Solskjaer generate defensive improvement?

Let’s be honest, Palace and Brighton have ripped United at will in our first two league matches.

That will have the likes of Harry Kane licking their lips about facing United.

There has to be more intensity in midfield, better organisation when it comes to defending the box and a desire to stop crosses.

United also have to be wary of the counter attack. Mourinho is a master of that and Palace used that weapon time after time in that September loss.

A first league clean sheet of the season would be a major plus.

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