Tottenham trip would have provided unfamiliar challenge for Solskjaer

United were supposed to be kicking off against Tottenham today. It was a match which would have provided a different challenge for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

When Tottenham traveled to Old Trafford in December, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were scrambling around for form while Jose Mourinho had very briefly reinvigorated the north London club.

The tables had turned ahead of this scheduled and now postponed fixture, which saw United going into a trip to a fellow member of the top six as favourites.

That would have presented a different challenge for Solskjaer, one he had not faced before, and a test of how much his side have improved recently.

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United had tools to expose Tottenham’s weaknesses

Tottenham had been ravaged by injuries, haven’t won in six matches and are beset by the same gloominess Mourinho brought to United in the end.

That’s in contrast to United’s ten games unbeaten which has boosted the mood around the club; it’s Solskjaer’s best spell as permanent boss.

United have a decent record against the top six but many of those results have been gained with a counter attacking style.

Tottenham’s confidence was low and their defence was leaking goals, without the firepower at the other end to make up for it.

United’s reinvigorated attack had the weapons to expose Spurs – who are there for the taking – on their own patch.

Uncertainty rules

United ruthlessly exploited City on the counter attack last weekend but the biggest change came when they dominated the ball late in the first half.

That would not have been possible in the early part of the season, when Solskjaer’s side did not look capable of moving the ball at speed, especially against top opponents.

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In this fixture there would have been a chance to take advantage of the edginess in the crowd and tiredness in Tottenham legs from a frantic period with injuries in the squad.

United would have gone into the match as favourites and a win would have been massive in the race for the Champions League.

Now we don’t know if the match will be replayed at all, let alone when, or how next year’s Champions League places will be decided.

At least we can enter this period of uncertainty feeling good and positive about the team.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.