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Starting XI: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United

The Reds are out for revenge after October’s 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Spurs

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Everything that you need to know ahead of Sunday’s match:

(1) The first meeting between these two sides back in October remains the low point of Manchester United’s season. Tottenham Hotspur came to Old Trafford and thrashed the Reds 6-1 behind braces from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Spurs utterly dominated every phase of the game, but United are in vastly better form these days, too.

(2) Manchester United defeated Granada 2-0 on Thursday to all but punch their ticket to the Europa League semifinals. Marcus Rashford scored the opener and Bruno Fernandes added a late second from the penalty spot to give the Reds two priceless away goals ahead of next week’s second leg.

(3) David De Gea started in goal on Thursday, which probably heralds a changing of the guard in the Manchester United goal. Up until this point, Dean Henderson played in the cups while DDG manned goal in league play. This week, though, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer swapped those roles, starting Henderson against Brighton and De Gea in the Europa League. That means Hendo should get the nod on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur.

(4) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Manchester United’s injury situation:

Hopefully, they’ll be okay. Of course, Marcus [Rashford] ... his foot is a bit sore, so we don’t want to aggravate that too much. Apart from that, Paul [Pogba] had a little niggle, but he should be okay.

(5) Stat of the week:

(6) It’s been a frustrating season at Tottenham Hotspur, full of blown leads and missed chances. Spurs have led in 21 of 30 Premier League matches, but only went on to win fourteen of those. When Newcastle pulled back a late equalizer last weekend, that made eleven dropped points from goals conceded in the final ten minutes of games. Needless to say, that ignominious mark leads the Premier League.

(7) Of late, Spurs have used a very young backline — which probably explains some of that late-game inconsistency. Sergio Reguilon (on loan from Real Madrid) lines up at left back, with Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon in central defense, and Japhet Tanganga out on the right. Stay tuned, though, because Tottenham’s defense is always changing. Any of Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, or Serge Aurier could make a surprise appearance on Sunday.

(8) The Spurs midfield puzzle has never quite come together. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, signed from Southampton in the summer, quickly emerged as the midfield general that any great José Mourinho side needs. Tanguy Ndombele, too, has taken a huge step forward after a subpar first season in the Premier League. Ndombele’s combo of technique and physicality allows him to dance through the best defenses with the ball at his feet. Unfortunately, persistent injuries to Giovani Lo Celso has left the engine room unsettled and inconsistent.

(9) On the bright side, this has probably been the best all-around season of Harry Kane’s career. He’s scored 29 goals with 16 assists so far, showing off a newfound creative streak to go along with his ruthlessness in front of goal. Kane excels at dropping into pockets of space between the defense and midfield, pulling the opposition out of shape and opening space for Son Heung-min to run into.

(10) Gareth Bale’s much-hyped return to Spurs hasn’t exactly panned out. The 31-year-old arrived from Real Madrid desperately short of fitness and confidence — and noticeably hesitant to trust his body after seasons plagued with muscle injuries. Bale’s numbers look decent enough — 10 goals and 3 assists — but he’s found minutes very hard to come by since a poor performance in the North London derby.

(11) For the first time in a while, Spurs will have a rest advantage over their opponent this weekend. In fact, Manchester United’s visit marks the only time this season that Mourinho has had a full, uninterrupted week to prepare his side for a Premier League match. If nothing else, this gives the heavily-used trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg a rare chance to catch their breath.