Manchester United take on Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon (17:30 SA time) in what is certainly the standout fixture on matchweek four of the Premier League.
This is an encounter the Red Devils have dominated in the years gone by, with Tottenham tasting defeat against United more than any other opponent in the Premier League era.
They head into this one off the back of a six-game unbeaten run, with Jose Mourinho looking to secure victory against a former club for the first time in six games. Nevertheless, with Sunday’s crunch encounter between a pair of top-four hopefuls fast approaching, here’s 90min’s combined XI between the two sides.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Hugo Lloris (GK)
Unfortunately for David De Gea, it’s not 2017. Hugo Lloris makes the side. The Frenchman’s shot-stopping remains supreme, no longer has to be key in Spurs’ build-up play and I’ll only whisper it… but he’s not really making anymore braindead errors either.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)
The poor bloke still hasn’t learnt the concept of ‘dribbling’ but boy, he can’t half defend. Wan-Bissaka’s capacity to dominate in one-on-one situations and time slide tackles to perfection sees him earn his place at right-back over Matt Doherty, who’s endured a fairly subdued – and handball friendly – start to life in N17. No Premier League player made more tackles than The Spider last term (129).
Davinson Sanchez (CB)
After failing to kick-on – despite some admirable big-game performances – from his stellar debut 2017/18 season, now’s the time where Sanchez has to cement himself as Mourinho’s number one centre-back option. He may be occasionally erratic and sub-par in possession, but the talent – and freakish recovery speed – is certainly there.
Harry Maguire (CB)
Joining the Colombian at the heart of defence is the overly critiqued Harry Maguire. The England international was never ever going to live up to his £80m price tag, but there’s no denying that he’s a fine centre-half. One of the finest the Premier League has to offer, in fact.
Sergio Reguilon (LB)
This kid’s got some serious cajones. Despite his error – and desperate slide – leading to Chelsea’s opener in Spurs eventual Carabao Cup fourth round victory on Tuesday night, the fiery Spaniard enjoyed a fine Tottenham debut. Reguilon’s showing against the Blues felt like the start of something; the birth of a destined star and inevitable fans-favourite in N17.
It’s fair to say that’s it been a pretty inauspicious start to the campaign for Pogba but there’s no denying his supreme talent – exemplified by his quite majestic free-kick against Brighton in the week. Hopefully we’ll be treated to a battle of the French mavericks in the middle of the park with Tanguy Ndombele enjoying a fine start to his second season at Tottenham.
Giovani Lo Celso (CM)
The Argentine is a doubt for Sunday’s contest after picking up a knock in the 7-2 victory over Maccabi Haifa in the week, but nonetheless makes our combined XI. Lo Celso put a depleted Spurs side on his back for a prolonged spell last term and although he’s set to be part of a more coherent and entertaining attacking unit, there’s no doubting that the all-action Argentine remains a key cog in Jose’s machine.
Bruno Fernandes (AM)
Some impact this fella’s had, eh? After registering 189 goal contribution in the second half of last season following his winter move from Sporting CP, Fernandes notched a goal and an assist in United’s last-gasp victory at Brighton last Saturday. Perhaps a 2016 Dele Alli would’ve contended the Portuguese star for a spot in this XI, not the current iteration being left out of matchday squads after 18 months of inconsistency.
Mason Greenwood (RW)
The recently-turned 19-year-old is a sure bet to be a superstar at Old Trafford after netting 17 times in 2019/20 – the most ever in a single season by a Man Utd teenager. The two-footed demon is yet to hit the mark this term and will be hoping to kickstart his 2020/21 season on Sunday.
Harry Kane (ST)
Anthony Martial’s pretty great, but he’s not quite Sir Harry Kane, is he? The England skipper just makes the game look a little bit too easy at times; craftily dropping in between the lines to serve up banquet after banquet for his fellow teammates like it’s Patrick Mahomes co-ordinating the Lilywhites attack. Dimes aplenty. Kane’s netted just once in the Premier League thus far, although his five assists at this stage can only be matched by two players in the competition’s history – Ruel Fox (1994/95) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (2017/18).
Marcus Rashford (LW)
Son Heung-min’s likely absence with a hamstring injury grants Marcus Rashford a place in this side. The England international seemingly didn’t care that Ben White has a family when he decided to sit the highly-rated Brighton defender down 378 times with a combination of chops and feints before thrashing his effort past Matty Ryan last weekend. A fantastic strike which embodied his supreme threat in transition.
Edited by Tiyani wa ka Mabasa