Wembley Stadium licensed CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Manchester United V Tottenham
Wembley Stadium
Saturday 21st April 2018 18:15 KO

It has been a mixed bag of a week for both clubs.

Spurs were completely decimated at home to the newly crowned league champions Manchester City. Much like their first meeting at the Etihad they were outfought, outclassed, and lucky to end the match with 11 men on the pitch. Lest not forget that this home pitch was Wembley, as it has been all season, where they have already beaten Manchester United once this season, a win against City would have no doubt carried through a confidence that they can beat Manchester United for a second time, but that loss followed by a draw away to Brighton has now instilled doubt.

Brighton didn’t create opportunity after opportunity, but neither did Tottenham. An error by Serge Aurier, not the first of the season, led to Spurs surrendering their lead only moments after taking it. From there Brighton had hope, and Spurs couldn’t get through the Brighton bank of players.

They still remain 8 points clear of Chelsea, and it was a game where the likes of Alli, Dembele, Dier, Sanchez, Trippier, could afford to be rested, but the result has stalled what was extremely positive momentum

Manchester United on the other hand conceded a home defeat by relegation certs West Bromich Albion. They played like a team that didn’t care, and came unstuck by a managerless West Brom who refused to be embarrassed. Which has been a similar characteristic of Manchester United all season, they got knocked out of the Champions League because they failed to acknowledge Sevilla in the same bracket as they would Manchester City, Chelsea, or Liverpool, all of which they have beaten in improved performances.

But like I say, for every Manchester City win there has been a West Brom upset. United sit second in the league, but their performances have failed to impress this season. With all the money invested into attacking talent, Sanchez, Pogba, Martial, Lukaku, they players have failed to find a fluidity that teams like Liverpool, and Manchester City have come by.

Two years in, and it wouldn’t be an unfair statement to say Mourinho still hasn’t found his best 11, or even his most reliable 5.

The enigma that is Paul Pogba still continues to frustrate. He reminds me of a Chris Rock joke where he’s talking about how he’s bad in bed then just as his wife is about to leave him he pulls out a good performance, that is how I see Paul Pogba’s Manchester United career and his relationship with Mourinho. He will consistently under perform against all opposition, regardless of their level, then just when the rumours begin to circulate that Mourinho has had enough and he can leave he gives a man of the match performance, like last night at Bournemouth.

Saturday is a complete toss up. Mourinho knows how to win these games, he’s a master of the one nil, but he doesn’t look like a man who has the faith of his squad. He looks frustrated and flustered by his players consistent level of inconsistency. But to doubt his ability to find a result would be extremely naive.

Pochettino will always have a question mark placed over his head by the media until that day he does finally lift a trophy, and he will have no better chance to do so with Tottenham than this year. They have played the whole season at Wembley, the players know the ground, and it’s a ground where they have already beaten their opponents this season.

Last season Spurs had Chelsea under the cosh for the majority of the game, and still came out 4-2 losers, Mourinho knows that one opportunity and defensive concentration can carry him through to a final. This is the determination of both teams seasons, neither has competed with Manchester City in the league, and both will want a positive to end the season on.

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