As questions continue to be aimed at Erik ten Hag, we look ahead to Sunday’s Premier League clash with our Manchester United vs Tottenham prediction and preview.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Manchester United are predicted by the Opta supercomputer to defeat Tottenham, winning 40.3% of simulations before kick-off.
  • Erik ten Hag’s side have lost nine of their 20 Premier League games this campaign, as many league defeats as they suffered all of last season.
  • Tottenham are looking to complete their first league double over United since the 1989-90 campaign.

Match Preview

For every step forward under Erik ten Hag, Manchester United seem to take another back as they continue to struggle from a stop-start undertone to their underwhelming Premier League campaign that next sees them welcome Tottenham – buoyed by two new signings – to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Festive celebrations were few and far between for manager Ten Hag over another busy December period as his side were defeated by West Ham United and Nottingham Forest, either side of a 3-2 comeback triumph over Unai Emery’s in-form Aston Villa. It was a perfect microcosm of United’s season, an insipid loss followed by an inspiring win and then another dour defeat.

From 10,000 season simulations ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, Opta’s predictions suggested United would finish fourth – guaranteeing another season of UEFA Champions League football at least – but the reality has been much harsher. Ten Hag’s men sit eighth in the league table heading into Matchday 21, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal and eight behind Tottenham, whose fifth-place position could be enough to secure Champions League qualification depending on how other English sides fare in Europe this term.

A 2-0 victory over League One’s Wigan Athletic courtesy of goals from Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes in Monday’s FA Cup third-round tie will have raised spirits somewhat, but pressure continues to mount on Ten Hag, who may need to act in the January transfer window to arrest a disappointing spell of returns during his second season in Manchester.

United will be without midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, though, with the Moroccan away at the African Cup of Nations. Jadon Sancho has also completed a return to former side Borussia Dortmund, signing on a loan until the end of the season with no option to buy after a period of exile following a disagreement with Ten Hag.

The hosts will at least be boosted by some positive news on the injury front, as Ten Hag confirmed at his press conference on Friday that Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez, Luke Shaw, Antony, Amad Diallo and Christian Eriksen are all back in training.

As frustrations continue to rise at Old Trafford, former Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has taken to life at Tottenham with relative ease. Spurs are just six points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool after MD 20, while they trail second-placed Villa by three and Manchester City, in third, by only one.

Postecoglou’s men suffered a festive setback after a 4-2 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, a result perhaps understating their poor performance due to late goals from Alejo Véliz and Ben Davies, but they responded with a 3-1 triumph over Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve as Pape Sarr, Son Heung-min and Richarlison scored before Pedro Porro proved the difference in the FA Cup third-round win against Burnley.

Son has since departed for the Asian Cup with South Korea, while Senegal’s Sarr and Mali’s Yves Bissouma will compete at the African Cup of Nations. Postecoglou also has James Maddison, Davies, Cristian Romero, Manor Solomon, Veliz and Ivan Perisic out injured as fitness problems persist at Spurs, who will decide on the availability of centre-back Radu Dragusin after beating Bayern Munich to his signature from Genoa.

Richarlison has scored five goals in his last five Premier League games – against Newcastle United (two), Forest, Everton and Bournemouth – as many as his previous 45 appearances in the competition beforehand and would have been expected to step up in Son’s absence. However, the Brazilian has only one goal in 10 league appearances against Manchester United, scoring for Everton in April 2019. Postecoglou could therefore turn to another new arrival in Timo Werner after the former Chelsea striker joined from RB Leipzig on loan until the end of the season. The Germany international, whose deal includes an option to buy for a reported £15 million, only scored 10 goals in 56 Premier League games for the Blues but Postecoglou will be hoping the forward can add some much-needed firepower, starting at Old Trafford on Sunday.

As for other team news for the visitors, Ben Davies will miss up to a month with a hamstring problem while Giovani Lo Celso is also out with a muscle strain. However, Cristian Romero could return on Sunday after recovering from a hamstring issue.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Head-to-Head

Tottenham are looking to complete their first league double over Man Utd since the 1989-90 campaign, having won 2-0 thanks to Pape Sarr’s finish and a Lisandro Martínez own goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the reverse fixture in August.

Spurs v Man Utd stats

With a victory on Sunday, not only could Tottenham inflict another top-four blow to their hosts, but Postecoglou would become the first Spurs manager to win both of his first two games against Manchester United with the club in all competitions.

However, Ten Hag’s men will fancy stopping their visitors as no team has won more home games against an opponent in Premier League history than United’s 24 against Spurs (level with Arsenal against Everton). Meanwhile, expect both teams to go for blow-for-blow in this one considering none of the last 17 Premier League meetings between United and Tottenham at Old Trafford have finished level, with the Red Devils winning 13 of them (L4).

Recent Form

United finished 2023 with defeat against Nottingham Forest but they haven’t lost their last game of a calendar year, and then their first league game of the following year since 2011-12 (defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle).

However, Ten Hag’s men have lost nine of their 20 Premier League games this season, as many defeats as they suffered in the whole of last season. There have been just four Premier League campaigns where they’ve lost 10+ games (2013-14, 2015-16, 2018-19 and 2021-22), with 2015-16 the only one of those where they didn’t change their manager during the season.

Postecoglou’s men continue to fire on all fronts regardless of injury struggles, with the Brighton defeat Spurs’ only blemish in their last five league games after defeating Newcastle, Forest, Everton and Bournemouth. Expect at least one goal from the visitors, too, as Tottenham have scored in each of their last 32 Premier League games, the longest ongoing run of any side in the competition. It is their joint-longest scoring run in league history, also scoring in 32 in a row from April to December 1949 and February to November 1962.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off in this game, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Opta Player Ratings

The Opta Player Ratings are something we introduced ahead of 2023-24. For a quick primer on how they’re calculated, you can check our explainer here.

Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:

Manchester United

Diogo Dalot: 74.4 (out of 100)
André Onana: 70.3
Jonny Evans: 64.4
Victor Lindelöf: 64.4
Scott McTominay: 63.7


Son Heung-Min: 85.7 (out of 100)
James Maddison: 75.3
Dejan Kulusevski: 73.1
Pape Sarr: 72.6
Micky van de Ven: 69.2

Manchester United vs Tottenham Prediction

Man Utd v Tottenham Opta predictor

The Opta supercomputer predicts a morale-boosting win for United at Old Trafford, with the hosts winning 40.3% and Spurs triumphing in 31.5% of 10,000 data-led simulations before kick-off. A draw occurred in 28.2% of scenarios.

Tottenham have a 36.8% chance of finishing in the UEFA Champions League spots, albeit fifth place – their current position that could still be enough – occurs the most often in 32.6% of season simulations. Meanwhile, United’s top-four prediction sits at just a meagre 1%, with ninth – one behind their current league-table standing – the most likely finish at 18.9% from Opta’s 10,000 data-led scenarios.

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