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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United Preview: Nowhere to go but up...right?

No matter what, this season has been an abject failure.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Anyone interested enough to read a Tottenham Hotspur preview post at this point in the season is already far too familiar disaster that this year has been. While it provides no value to continue wallowing, I did find The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke’s summation of the past month both comical and still surreal:

A little risky to ask what else could go wrong, but the meaningful damage is already done. Top four is not worth speaking of anymore, and even a Europa League spot would come as a surprise. As hard as it is to root against one’s own club, at this point the preference would be finishing eighth and allowing the new manager, whoever that may be, to start fresh next season.

Given Thursday’s clash against Manchester United and Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, there is every reason to think Spurs will keep tumbling down the table. The goal here might just be to cling to whatever dignity is left, but with how little remains maybe that does not even matter. Still, who knows what change Ryan Mason might bring!

Tottenham Hotspur (6th, 53pts) vs. Manchester United (t-3rd, 59pts)

Date: Thursday, April 27
Time: 3:15 pm ET, 8:15 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: Peacock Premium (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK)

On one hand, United has steadied its league position after a horrid three-match stretch that included the 7-0 Liverpool thrashing and dropped points against Southampton and Newcastle, winning the past three fixtures. However, the past two weeks have see the Red Devils fall out of the Europa League and barely survive Brighton in a goalless FA Cup semifinal, so this squad is not exactly impervious.

Unfortunately, Tottenham is in no position to capitalize on someone’s shaky form, and this has been a lopsided fixture as of late. Spurs have just one win in the past eight contests against United: the 1-6 shocker at Old Trafford during Covid. Snice then, it has not been competitive, with October’s 2-0 defeat well deserved.

Recent results:

  • Oct 2022: 2-0 loss, away

Many (including myself) called for a formation change, and boy did Cristian Stellini oblige. The results were disastrous and in hindsight perhaps the personnel is simply not there to try anything too different (though I would contest that the usual structure is not going to save the season anyway).

Against United, it is not the time to risk getting outmanned in the midfield again, even though the change to a back four was supposed to prevent that. Ultimately, this team will go nowhere if the defense cannot get its act together, and United enters Thursday with the capability to repeat history.

I suppose I would suggest playing it safe, and perhaps the players will show a slight uptick in motivation — and performance — after the embarrassment on Sunday. Should another train wreck occur, however, best of luck at Anfield this weekend. It would be great to sim to the end of the season, but since that is not an option, just find a way to get out of the spotlight.