MATCH PREVIEW BY KANGAROO JACK
Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer survive Saturday’s trip to Tottenham Stadium? The Manchester United boss has reportedly been given three matches to get the Red Devils back on track. These matches are against Spurs, Atalanta and Manchester City. Solksjaer is 4-9 with William Hill to be the next manager to leave his club. 7-12 is available if you shop around.
Spurs vs Man U is shaping up as a fascinating contest, given that both teams have developed radically different ways of self-destructing. Which is doing the better job? I’m not sure. They’re both trying really hard to implode and I won’t insult either camp by attempting to rank their suicidal tendencies.
If Solskjaer pulls off the ultimate Houdini act by winning all three of his tests, Nuno Espirito Santo could be a good bet, at 16-1, to get the shove next in the EPL. Under him, Harry Kane has developed into a zombie trying to remember who he used to be when fully alive. Lucas Moura is still trying to register either a goal or an assist in the EPL, and left back Sergio Reguilon has decided it’s fun to dribble the ball to safety when pressured by opponents. As a Spurs fan, I can only watch this horror show through gaps in my fingers.
Back in Portugal, Nuno is regarded is a super-coach, and one newspaper scribe says his beard has magnetic powers. Perhaps it’s good for attracting teaspoons and paper clips, but Premier League points? Nah!
Solskjaer, on the other hand, governs an overabundance of talent. Never have so many king-sized egos tried to squeeze into one football team. Not even the Lord Himself would try managing Manchester United right now. The only player He’d feel comfortable trampling into oblivion each week would be Donny van de Beek, who is used to such treatment. At least Jehovah would have the good sense to sell Fred, loan Jadon Sancho to Brentford, and teach Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw not to get in each other’s way.
Right now, the United crew look like gaudily clad tour guides, enthusiastically showing off verdant channels of turf so visitors to the Theatre of Dreams can wander down them with impunity. ‘You fancy a shot at goal? Great, we’ll just pull a couple of midfielders out of the way and let those two defenders impede each other. Bob’s your uncle. Where are from, by the way? Egypt? Oh wow! Enjoy your visit!’
Who will rise to the challenge for United, and rescue Solskjaer? If we look at the metrics generated by the EPL Fantasy League, only two United players have registered significant points tallies – 44 each for Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. But, considering that Liverpool’s Mo Salah has 107 points, with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (57) next best, United’s stars are way off the pace on metrics. Spurs’ Heung-Min Son (53) will easily be the highest rated player on the pitch on Saturday based on Fantasy League data.
Son’s form is good, granted, but only he, captain Hugo Lloris, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg would be possible starters in a combined Spurs / Man United XI.
As a Spurs supporter experiencing a crisis of faith, I can easily see us losing this one. We are a cheap scalp in my view. Bad as United were last week, they will not get caught five times on the break by Nuno’s Tottenham Hotspur. Yes, we beat United 6-1 a year ago, but that was in a Spurs galaxy far, far away; one where Nuno and his beard were nowhere to be seen. Even with a rudimentary strategy, United should contain our blunt attack. We’ve scored only nine goals in nine games, damnit! As Klopp or Tuchel would say, ‘Nein, nein, nein!’
United have to believe that the brilliance of their players will shine through on cue to save the boss. Still, until the team becomes a proper unit, fighting and running for each other like normal players (and not prima donnas) they will be lacklustre performers and only championship wannabees.
My tip, then, is that Solskjaer will still be Man U manager on Monday, and Nuno will have at least half his beard out the Spurs door. Perhaps take a double on Nuno (16-1) being axed next, going into 33-1 chance, The Chosen One, in the Melbourne Cup. The Chosen One reminds us of Jose Mourinho (aka The Special One), who has managed both Man United and Spurs, and who today manages Roma. What a merry-go-round!
That double would pay 577-1 and would make a great Christmas gift to yourself. Be a Red Devil and give it a go.
William Hill’s Betting: 4-9 Ole Gunnar Solksjaer; 10-3 Daniel Farke; 12-1 Dean Smith; 16-1 Nuno Espirito Santo; 20-1 Claudio Ranieri; 22-1 Marcelo Bielsa; 25-1 Rafael Benitez, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Patrick Vieira, Sean Dyche, Mikel Arteta; 28-1 Bruno Lage; 33-1 Brendan Rodgers; 40-1 Graham Potter; 50-1 Thomas Frank, David Moyes; 66-1 Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp; 80-1 No Manager; 100-1 Thomas Tuchel.
Backed: Daniel Farke (9-2 to 10-3); Marcelo Bielsa (28-10 to 22-10).
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