If anyone is going to stop the smooth Spanish-led Manchester City steam train hurtling towards the title it will be Manchester United or Spurs, and these two upwardly mobile challengers lock horns this Saturday lunchtime.
What kind of game can we expect at the Theatre of Dreams? Here’s our football odds expert Adrian Clarke to cast his eye over this glamorous fixture…
Something has got to give.
Manchester United have won all four home games in the Premier League without conceding a goal, while Tottenham have been imperious travellers, claiming a 100 per cent record away from North London.
In doing so, they’ve averaged three goals per match.
If you’re not sure who’s best equipped to push City for top spot yet – and right now I can’t be certain – we should have a far better idea by mid-afternoon on Saturday.
Ahead of kick-off, I lean towards Spurs being the better side, so the 47/20 on an away win is tempting.
They have the greatest striker in the division, that much is clear.
While Manchester United are still a work in progress, no matter which system Mauricio Pochettino runs with, his players are au fait with it; they defend consistently well from front to back, and going forward there’s a structured supremacy about their work.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 25, 2017
Opponents often know what Tottenham are trying to do, and where they want to put the ball, but stopping them from doing it is far tougher than it looks.
Old Trafford hasn’t been kind to them recently though.
Emmanuel Adebayor hit the back of the net the last time they managed to score in this fixture almost four years ago, and man of the moment Harry Kane has barely had a sniff of goal on any of his four appearances at the ground.
Like they did at Liverpool earlier this month, I am certain Manchester United will be confident they can shut the Spurs juggernaut down in its tracks, with another obdurate defensive display.
If you fancy United to rack up another clean sheet it’s 39/20 for Spurs to be snuffed out completely.
With Tottenham likely to dominate the lion’s share of possession, I sense the result of this contest will depend on how well United counter, and how the visitors handle those breakaways.
The Romelu Lukaku v Davinson Sanchez match-up is a fascinating one down the middle (and this will be a real gauge of the Colombian’s defensive attributes) but with the astute Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen flanking him, he should be OK.
Lukaku is on fire, but there is not a great deal of subtlety about his game or the runs he makes.
If United do bag the first goal, the stats tell us they will win the game.
They are not just good frontrunners, they are amazing ones.
In the six matches where the Reds have opened the scoring this term, they have picked up maximum points with an aggregate score of 19-0!
You’ll get 29/10 on United winning the match without conceding.
Should Spurs net first, I would expect to see them finish the job too.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 25, 2017
On the back of a horrible performance at Huddersfield Town, more bad United vibes at the start of this match could easily suck the confidence out of the hosts. They are under pressure to bounce back so any setback will hurt doubly hard.
And knowing how savvy Spurs are under Pochettino, this will be their aim from the start.
Push forward, score early, and take United to the panic zone.
If that happens, their incessant work rate will truly test Mourinho’s men and their collective mettle.
I don’t see this being a high scoring game, and there’s precious little to choose between two high quality and improving teams, but it’s the Londoners I am drawn to.
I believe Kane and co will break their Old Trafford curse.
Grosvenor Sport Odds
Kane to score in Spurs win – 4/1