By emperordave • 12th Jan 2019 • 292 views • 44 comments

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face his toughest test as Manchester United manager on Sunday afternoon as he faces a tough trip to Wembley to face an in-form Tottenham Hotspur.

Solskjaer has made a sensational start to his tenure at the Red Devils, winning his opening five matches, but while the fans are starting to dream of the great times returning the Norwegian will have to help ignite a mesmerising display from his United squad, if they are to beat a Spurs flying high in the Premier League.

Only a few months ago, Spurs thrashed United 3-0 at Old Trafford and that was one of the matches that was the catalyst for Jose Mourinho's departure, but since Solskjaer's arrival there has been a real feel-good factor around the Theatre of Dreams with league wins against Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City seeing Solskjaer bag 12 points from his first four games.

Solskjaer has breathed a new sense of positivity into the playing squad and he has managed to find the best out of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, while Anthony Martial has been another that has blossomed under the interim manager and that triumvirate will be key factors in whether United can maintain their unbeaten star under the Norwegian boss.

However, while Spurs will rightly be concocting a plan to keep that trio quiet there could be one man that slips under the radar a little, and if Solskjaer decides to unleash him from the start then he could be the defining factor in the game.

Juan Mata's time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end with the experienced midfielder looking for an extension on his contract, but the Spanish international has a fine record against Spurs, and if he can produce his best at Wembley then he could well feed the likes of Rashford and Martial some sensational through-balls that could give the Spurs backline some problems.

Mata has faced Spurs 10 times during his time in the Premier League - with a handful of them coming while he was at Chelsea - but during those games he has scored three goals and provided four assists, so he has shown he can deliver the goods against Mauricio Pochettino's side and Sunday can see him shine once again.

He didn't feature when United lost 3-0 at home to Spurs and hasn't been too fruitful this season - scoring only two goals and assisting two - but Solskjaer is the sort of manager that could use Mata in the right way and while Mourinho often left him on the sidelines in big away matches, he has shown his brilliance against Spurs in previous seasons, and could help United get a result on Sunday afternoon.

44 Replies | Last update 12th Jan 2019 | Last comment

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