5 Talking Points: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United


Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United square off in a mouth-watering Premier League encounter at White Hart Lane and here are 5 talking points ahead of the showdown.

Can Spurs keep up the pace?

This is another crucial weekend for Spurs as they bid to win their first league title since 1961. Mauricio Pochettino's side are already seven points off leaders Leicester City - a gap that could stretch to 10 should the Foxes triumph at Sunderland earlier over the weekend. Whatever the result in the north east, it is likely to have a psychological impact on a Spurs side that cannot afford to falter. Furthermore, third-placed Arsenal - with a game in hand - are edging closer, sitting four points off their London rivals.

Will United keep their UEFA Champions League quest on track?

Louis van Gaal's men have endured some bumpy patches this season, leading the United boss' style and position to be questioned. However, they could yet end the campaign in the UCL after the 1-0 win at Manchester City was followed by another slender victory against Everton. That has seen them narrow the gap on their neighbours to a solitary point but United need to keep up the pressure, especially as Manuel Pellegrini's men will be buoyed by their positive display against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their UCL quarter-final.

Vertonghen to be risked?

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen's partnership was so impressive this season that the latter's knee injury in late January had fans and pundits speculating whether it would derail Tottenham's title tilt. Instead, Kevin Wimmer has stepped up manfully and Spurs enter the final stages with the Premier League's tightest defence. Vertonghen has resumed training and Pochettino now needs to decide whether to risk him or stick with Wimmer for this crunch clash.

United's young guns delay Rooney's return

Wayne Rooney is edging closer to fitness but Van Gaal will not risk his captain at White Hart Lane. Instead, the 30-year-old will play for the under-21s on Monday, giving United's young stars another chance to underline their credentials. Jesse Lingard has impressed this term and Anthony Martial has netted three goals in his last four appearances, while Marcus Rashford is in line to make the 10th straight start of his career. Impressive displays will give Van Gaal a selection headache in the final weeks of the season.

Can Dier keep his cool?

Pochettino's decision to transform the defender into a combative midfielder has proved inspired. Dier has flourished since an unsteady debut in the position during the season-opener at Old Trafford, making him a certainty for England's EURO 2016 squad. Dier is key to Tottenham's shape and heads into the weekend on nine yellow cards, knowing another booking will incur a two-match ban. That would seriously dent Spurs' title charge.

Source PA Sport