126 goals in 366 appearances for Manchester United, 33 of those coming in the last 15 minutes of the match – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used to be the club’s most successful hail mary pass.
Now, 23 years since making his Old Trafford debut, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reprised his role as the club’s dependable savior; only, this time, he’s left his cleats behind.
Under Jose Mourinho, the Old Trafford outfit started struggling with their identity. They were never meant to be the team to grind out results, they are meant to keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United must not be 'naive' against Tottenham
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 13, 2019
A few tussles with high-profile stars and a never-ending string of disappointing results ended Jose Mourinho’s ill-fated two-and-a-half-year stint in Manchester. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was handed the reins on a temporary basis, and he hasn’t wasted any time standing on ceremony.
His first game in charge saw United score five in a Premier League game – the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. The 5-1 win at Cardiff set the tone for the next four matches, which saw United pick up four more wins in all competitions, adding 11 more goals to their tally.
Also Read: 5 reasons why Mourinho failed at United
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have 10 points between them in the Premier League table, which offers a fair reflection of how the two sides have fared this season. A win for the Reds would put them level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal, while a Spurs win would see them temporarily move back into second place.
Punch for Punch
Solskjaer’s United have been in fine form in front of goal lately, scoring 16 goals in their last five games across all competitions. Their defense has improved as well, with the 2-0 FA Cup win over Reading ensuring consecutive clean sheets for the first time this campaign. Manchester United haven’t won at Tottenham since 2013 – losing in each of their last three trips – but Solskjaer’s in-form United are more than likely to give the Londoners a run for their money.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham have handsomely kept pace with the two highest spenders in the division – Liverpool and Manchester City – despite not making a single signing in the summer transfer window. They have won 15 of their last 18 matches, and have a solid chance of improving their tally at Wembley, tonight. They have won all three of their games in 2019, scoring 11 goals and keeping three clean sheets across all competitions.
An Audition for Next Season?
Five wins in as many matches, Solskjaer couldn’t have started his managerial stint any better. But despite his almost-spotless campaign, so far, the club have remained reluctant about offering him a permanent contract, with many sources suggesting that the Red Devils are still fancying to lure Mauricio Pochettino in from Tottenham Hotspur.
On Sunday, Solksjaer will go up against the alleged number 1 contender for his job, Mauricio Pochettino, at Wembley, hoping to pull one over his lofty Argentinian counterpart.
— Nile Post (@nilepostnews) January 13, 2019
As expected, the Norwegian has played down any sort of rivalry with Pochettino, claiming the trip to Tottenham should be about the players and not about his head-to-head clash with the Argentinian.
“No. It’s not about me at all,” Solskjaer told reporters, as quoted by Goal.
“It should always be about the players because it’s not about me. It’s not about him.
“We don’t kick a ball at all. They kick a ball. Of course, we might make a decision here or there, but it’s down to the players to perform and I’m sure my boys are ready.”
Realistically, Sunday’s outcome shouldn’t have a decisive bearing on which manager Manchester United appoint at the end of the campaign. But a solid performance and all three points at Wembley could give Solskjaer and United’s end-of-the-season aspirations a massive boost.