WHAT'S NEW IN SPURS SINCE OUR LAST VISIT?
PREMIER LEAGUE

WHAT’S NEW IN SPURS SINCE OUR LAST VISIT?

WHAT’S NEW IN SPURS SINCE OUR LAST VISIT?

Even taking into consideration the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of football, the changes at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur since our last visit to their new stadiums are astounding.

Just 18 months have elapsed since the Reds ended a difficult October 2021 on a high note by outworking and outscoring Nuno Espirito Santo’s struggling Spurs 3-0 on their own turf.

It was our second win in three visits to the north London club’s opulent home since it opened in 2019, but so much has transpired in the intervening year that both teams will be virtually unrecognisable when they take the field on Thursday for another crucial match.

Sure, many of the top players remain, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min leading the charge for the Londoners and David De Gea and Marcus Rashford among United’s roster.

When recalling that autumn evening, however, the dugouts are the most notable difference.
Nuno was only four months into his Spurs tenure when it was announced that he would be replaced by Antonio Conte, two days before the weekend. Nuno’s tenure at Tottenham was preceded by an impressive stint at Wolves.

Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was less than a month away from his own departure, and this was his final victory as Reds manager.

His assistant Michael Carrick assumed charge for three games, and Ralf Rangnick finished the season before it was announced that Erik ten Hag would take over permanently just over a year ago.

Ten Hag defeated Conte in their only meeting, a 2-0 victory in October that did not accurately reflect United’s utter dominance; however, Conte resigned from his position at the end of last month.

We were preparing to face his assistant, Cristian Stellini, who was slated to manage Spurs for the remainder of the season on an interim basis, but it will now be Ryan Mason in the Spurs dugout – the former midfielder is caretaker manager for the second time, having replaced Jose Mourinho in the spring of 2021.

Even without new additions such as Antony, Casemiro, Ivan Perisic, and Richarlison, both teams are likely to line up very differently than they did last time.

Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane, and Harry Maguire all played at centre-back, as Solskjaer reverted to the back five he frequently employed in his early days in charge.

You can count on one hand the number of occasions we’ve lined up with five defenders since then.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, who combined excellently throughout the game and scored our first goal, have since left the club. However, nine of the eleven United starters are still with the club.

Giovani Lo Celso is the only Spurs starter who is no longer in England, but seven of the nine substitutes have now either permanently or temporarily departed north London.

Tottenham played a 4-2-3-1 formation that evening, but Conte introduced his signature three-at-the-back system, which was only changed on Sunday, during Spurs’ disastrous 6-1 loss at Newcastle, which dealt a significant blow to their top-four prospects.

Unlike October 2021, when we entered the game trailing Tottenham, the Reds now have a six-point advantage over Thursday’s hosts in the Premier League table, two games in hand, and a superior goal difference to Spurs after Sunday’s result.

Therefore, our opponents may be more desperate for a victory than United, although Ten Hag will no doubt be looking ahead to the upcoming tests against Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion and eager to seize the opportunity to all but terminate the Champions League hopes of one of the chasing pack.

What transpires on Thursday will likely determine the identities of both organizations for the 2023/24 season.

However, it is difficult to conceive that N17 will have changed as drastically since October 2021 when we return.

WHAT’S NEW IN SPURS SINCE OUR LAST VISIT?