Less than 48 hours after their 3-1 victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford, Manchester United take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane hoping to make it eight wins from their nine most recent fixtures.
Perturbed by the hectic Christmas schedule, United boss Louis van Gaal has bemoaned the fact he does not have sufficient time to prepare for this crunch match against Spurs - which will come as music to the ears of Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino, though - like every other Premier League manager this week - finds himself in the same position. Spurs recorded a 2-1 away win over Leicester City on Boxing Day, but will be relieved this fixture against Van Gaal’s men is taking place back in north London.
Rooney to continue in midfield
Van Gaal is not expected to make too many radical changes to the side that comfortably beat Newcastle on Friday.
Wayne Rooney should start in a deeper midfield role alongside Juan Mata, with Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie continuing to lead the Red Devils’ forward line.
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Rafael and Smalling in; McNair and Valencia out
Michael Carrick will start against his former club, protecting United’s three centre-backs, while the revitalised Ashley Young and Rafael should start in the left and right wing-back positions respectively.
Although Paddy McNair impressed against the Magpies, the 19-year-old is not expected to start at White Hart Lane. Chris Smalling, who was an unused substituted against Newcastle, should return to the starting line-up alongside Phil Jones and Jonny Evans.
David de Gea, meanwhile, will take his place in between the sticks for the Red Devils.
Manchester United: Predicted line-up v Tottenham
De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Young; Carrick, Rooney, Mata; Falcao, Van Persie
Tottenham 2-2 Manchester United
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