There always seems to be fireworks when Jose Mourinho squares off against an old employer, and you’d expect no different on Friday as Manchester United make the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Despite the action taking place behind closed doors, there is no doubt Mourinho’s desire to win this fixture will be tenfold due to his turbulent tenure at Old Trafford.
After a hiatus of 3 months, both sides kick off the restarted Premier League campaign with designs on a top four finish.
Clinching 4th spot would take a remarkable effort from Tottenham, who realistically need to win the majority of their 9 remaining matches to stand any chance.
Mourinho, then, may have his eye on 5th spot – a berth which could harbour Champions League football next season depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s court case with UEFA.
That 5th position is currently occupied by Manchester United, Spurs’ opponents in Friday’s 8.15pm kick off.
The coronavirus-enforced suspension came at contrasting times for both clubs – Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side enjoying a rich vein of form and unbeaten in 11 in all competitions when the action was halted.
As for Spurs, they were without a win in 6 when the season was placed on hold.
Such has been the length of the break between fixtures that no attention can really be paid to the form book – tactics and personnel likely to win the day.
From a fitness perspective, it can be argued that the lockdown period has been the most beneficial for Spurs than any other club in the division.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are both back to full fitness after recovering from hamstring surgery and a fractured arm respectively.
South Korean international Son even managed to complete his mandatory military service in his homeland during the shutdown.
Mourinho confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Kane and Son will both start against United, along with Moussa Sissoko, who is fit again along with Steven Bergwijn.
Jan Vertonghen is likely to feature, with Mourinho suggesting the defender is close to signing fresh terms.
Giovanni Lo Celso is a doubt for Tottenham – the Spurs boss revealing the Argentine will be subject to a late fitness test before Friday’s affairs.
Dele Alli will also be absent, with the England international serving a one-match FA ban following a Snapchat video mocking coronavirus.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe from his Manchester United ranks, but will have Paul Pogba available again in what has been an injury-plagued season for the Frenchman.
Odion Ighalo provides an option up front, with his loan contract from Shanghai Shenhua having been extended to cover the remainder of the Premier League season.
Marcus Rashford has recovered from a back injury and will be in contention to face Spurs.
Rashford has been in the headlines this week for the role he played in encouraging a Government U-turn on their free school meals policy.
United youngster Angel Gomes is also a possibility for Solskjaer, with the Norwegian revealing on Thursday the club have offered a new contract to the 19-year-old whose current deal expires at the end of the month.
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is an 8.15pm kick off on Friday, June 19.