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Erik ten Hag’s second season at Utrecht brought European football. His second season at Ajax brought his first title and took the club to within seconds of reaching the Champions League final. The lesson of his career to date is that when it clicks, it clicks.

How close is that to happening at Manchester United? Two wins from three games is an improvement on last season but it has been an unsteady start with narrow home wins against expected strugglers Wolves and Nottingham Forest proving unconvincing.

The defeat at Tottenham brought harsh criticism, questions about the make-up of the midfield and fears that there is something still missing. But there is hope too. Bolstered by deadline-day additions, the belief remains that Ten Hag can take this team forward.

Over the course of our conversation at the club’s training ground, he will address the failings in both defence and attack in stark terms, acknowledging the issues. But he is also eager to project calm ahead of a huge game at Arsenal on Sunday. There is no need for panic.manchester united

“I have seen a lot of the games already in the Premier League,” he tells Sky Sports. “None of the teams are yet in the right shape and in the right form. That is normal at the start of a season. Everything has to settle in and to improve. That is our job as managers.”

He saw better signs against Forest too

“We improved in attitude, resilience, determination. The way we did it, really dominating. For parts of the game, we even had 90 per cent of possession, so we pinned them back and even though they were very compact we created many chances.”

Manchester United have, late on Sunday evening, been afforded some altogether timely positive news on the personnel front.

This, of course, comes amid what has proven a day to forget for all associated with the Red Devils.

Erik ten Hag’s men marked their return to Premier League action earlier this afternoon, making the trip to rivals Arsenal for the club’s final outing ahead of the international break.

After looking as though they had snatched all three points at the death, however, United were ultimately left crestfallen, upon Alejandro Garnacho’s go-ahead finish being ruled out by VAR, before a quickfire double from the hosts culminated in a 3-1 defeat:

The drama did not end there, though, as Erik ten Hag’s post-match explanation for Jadon Sancho’s absence from his matchday squad was followed by a swift and unerring rebuttal from the England international:
Safe to say, then, that, on Sunday night, Manchester United’s supporters could do with some much-needed good news.

And, if the latest word stemming from the media is anything to go by, then that is precisely what appears to be in store for the Reds faithful. manchester united

Amid the chaos at The Emirates today, Lisandro Martinez was forced into a premature departure from proceedings, with what appeared to be a foot injury.

Only recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, concern surrounding another potentially prolonged absence for Martinez, in turn, quickly spread.

As much, however, looks altogether unlikely.

As confirmed by several reliable sources late on Sunday, after departing north London, the stopper immediately made his way to the airport, to board a plane to his home country of Argentina.

This comes ahead of Martinez linking up with Lionel Scaloni’s Albiceleste squad.

The understanding is therefore that the 25-year-old does not have an injury, with his issue having come as little more than a knock.

 

The transfer window has closed and Manchester United have strengthened the squad. However, not as extensively as many would like.

Only one striker has been signed, Rasmus Hojlund. Is this enough, when the back-up is injury-prone Anthony Martial?

The opportunity to pay money to sign players is over, or secure loans. But there is one final avenue United could explore – signing free agents.

The market for free agents at this stage is always slim pickings, but here is a look at three available strikers United might want to explore for extra depth…manchester united

The transfer window has closed and Manchester United have strengthened the squad. However, not as extensively as many would like.

Only one striker has been signed, Rasmus Hojlund. Is this enough, when the back-up is injury-prone Anthony Martial?

The opportunity to pay money to sign players is over, or secure loans. But there is one final avenue United could explore – signing free agents.

The market for free agents at this stage is always slim pickings, but here is a look at three available strikers United might want to explore for extra depth…

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with a move to sign Benjamin Pavard this summer, but Erik ten Hag’s side have apparently pulled out of the race.

Fabrizio Romano revealed last week that Pavard, who has been a target for Manchester United for weeks, could also be an option for Arsenal following Jurrien Timber’s serious knee injury.

Now, the same journalist has shared the latest in his Daily Briefing.

Man United have told Arsenal-linked Benjamin Pavared they won’t sign him

Benjamin Pavard looks like he will be leaving Bayern Munich in the coming days.

The French World Cup winner has entered the final year of his contract in Munich, and he has no interest in penning a new one. He is keen to move on, and plenty of clubs are said to be interested in him.

Manchester United have long been linked with a move to sign Pavard, while he was rumoured to be on Arsenal‘s radar too.

Manchester united

Romano, however, has claimed that Erik ten Hag’s side have now informed Pavard’s camp that they will not be signing him this month.

The journalist said: “In the last 48 hours, Man Utd told the agents of Benjamin Pavard that they are no longer in the race and the player can join Inter because they are not negotiating with any club for Maguire, and they expect him to stay.

“Only a new bid in the final days of the window can change the situation. For now, it’s very quiet on Maguire, and for Pavard, it’s going to be Inter.”

 Manchester united

TBR View:

Benjamin Pavard would’ve been a solid option for both Arsenal and Manchester United.

The Frenchman can play at right-back as well as in the heart of the defence. He is a proven winner and he would’ve added some necessary depth at both clubs, especially Arsenal, who will be without Timber for most of this season.

However, it looks like the £26 million-rated defender is off to Italy to join Inter Milan now.

It will be interesting to see who Arsenal will consider signing now as cover for Timber until he’s back from his injury.

Tottenham face Manchester United in Ange Postecoglou’s first home game in charge.

Spurs started the season with a 2-2 draw at Brentford last weekend, while United scraped past Wolves with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Monday.

In the first game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich, it will be interesting see the reaction of Spurs towards chairman Daniel Levy.

Tottenham vs Man Utd is scheduled for a 5.30pm BST kick-off time on Saturday 19 August, 2023.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London will host.

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Where to watch Tottenham vs Man United

TV channel: The game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Ultra HDR. Coverage begins at 5pm.

Live stream: Subscribers will be able to watch on a live stream via the Sky Go app.

Live blog: Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog! Dan Kilpatrick will be providing expert analysis from the ground.