Tim Sherwood pledged to relight the attacking football flame at Tottenham, and shoehorning Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor into the same side in his first away match showed that wasn’t just hot air.
The man on a duel mission to return Spurs to the top four and make 4-4-2 fashionable again has taken charge of four games so far, with both teams scoring in three of those and the average goal count reading 3.25.
Manchester United’s defensive figures have improved since the clubs engaged in a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane a month ago, conceding just five times in eight outings and keeping four clean sheets in six.
Similarly, their home encounters with fellow high-rollers haven’t been too exciting. The 0-0 with Chelsea was a complete write-off, while they snuck past Arsenal 1-0 and were ambushed 0-1 by Everton.
If anyone can tease out their adventurous side though, it is a Spurs squad that leaked six goals to Man City and five to Liverpool and has already co-starred in one mesmerising quickstep with them.
That 2-2 spoil sharer was the third time in four collisions that the pair combined for four or more goals. With Tottenham’s ambition and capacity for capitulation boundless, it may pay to favour over 3.5 goals at 7/4 ahead of over 2.5 at 8/11.
Only Everton and Man City have prevented the north Londoners from firing two or more times in their past 10 away games, so both teams to score is another bet that leaps out at 7/10.
As for the match outcome, the courage of lining up 4-4-2 at Old Trafford – assuming that Sherwood sets up as anticipated – is laudable, but the risk is even more immense.
The Lilywhites didn’t lose any of their three meetings with Man United under Andre Villas-Boas, yet lost seven in eight prior to that under the less structurally savvy Harry Redknapp.
With the hosts on a run of six straight victories, they look great value at 3/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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