One of the nice things about a season match bet is that when looking at the prices, you only have to focus on the two teams in question. Imagine the frustration of having backed say Tottenham for a Top 2 finish in the 2015/16 season, only for them to finish ahead of Man City, Manchester United and Liverpool...but behind Arsenal...and Leicester.
Of course the flipside is that you're not going to get any wildly attractive prices in a two-horse race but a quote of 2.10 in such a market is a good one. Especially when there are good reasons to think that Tottenham can finish higher than Manchester United this Premier League campaign.
Who's the better Manager?
Well if you're looking at career achievements then there is of course only one winner. And it's not Mauricio Pochettino. But that's like saying (excuse the obscure comparison but it is after all the week of The Open) that Sandy Lyle is a better golfer than Tommy Fleetwood. Lyle was a better golfer than Fleetwood has ever been but right here right now, which of the two would you pick to play golf for your life? Yeah, me too.
In fairness to Jose Mourinho, his pragmatic approach to focussing on the Europa League last season paid off. He got the Champions League football he so craved via the back door. But which of the two managers looks better prepared for the rigours of an away trip to Stoke? Which of them looks more in control of their players? Which looks more in control of their emotions? Do Mourinho's mind games and other tactics- such as the public humiliation of under-performing players- still work? Or is it all a little bit too 2005?
Recent history on Tottenham's side
Since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement at the end of the 2013/14 season, it's 3-1 Spurs in terms of the higher league finish. Maybe it's the slightly greater stability brought about by the fact that Pochettino is entering his fourth season as manager there or that Spurs have the stronger squad. But either way, the numbers don't lie.
I'd take Spurs' squad
There's no doubt that if you were to slap a price tag on both clubs' squads, Manchester United's would be worth a lot more. The mere presence of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku in United's would see to that. But is it the better squad? The two keepers are as good as each other but Spurs look better equipped when it comes to defenders. Considering that United would probably see a back four of Antonio Valencia (ageing and not even playing in his natural position), Viktor Lindelof (in his debut Premier League season), Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw (prone to injury, carrying too much weight and careless mistakes) as their best, I'd rather take Spurs'. Even after the sale of Kyle Walker.
To get 50 million for a contract rebel right-back when you have a more than adequate replacement in Kieran Tripper already waiting in the wings was incredible business by Daniel Levy and his crew. Just as crucially, the money secured from that sale meant they could happily say 'thanks but no thanks' when a certain club came asking about the versatile Eric Dier. That club being Manchester United.
I wouldn't bother going through the rest of the two respective squads other than to say that there's a lot of dead wood in that Manchester United dressing room: Anthony Martial, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, to name but a few.
What if the wonderfully talented Pogba just doesn't settle at Old Trafford? Maybe Sir Alex was right all along when he felt he wasn't suited to the Premier League. Worse still: what if Lukaku doesn't settle? We know he can play and score freely in this league but what we don't know is how he'll cope with being the big star at a huge club. Or whether the United system will help or hinder his quest for goals.
No such worries for Tottenham, who have in Harry Kane a player who finished second, first and first in the top goalscorer charts over the past three seasons and in the supporting trio of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son three players who between them contributed 40 goals and 40 assists between them last term.
Will Spurs be better or worse off at Wembley?
This is the potential fly in the ointment as regards our bet. Our instinct as punters is that this sort of change inevitably does more harm than good. And if we're honest, the poor showing by West Ham in their first season in a new stadium and Spurs' own sub-par performances in the Champions League and (one) Europa League match there last term would justify us being cautious.
But then again, West Ham are West Ham and Spurs are Spurs. And four matches is too small a sample upon which to judge how they'll perform at Wembley. It's not like the likes of Kane, Alli, Danny Rose and Dier aren't used to playing there on England duty. Besides, it may be that the bigger dimensions of the pitch and extra capacity actually works in Spurs' favour.
Either way, the change of stadium isn't reason enough to think that Spurs can't come good and prove that while United are very much work in progress, they're approaching the finished article.
Back Tottenham to win season match bet against Manchester United @ 2.10
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