Former Arsenal hero Paul Merson believes that Tottenham Hotspur need to beat Manchester United for them to put down a statement to declare their title ambitions but insists that both clubs will settle for a draw in the grand scheme of things.
Spurs have been in brilliant form this season and sit level on points with Jose Mourinho's men following their 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool last gameweek. However, they hit a blip in midweek when they relinquished a two-goal advantage to lose to West Ham United and were subsequently knocked out in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
United, on the other hand, will be desperate to bounce back after their 2-1 humbling in the Premier League at the hands of newly-promoted Huddersfield, ending their unbeaten streak from the start of the new season.
Errors from Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof led to the Terriers establishing a 2-0 lead in the first half at the John Smith's Stadium, with Marcus Rashford scoring a late consolation goal for the visitors.
They managed to lift the mood with a 2-0 win over Swansea City in the League Cup, but will be further bolstered after Tottenham confirmed that Harry Kane "underwent assessment and investigation earlier this week" which confirmed a "minor strain" in his left hamstring and will be unavailable for the game.
Merson told Sky Sports, "It's no surprise but the West Ham defeat proved it, Tottenham are a different team without Harry Kane. But I watched Manchester United at Huddersfield and they were poor. That was after they went to Liverpool and just shut up shop – those results have left them behind the eight-ball.
"They are five points behind Man City and have a difficult match coming up. United need to take the game to Tottenham and I'm not sure they can do that. Spurs would probably take a draw but their away record has been phenomenal recently. And if Mauricio Pochettino's team really have aspirations of winning the title themselves, this is a fixture they need to win.
"The way Manchester City are playing at the moment, winning at United gives you every chance of challenging."