Man Utd have two key players at risk of being banned

Manchester United V Newcastle United In Pictures

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Manchester United duo Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot will need to be wary of picking up yellow cards against Tottenham on Wednesday night in order to avoid being banned for this weekend’s trip to Chelsea. The Red Devils will be desperate to return to winning ways at the very next opportunity in midweek after being held to a frustrating goalless draw by Newcastle United on Sunday.

United’s failure to beat the Magpies saw them remain fifth in the Premier League table, three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and 11 short of table-toppers Arsenal. They will have the added benefit of home advantage against Tottenham but are likely to go into Wednesday’s match as the underdogs, with the north Londoners having only lost once in the league since the beginning of the season.

The fixture will take place just three days before United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in another tricky test for Erik ten Hag’s side, who have shown flashes of what they are capable of in recent weeks but remain some way off being able to challenge at the top of the table. They will be hoping that Fernandes and Dalot manage to avoid the referee’s wrath against Tottenham in order to ensure their availability on the weekend, with both players on four yellow cards and walking a tightrope over the possibility of being suspended.

They will, of course, receive one-match bans that would rule them out of United’s upcoming clash with Chelsea if they are booked in midweek. Fernandes was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Bruno Guimaraes during the second half against Newcastle, while Dalot was most recently cautioned after just two minutes of United’s heavy defeat at Manchester City earlier this month.

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Both players are likely to be involved from the start when Tottenham visit Old Trafford on Wednesday as Erik ten Hag’s men look to gain some much-needed winning momentum at the next time of asking. The Dutchman urged his players to start taking control of matches on a regular basis after the final whistle against Newcastle, who managed to earn a welcome point against the Red Devils despite having their backs to the wall for much of the second half.

“We broke them but we didn’t kill them,” said Ten Hag. “Newcastle are one of the most physical teams in the league. They all had cramp and we didn’t because we were good on the ball and let them run.

“We had the chances, 15 attempts. But our strikers will score a lot, I’m confident about that. We score in almost every game. Today we didn’t but in the other games we score.

“It’s clear it’s about taking responsibility. I am convinced our strikers will take responsibility, but also other players, midfielders, and defenders can also score goals.”

United have managed to win five of their opening nine Premier League matches so far this season but have fallen to three defeats, with their inconsistencies preventing them from climbing into the division’s top four as things stand. There is still plenty of time for Ten Hag to put things right before the end of the campaign, though, as he looks to help the Red Devils return to the Champions League against the odds next season.


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