The defence

A clip of Tony Soprano telling his nephew, Christopher, "You're right. I have no defence" has been circulating among some Manchester United supporters, with Tony doubling for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. At the moment, Solskjaer is more Mikey Palmice; delusionally ambitious and destined to get the bullet.

There is no silver bullet for this weekend. Raphael Varane is back in training and likely to enforce the demotion of Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof while the alternative is Eric Bailly, a popular figure in the dressing room who undermines Solskjaer's authority.

So does Solskjaer keep his friends close but his enemies closer? Bailly has made one appearance all season - in the League Cup - but Solskjaer cannot justify retaining Maguire and Lindelof. He wanted an upgrade on Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the summer and did not get Kieran Trippier. Diogo Dalot got stage fright in his audition against Villarreal.

Nuno Espirito Santo abandoned his own defensive trident in his last year at Wolves and favours 4-2-3-1 at Spurs. Switching to a back three would be a defeatist tactic from Solskjaer but should not be totally discounted. Alex Telles had his best performance for United in that formation on his debut in Paris.

That Tottenham are above United with a coach they initially refused to appoint is another case for the prosecution. There is no longer a defence for Solskjaer.

Midfield change-up

McFred, barely palatable for many United fans, was no happy meal against Liverpool. Solskjaer is going round in circles with his management of the midfield and it still would not be a jolt if the pair lined up at Tottenham. Paul Pogba is suspended and Donny van de Beek is seemingly surplus.

Nemanja Matic is the sole defensive midfielder in the United squad and is needed to plug the gaps again. United are incapable of controlling a game and are not going to at Spurs, so Matic's partner is likelier to be Fred or Scott McTominay than Van de Beek.

Bruno Fernandes's anarchic pressing allowed Liverpool's midfield trio to ride roughshod over McTominay and Fred and the Portuguese's form has mirrored United's over the last month or so.

Drop another big name

Solskjaer may cling onto his totem but dropping Fernandes has to be considered. Jesse Lingard, inexplicably underused despite his game-changing impacts off the bench, could knit the midfield and attack together.

Lingard was promoted to the United first-team under Louis van Gaal as much for his work off the ball as on it. Even if Solskjaer switches to a back three there is room for Lingard, who operated in the same system behind Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling for England at the 2018 World Cup.

Play Sancho on the right

Last year, United sources confirmed Jadon Sancho was their 'right wing' priority. This year, he was a mere 'winger'. That is a minor difference but also a major one.

United have somehow failed to nail down a role for Sancho and he started his full debut at Wolves on the left while Daniel James was on the right. Two days later he was in a Leeds shirt.

That has set the tone for a disastrous start for Sancho, ridiculed by Sky in Germany, who mocked up Sancho as James Bond this week. 'They call me 007' the graphic read - zero goals and zero assists in seven games.

No time to sigh
No time to sigh

Sancho was so coveted by United the pressure intensified with every year he did not sign for them and he has found it too hot in the pressure cooker so far.

Coaching presence

In his last five games, Solskjaer has encountered Jurgen Klopp, Gian Piero Gasperini, Brendan Rodgers, Rafael Benitez, and Unai Emery. All five are legitimately better coaches than Solskjaer and it makes a mockery of United's existence as a football club they are tolerating this.

Nuno Espirito Santo is not an obviously better coach than Solskjaer, although he did have his number in their first duels. Tottenham, like United, have been onto a hiding since they sacked Jose Mourinho and Saturday possibly pits two coaches with a slightly similar pedigree.

If Solskjaer is to make it past Halloween, he needs to make his presence felt in the technical area. Yes, it might appear forced, but the United coaching staff decided to let Mike Phelan take the lead last week following criticism.

Author's personal XI: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, Matic, Fred, Lingard, Sancho, Rashford, Ronaldo