Manchester United could have picked easier games for the first one back after football’s suspension.
They travel to Tottenham on Friday night hoping to pick up the season where they left off – winning games and fighting hard to finish in the top four.
Spurs won’t be pushovers, Jose Mourinho has now had vital time to impart his tactical wisdom on his players, who he took charge of in November.
He’s also been lucky with the three month gap allowing him to get Harry Kane, Steven Bergwijn, Heung-Min Son, and Moussa Sissoko back and fit.
It’s will be a tougher test than it was looking back in March, that’s for sure.
Red Devils manager Solskjaer has had some boosts too, he can call on an almost fully fit squad now with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford raring to go.
But how can the Norwegian get the better of his Old Trafford predecessor once again? talkSPORT.com might have just the answer.
Tottenham have a glaring weakness this season – and we don’t just mean Serge Aurier.
They have recently shown a real fragility against sides who play with a back-three or a back-five and it’s hitting them hard.
Prior to the suspension of football five of their last seven matches were against teams using the system and of those five matches they only managed one win and four defeats – and that’s before we talk about a shocking display against Brighton earlier in the season.
It’s an awful record and only some of it can be laid at the door of injuries. England striker Kane can do many things but he alone wouldn’t have stopped the likes of Marcos Alonso, Raul Jimenez, Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer and Diogo Jota.
In these matches Spurs have tinkered with their own formation too.
A 4-2-3-1 against Aston Villa was technically the most successful in their recent run but even then they struggled to truly get going and relied on a late Heung-Min Son goal after a defensive blunder.
A 3-4-3 didn’t do so badly until they let Wolves back into the game with their own shambolic defending but a 5-4-1 was hopeless when playing Chelsea, while in the Champions League against RB Leipzig a 4-4-2 was used in the first leg and a 3-4-2-1 in the second.
It’s not quite the joined up thinking you would imagine from Mourinho and it certainly hasn’t done their top four hopes any favours.
And let’s face it, Solskjaer has done well with his own back-three this campaign.
Recent wins over Chelsea and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City point to it being the most viable option for Friday night.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel just because Kane and Son are back in town.
Brandon Williams is just as likely to succeed against Aurier as Luke Shaw, and with Maguire around the latter should not have to worry about marshalling Kane too often – we all know he prefers to drift left and get shot away early.
Meanwhile, we know Wan-Bissaka can operate well up against Son after this season’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford, so a back-three feels perfect for the occasion.
It would be wise for Solskjaer to keep faith the the Nemanja Matic-Fred partnership in central midfield, with Bruno Fernandes ahead of them.
Perhaps the biggest selection headache will be up top with four stars ready to run roughshod over a dodgy Spurs backline.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are the likeliest to start but the adaptability of Daniel James means he could get the nod, while Mason Greenwood will no doubt be prepared for a possible call to action.
How Manchester United could look with a back three against Tottenham…
Could this XI get United a win against Spurs?