Saturday, 15 January 2011

MUFC vs Spurs Preview

Tomorrow's game has been widely anticipated by fans and pundits alike for many weeks. Nearly every result prediction I have seen has leaned towards a comfortable Spurs victory to allegedly throw the title race wide open. 

While I would agree it is a key game and one of the toughest that United will face as they begin the race towards the finish line, the result will not in any way prove decisive and I am sure there will be plenty of twists and turns to come.

United have a great record against their hosts from White Hart Lane having not lost any of the last 23 meetings in all competitions and having won 15 out of the last 19 league games. Spurs will have to overcome this psychological  problem in order to succeed and the longer the game remains level or in United's favour then the higher the chance that the Reds will prevail.

Of the many previews I have read both in newspapers and on the Internet, most have pointed towards the battle on United's right where the young Brazilian Rafael will lock horns with the pacey Welsh winger Gareth Bale. Whilst I agree that this clash is important, I think the midfield is where the game will be won and lost.

Midfield the key battleground
I think I can say with some certainty that Spurs will select just two central midfielders with Modric and one of Jenas and Palacios alongside the talented Croatian. It has to be said that in the big away games, United tend to go in with three in the central area and I would rate the likelihood fairly highly that this will continue. I would expect Fletcher, Carrick and Anderson to be the ones selected by Sir Alex with Scholes coming back to full fitness.

From what I have seen of Spurs this season, Modric has often been their key player from an attacking sense with his swift, accurate passing mixed in with the occasional dribble to put opponent's on the back foot. I would expect Ferguson to ask Fletcher to keep a close eye on Modric and not allow him the time and space to dictate matters. In addition, once United have the ball, he will be keen to get Anderson on the ball to play a similar role to Modric for Untied. He will hope that the lively Brazilian can drive towards the Spurs backline and draw defenders out of position before releasing the attacking threat that the Red Devils possess. Whether Ando is up to the task remains to be seen as he often goes missing in away games and can be liable to lose possession with an over ambitious pass. Carrick will sit at the base and look to thread small passes to release Anderson and the likes of Nani and Giggs.

I would expect these two to be the wide men selected for United and another potential key to victory. Neither Hutton or Assou-Ekottu are strong defensively and Ferguson will target keeping them occupied in their own half rather than having them cross the halfway line where they could pose a potent threat alongside Bale and Lennon.

Lennon against Evra will be another exciting encounter as they have had numerous tussles over the last few years with the England man often proving to be a tough proposition. Expect the Frenchman to try to force his opponent back into his own half by counter attacking when the Reds are in possession. He may also be a fair bet for an early booking as he looks to make his mark.

United must also be aware that Tottenham have recouped more points from losing positions (16) than any other team in the Premier League. The other stat to worry the visitors is that 84% of  the goals United have conceded have come in the second half, a higher proportion than any other team in the top flight. Mix these two together and even if they are leading at half time, they must be wary of a Spurs comeback and remain vigilant throughout. The likes of Liverpool and Wolves will testify to this having led well into the 2nd period and being helpless to stop the home side steamroller their back line over the closing minutes. 

Predicted team
VDS, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Rooney.

Predicted Result
I think that the match will end in a draw, a result that I think most United fans would just about accept seeing as they have games in hand against the likes of City, Arsenal and Chelsea. I will plump for 1-1 with Rooney opening the scoring for the Reds with Spurs levelling matters in the second half.

What is your predicted team and result?


  1. VDS, Rafa, Rio, Vida, Evra, Nani, Ando, Fletch, Giggs, Rooney, Berba.

  2. 2-0 United, Rooney on the double ?

  3. Would love to agree with both your posts but feel SAF will think a draw is a good result so will play 4-5-1 and I don't think we will stop Spurs scoring. Hate to be negative and hope I get proved wrong!