Match date and time: Wednesday 1st January 2014. Kick off 5:30 pm. Live on BT Sport.
Venue: Old Trafford.
Competition: Premier League.
What a game to start 2014 we have in prospect, these matches have delivered some absolute classics in the past, mostly for Manchester United, but we have our fair share too especially in recent times. After 23 years of Old Trafford misery, last season we won in spectacular fashion, 3-2, it was definitely one of the most memorable moments of 2013. This season, we faced the Red Devils at the Lane drawing 2-2 in another great game, Sandro and Walker on the score sheet, but Manchester United have since hit a good spell of form and this game will be very difficult, plus, we have a different manager! Under Sherwood we are unbeaten in the League, and have scored 7 goals in three games which gives us a lot of confidence. In our last game we cruised past Stoke to win 3-0, now we have to translate that sort of form into the ‘big games’ and they don’t come much bigger than Manchester United away. It will be a great indication of what we can expect from Sherwood in these up coming games, to see how versatile he is and if he has the tactical nous to compete with these big clubs and challenge for the Champions League places. It’s going to be interesting how Sherwood sets up, if he continues with the 4-4-2 and sacrifices a midfielder for offensive purposes, or we see one striker in more of a 4-3-3 formation. I’d expect a persistence with the 4-4-2 formation, which could transform into a 4-3-3 with Adebayor or Soldado drifting out wide.
Manchester United sit in 6th place on 34 points, which will be a definite disappointment for them and their fans, the Champions last season expect much more from their team, but they will always need time to settle in a new manager, David Moyes is a good coach and I definitely think he will succeed at Old Trafford. United are level on points with ourselves in 7th, only goal difference putting them ahead of us, so a tight and even game could be expected! The team news for Manchester United is that Robin Van Persie, Fellaini (wrist), Nani (hamstring) and Phil Jones are out for the game, while Wayne Rooney and Rafael are doubts for the men in red. Obviously it’s a big plus for us that Van Persie and Rooney are out, but they have good players to replace them, Hernandez and Welbeck.
The team news for us is that Super Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Paulinho (ankle), Andros Townsend (hamstring), Sandro (knee) and Younes Kaboul (quad) all out for the game against Manchester United, but absentees from the Stoke game Lewis Holtby, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are all available, with Jermain Defoe likely to return at least to the bench after injury. A massive boost that Kyle Walker is back, he’s been arguably our best player this season, and we need the threat he possess going forward and his defensive qualities too. A similar side that faced Stoke is what I would expect, Adebayor and Soldado to continue up front, with Eriksen possibly staying out wide left and cutting inside. The only changes that are now forced are the injury to Paulinho, so possibly the introduction of Capoue who was brilliant when he came on against Stoke, the return of Kyle Walker to replace Kyle Naughton, plus, on the left of the defence, I’d expect Danny Rose to return and replace young Zeki Fryers who did well at left back against Stoke but I would say he doesn’t have the experience needed to face Manchester United. We need Mousa Dembele to put in a big performance in midfield, along with who I suspect will be Etienne Capoue, because we have a real opportunity to dominate the midfield and if we do that at Old Trafford we have the chance if our attackers can put away opportunities, to win this game, so it’s crucial that Dembele and Capoue show steel and class in midfield and Adebayor and Soldado show composure and finishing touches. Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen’s performances will also I feel be directly proportionate to the result. Come on boys!
Massive game! Happy New Year to all my readers and followers, hopefully Spurs can put a smile on your faces and make a mark on Manchester United! You can follow me at @AddictedToSpurs, where I will provide match updates, videos and pictures for you all! Let’s repeat what we did at Old Trafford last season. COYS!!
Match stats and facts provided by FourFourTwo
– Wayne Rooney has scored nine Premier League goals against Tottenham, including seven in his last six starts versus them.
– Tottenham Hotspur have won just one of the last 25 Premier League matches against Manchester United (W1 D7 L17).
– Man Utd have had win/win results in their last seven home wins against top-half teams.
– Manchester United scored two goals from three shots on target in their reverse fixture against Spurs this season.
– Tottenham’s victory at Old Trafford last season was their first in 21 Premier League attempts (D3 L17).
– Man Utd have won their last four matches.
– Spurs have failed to score in 13 of their last 19 league trips to Old Trafford.
– Manchester United have won their last four Premier League games; they have not won 5+ in a row since a spell of seven in a row in March 2013.
– Spurs have conceded first in their last four away matches.
– Wayne Rooney needs one goal to become only the second player in Premier League history to score 10+ goals in 10 consecutive seasons (Lampard achieved this last season).
– Rooney has two assists more (9) than any other Premier League player this season.
– Man Utd have had Under 2.5 goals in their last four home matches against top-half teams.
– Tottenham have won more penalties than any other Premier League team this season (4 – all scored by Roberto Soldado).
– However, Manchester United have now gone 76 Premier League games without conceding a penalty (equivalent to two whole seasons).
My predicted team to face Manchester United at Old Trafford:
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Lennon – Capoue – Dembele – Eriksen
Adebayor – Soldado