It’s the weekend, and as matchday approaches once again, United aim to step up a gear as they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
Fresh on the back of six victories in a row, the reds will be looking to make that a magnificent seven wins in succession on Saturday tea time, in what looks to be our toughest test so far this term.
A sweet win at Anfield last week, coupled with a very nice League Cup victory in midweek, means that confidence should be high in the United camp…but as we all know, we’re grinding out these results at the moment, and not looking the most convincing team in the world.
Could this give Spurs a boost to earn their first win at Old Trafford in many years?
News that Nemanja Vidic will be out for eight weeks is a blow to a team, who are already without Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Rio Ferdinand susceptible to the odd knock. Ashley Young is also still sidelined.
Antonio Valencia is also likely to miss out through injury, but Wayne Rooney could be in line for a start or a place on the bench after returning to the side in mid week.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas [AVB] is likely to restore Brad Friedel, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe to his side after they were rested in the Capital One cup tie against Carlisle in midweek. Kyle Naughton might also be back in action after missing the game with QPR a week ago.
Midfield the key…?
Anderson could continue in midfield for the reds, after an impressive run out against Newcastle United. I hope he does.
He’s someone who could be such an influential player for the reds if he could keep that level up week in, week out. A guy unlucky with injuries, he’s the type of player who gets a run in the side and takes leaps forwards. But when he is rested or gets a knock, he takes a good few steps back. I’d like to see him with Carrick and Kagawa face Tottenham, I think they’d complement each other perfectly and control that area of the pitch.
Chris Foy is the man in the middle on Saturday, and he’ll be assisted by A. Garratt and H. Lennard. Mark Clattenburg is the fourth official.
Will their name be up in diamond lights at 7.30pm?
We spoke to a Michael and Jo, a couple of Spurs fans for their views on their team, and their chances for three points Saturday:
“I wouldn’t say we’ve completely settled under AVB yet.” Michael said. “We beat a pretty poor Reading side and were then outplayed by QPR during the first half of our last home game, before coming back in the second half to nick the three points. We were also terrible at home to Norwich. Villas-Boas has got them playing a high-energy pressing game which we never had under Redknapp, and so the players are still adapting.”
Jo agreed: “AVB is clearly still looking to find his best team, and settle in the late signings. Starting Bale at left back against QPR last week was a mistake, but he was quick to correct it at half-time, and admitted that it didn’t work after the match. I’d call that progress.”
Michael and Jo agree that Dembele will be a threat to the reds on Saturday: “Dembele is a strong player who rarely gives the ball away and glides past people at ease.” Michael said. “I’m still scratching my head as to how we managed to sign Vertonghen and Dembele (as well as LLoris) without the lure of Champions League football.”
Jo added: “He showed with Fulham just how devastating he can be at Old Trafford and appears to be continuing that form.”
So what do our friends from North London think of their chances on Saturday?
Jo: “United are achieving wins without playing particularly well, as results against Liverpool and Galatasaray have showed. There are also defensive injuries to consider. For Spurs, we have a team capable of winning, and AVB has stated it’ll be an all-out attack approach – but is this the right time to play United? More importantly, is there ever a right time to break that Old Trafford curse? This could be our year…2-2 draw, Defoe to get his 200th career goal.”
Michael said: “In the case of United away, we always wait nervously to hear who is refereeing the game too!! I don’t mean to sound like a bad sport, but no other fixture has seen us screwed over as much as United away. If the past is anything to go by, things will pan out like this: Spurs start brightly and score first, referee makes a terrible decision, United equalise, we capitulate and lose heavily. We’d be delighted with a point.”
Spurs don’t really do victories at Old Trafford – December 1989 was their last win here. But out of the teams we’ve played so far, they are the first team who can realistically challenge for a spot in the top four.
It will be tough, we’re in for a tough few weeks to be fair with the injuries at the back, but if the midfield bosses the game as well as they did on Wednesday, we could come away with the result that will keep us breathing down Chelsea’s necks at the top of the table.
Wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.
Follow me on Twitter: @stevecrab