Man United perspective: Chudi Onwuazor, The Busby Way.
Following a below par performance in the game against Liverpool last Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson will hope his Manchester United side can improve against Tottenham. United were second best for large spells but back at Anfield, but go into this game having won every game they’ve played this season bar the opener at Goodison Park. We haven’t lost in the Premier League at Old Trafford since the shock 3-2 defeat to Blackburn on New Year's Eve, so we're in confident mood ahead of the visit of Spurs.
With Nemanja Vidic having surgery on his knee earlier in the week, expect Sir Alex to pair Rio Ferdinand with Jonny Evans in defence. Antonio Valencia’s ankle knock means he could miss out, but Wayne Rooney’s return is good news. An attacking line of Van Persie, Rooney, Kagawa and Nani should cause problems for Tottenham.
United normally do well against Spurs, having won 17 of their last 22 meetings. Tottenham last tasted victory at Old Trafford way back in 1989, so the odds are stacked in United’s favour.
Wayne Rooney to score at 2.00. An impressive performance from Wayne Rooney in midweek spells trouble for Spurs. The striker has scored 7 in his last 8 games against the north London club.
Man United to win without conceding at 2.80. There are still unanswered questions about United’s defence, but even with Vidic out, this seems a good price.
Over 2.5 goals at 1.62. Not the biggest odds, but these games normally have goals in them.
Man United 3-1 Tottenham (12.50)
Tottenham perspective: Matt Harris, TottenhamBlog.
Our main problem area is at left-back, where three players have been used out of position to cover for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Jan Vertonghen is the most likely candidate, although the loss of a stand-out player will weaken the centre of defence. Elsewhere, Emmanuel Adebayor looks to be winning his own fitness battle but it’s unlikely that Villas-Boas will drop in-form Jermain Defoe up front.
For all the criticism levelled at Spurs this season, our form is pretty sound. The win over Carlisle in midweek made it six games unbeaten in all competitions and the squad is showing signs of gelling under the new coach. If we were heading anywhere other than Old Trafford, recent form would give great cause for optimism.
Spurs haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1989, when a Gary Lineker effort from outside of the box (yes, really) secured a 1-0 win. Since then, there have been a couple of draws, including the 0-0 in 2005 which was notable for Pedro Mendes' phantom goal. Other than that, it’s been 23 years of hurt in this fixture and although we always like to be optimistic, it’s difficult to see things changing this weekend.
Jermain Defoe to score anytime at 3.75. The striker has four in five in the league plus two for England.
Draw/Man United HT/FT at 4.70. Spurs have taken an early lead in this game on occasions and we could well be level at half time.
Over 2.5 goals at 1.62. The banker this week. Hopefully some of them will be ours.
Manchester United 3-1 Spurs (12.50)