Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: The X-Factors
Manchester United travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur. The first meeting this season was a 3-0 victory for United with Welbeck, Anderson, and Rooney scoring the goals. Spurs have failed to beat United in their last 21 Premier League matches. Thi...
Manchester United travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur. The first meeting this season was a 3-0 victory for United with Welbeck, Anderson, and Rooney scoring the goals. Spurs have failed to beat United in their last 21 Premier League matches. This time around, Spurs will have Luka Modric in their starting 11.
When Spurs faced United back at Old Trafford in August, Modric was hoping for a move to Chelsea, but seven months later Spurs are in third place and six points clear of both London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. Spurs are looking Champions League bound and a win on Sunday could deal a damaging blow to United’s title hopes.
The Croatian international has been immense for Spurs this season having scored three and assisting six. He has scored in a big game this season against Liverpool and his ability to sit deep has been his best asset to the team this year.
Luka is a player who rarely ventures forward, only scoring three goals this season, but by doing that it lets him spread the ball around, set up more chances for Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor who have combined to score 17 goals in the league this season.
His consistency this season has been the major reason why Spurs are enjoying one of their best season in the club’s history.
Sir Alex compared both Scholes and Modric during his Friday morning press conference by saying,”they are both intelligent footballers and both influence their teams.”
Having been out the last several weeks with a throat infection, Rooney will be raring to go and has scored six times in last seven games against Spurs. This season Rooney has matured, putting in better performances more consistently and is scoring goals on a regular basis, not like he used to when he scored in bursts then go on cold streaks, and not score for five or six matches in a row.
Rooney has scored in 10 games this season in 21 league starts, two of those starts came from playing as a central midfielder . When he hasn’t played for United this season, his presence is hugely missed.
There’s no player in the league besides Robin Van Persie that means so much to their team as Rooney does, scoring 17 times in 22 league games. United seem to cope when he’s missing in short periods, by winning the game late on like our last game against Norwich City, when Giggs scored in the 91st minute to win it.
My line up prediction for Spurs:
Friedel,Walker, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, van der Vaart, Modric, Lennon, Saha, Adebayor
De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Park, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Welbeck, Rooney
Before I end this piece, here are some fun facts regarding this match up:
- This will be the first Manchester United game to be officiated by Martin Atkinson this season. The last time he was in charge of a United game, Sir Alex was given a touchline ban for his post-match comments after a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.
- There have been an average of almost five goals per game in the 14 head-to-head meetings between the Premier League’s top five.
- Manchester United’s next goal against Tottenham away will be their 100th league goal at White Hart Lane against Spurs.
- Tottenham have drawn 99 games at White Hart Lane in Premier League history.
- Spurs have scored the lowest percentage of headed goals in the league (4%).
- Tottenham have scored more goals in the first 15 minutes of a game than any other team.
- Manchester United are one of only two teams to have yet to concede in the opening 15 minutes of a game.
- In the reverse fixture between these two teams, there were 23 shots on target – more than any other game this season.
- Spurs have won none of their last 21 Premier League games against Manchester United, drawing 5 and losing 16.
- Spurs have also failed to score against United in 13 of their last 20 attempts.
- Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last seven games against Tottenham.
- Ryan Giggs has scored more goals against Spurs than any other team.
Written by Tyler Dunne