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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Man Utd v Spurs - 24.04.10

Last Year's Game - Man Utd 5 Spurs 2
This season's home game - Spurs 1 Man Utd 3
This week - last year
What happened in the Premiership in Match 36 2008-09

See the current injury list for all Premiership Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Full League Record of Man Utd v Spurs

Prem          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home          18   3   4  11   21 -32  13
Away          17   0   3  14    7 -34   3
Total (Prem)  35   3   7  25   28 -66  16
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  51  20  19  12   89 -64  63
Away (Div 1)  51   9   9  33   55 -101 28
Total(Div 1) 102  29  28  45  144 -165 91
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   4   2   1   1   10 - 3   5
Away (Div 2)   4   1   2   1    3 - 3   4
Total(Div 2)   8   3   3   2   13 - 6   9
Total (Prem)  35   3   7  25   28 -66  16
Total (Div 1) 102 29  28  45  144 -165 91
Total (Div 2)  8   3   3   2   13 - 6   9
Grand Total   145 35  38  72  185 -237 116

Last Six Premiership results:-

Man Utd

Man Utd    3-0   Fulham
Man Utd    2-1   Liverpool
Bolton     0-4   Man Utd
Man Utd    1-2   Chelsea
Blackburn  0-0   Man Utd
Man City   0-1   Man Utd

Spurs      3-1   Blackburn
Stoke      1-2   Spurs
Spurs      2-0   Portsmouth
S'derland  3-1   Spurs
Spurs      2-1   Arsenal
Spurs      2-1   Chelsea

Pos        P  W  D  L   F-A  GD  Pts
2 Man Utd 35 24  4  7  78-27 51  76
4 Spurs   34 19  7  8  62-34 28  64
Grounds for optimism!

Just 10 days ago, many Spurs fans - me included - were writing off the season as far as any Champions' League place was concerned. We had lost feebly at Sunderland, and then suffered the ignominy of the FA Cup semi-final exit against lowly Portsmouth. The two fantastic wins over Arsenal and Chelsea were spectacular and totally unexpected. Now Spurs travel to Old Trafford for yet another showdown, with every reason to be in good heart.

There are plenty of reasons to be optimisic about this week's game. A slice of history is on our side. Although I reported last week that it had been 25 years (1985-86) since we had beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea at home, it is not so long ago since we did beat both teams in the same season. That was in 1989-90, when, guess what, we also beat Manchester United! In that season 21 years ago, Spurs last beat United at Old Trafford, and in fact did a league double over "The Red Devils". Gary Lineker in his debut Spurs season scored at home and away against United, and also got the winner at Stamford Bridge. Spurs finished third in the league that season, which was the last time we managed a top four league finish.

There are more recent precedents for some Spurs optimism. Manager Harry Redknapp knows how to win at Old Trafford, beating them 1-0 during Portsmouth's 2008 Cup-winning run. In two games at Old Trafford last season, Spurs took the lead. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored a fifth minute goal in January's FA Cup defeat, then on this week-end last year Spurs were sensationally 2-0 up at half-time, only to crumble against United supremacy in the second half.

Spurs have won their last two games with almost the bare bones of a team, due to injuries and suspension, but they can go into this week's game with more than one or two aces up their sleeve. There is an argument of course about not changing a winning team, but Wilson Palacios has served his two match suspension, Ledley King might be fit to start this game, and Aaron Lennon is rumoured to be fit enough to start on the bench this week, having trained fully now for two weeks. Vedran Corluka should also be fit enough to return if selected, and the strike force is fully fit. With Jermaine Jenas also back in contention, Harry's going to have a pretty strong squad to take to "The Theatre of Dreams".

Thanks to those two marvellous wins, Spurs have no need for desperation in this game, as they are two points ahead of Man City who play at The Emirates this week-end. A draw would be an excellent result for Spurs. Defeat would not be disastrous, whilst that rare win would be absolutely sensational!

Can Spurs do it? Well, it really is a big ask, despite all my optimism! United have lost just twice in this season's home league programme. Chelsea beat them last time out at Old Trafford, whilst Aston Villa beat them early in the season. Apart from those two games, only Sunderland have come away with anything, drawing 2-2 in October. United have also beaten us twice already this season. Firstly in the league game at White Hart Lane in September, and then when we really didn't "turn up" in the Carling Cup 5th Round game.

There are grounds for optimism, but not blind optimism. United will be at full strength with Rooney and Ferdinand in the fray, although there might be questions about their FULL fitness. Fergie's only noticeable absentees ought to be Michael Owen and Anderson, without whom he has been coping fully anyway.

Harry Redknapp's game plan will be interesting, and despite the availability of 4 strikers, could incorporate Modric playing a free role in front of a midfield including Palacios, with a runner such as Pavlyuchenko or Defoe to work with Luka. Gareth Bale will probably play in front of Ekotto again, and the potential clash with Gary Neville could be interesting, although perhaps the faster Rafael would be deployed.

One thing is for certain, and that is that a good game is in prospect for the Sky viewers and the 76,000 in the stadium. I am not going to be foolhardy in my prediction, but I do think we could get the draw that would keep us in the top four even if City manage to win at Arsenal. If they lose or draw, we'd keep that place anyway. As Roberto Mancini has indicated this week, our next trip to Manchester on May 5th is likely to be decisive!

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