Match Preview – Manchester United (Away)

Tottenham travel to Old Trafford on New Years Day, in a game at many will hope to see reflect that of Spurs’ last visit to Manchester United. This time round, the circumstances are very different with a new squad and a new manager travelling up North.

Spurs won this fixture 3-2 last season, claiming their first victory at Manchester United since 16 December 1989. The victory ended a winless run of 26 games (D4, L22) away to the Red Devils. Since then the sides have drawn twice at White Hart Lane, meaning Tottenham are unbeaten in their last three games against United. The last game between the pair saw a 2-2 draw at the Lane in December, Sandro and Walker scoring two peaches.

The Red Devils have won their last six games in league and cup. It is their best winning run since a six-match streak between August and September 2012 which ended with a 3-2 loss at home to Tottenham. They have claimed eight wins from their last 13 top-flight matches, losing twice. Danny Welbeck has scored four goals and assisted one in his last four Premier League appearances. Manchester United have not conceded a penalty in their last 76 Premier League games.

Spurs have scored more Premier League penalties than any other side this season – all four of them converted by Roberto Soldado. Tottenham have scored seven goals in their last three Premier League games, as many as they managed in their final seven top-flight matches under Andre Villas-Boas. The 3-0 win against Stoke was Spurs’ biggest Premier League victory since beating Aston Villa 4-0 on 26 December 2012. The result also gave Tottenham their first clean sheet in nine league games. Spurs players embarked on 29 dribbles, more than any other Premier League side at the weekend.

Injury wise, it is expected that Wayne Rooney will return for United from a groin problem, while Robin van Persie is also thought to be in contention, albeit as a substitute as there are serious doubts over his ability to play. Some reports suggest the is fit, others ruling him out indefinitely. However, Portuguese winger Nani will play no part because of a hamstring injury and the match is likely to come too soon for Phil Jones, who has a keen problem. For Spurs, the biggest news this week is the month long exclusion of Paulinho after the filthy act of Charlie Adam at the weekend. Spurs are also missing Kaboul (quad), Townsend (hamstring) and Vertonghen (ankle). Several first teamers were excluded from the squad against Stoke, it is likely a Sherwood was resting the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson for the upcoming hectic fixtures.

Recent form:

Man United: LLWWWW

Spurs: WWLWDW

Predicted team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose; Lennon, Capoue, Dembélé, Eriksen; Adebayor, Soldado

Predicted Score: Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham (Lennon and Dembélé)

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Graphic by @ModernFooty

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