OPPONENTS Manchester United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 1st December 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






With Ryan Giggs now officially the oldest winger in town, United are still reliant on some of the old guard, which now includes the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick. How well they fare can be questioned after early season wobbles as David Moyes went about making the team in hos own image rather than that of Old Red Nose. However, they have steadied the ship and are now on a good run that Tottenham have to try to stop after losing 0-6 to their city rivals last week.

The new players are still not fitting into the United side as well as they played for their former sides. Kagawa is still a peripheral figure after a year there albeit and effective player when selected, Fellaini is not firing on all cylinders just yet, with Zaha failing to make the transition to a big club as yet.

But the new generation of youngsters bought in are performing well, with Andrej Januzaj being the most notable. With Phil Jones, the Fabio/Rafael brothers, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, David De Gea and Danny Welbeck all bought in, they got used to the way of playing more quickly and have become regulars. With the likes of Nani, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie, Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez also available, there is a strong squad for Moyes to pick from. And the players always seem to rise to the occasion when they play Spurs. Very rarely do they have an off day at the Lane.

There is little to suggest that Spurs will achieve a halt to United's unbeaten run, even though we beat the team who finished second bottom of the Norwegian League, while United were scraping a 5-0 away win at the team second in the Bundesliga. Players are still integrating into the side and the lack of attacking impetus to threaten the goal at the other end of the pitch. Well, we do threaten, but have found realising that threat to be more problematical. Where United have goals in them, Spurs don't seem to yet and while goals come in the Europa League, that is not the case in the Premier.

Tottenham's home record against United is not good. If United go ahead, I cannot see Spurs coming back and with United not entirely sound at the back, I am not sure that they will keep a clean sheet, but will go away with the points, no doubt starting a new rush of newspaper and phone-in calls for AVB's head.
PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    0         Manchester United    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will still be without injured Christian Eriksen (ankle), Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) and Harry Kane (back).  Danny Rose (foot) is not far off a comeback, but will not be ready for this fixture.  A number of the players rested on Thursday in the Europa League will return to action today.
Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic are expected to play after overcoming knocks and Ryan Giggs at 40 years and 2 days will play some part in the game.  Michael Carrick has a shin injury and is ruled out of the match, while Darren Fletcher is still fighting a chronic bowel complaint that has hampered his availability over the last year.

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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                                 Manchester United  2 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 1st December 2013                                                                                                           Kick off 12:00
White Hart Lane
Walker 18
Sandro 54
Rooney 32
Rooney (p) 57
Lloris (foul on Welbeck)



Evra (foul on Townsend)
Jones (foul on )
Vidic (foul on Defoe)  89


Crowd :   35,884 Weather :  Bright, some sunshine, but also cloudy and chilly
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirral) Assistant Referees :  Mr. J. Collin; Mr. P. Bankes
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Playing Time :  90 + 4
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Manchester United : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS     

  2  Kyle WALKER 
20  Michael DAWSON

  7  Aaron LENNON (17  Andros TOWNSEND 65)
19  Mousa DEMBELE
21  Nacer CHADLI  (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 85)


  9  Roberto SOLDADO (18  Jermain DEFOE 72)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
  4  Younes KABOUL
14  Lewis HOLTBY
15  Etienne CAPOUE

    1  David De GEA

12  Chris SMALLING
  6  Jonny EVANS
  Nemanja VIDIC      
  3  Patrice EVRA      

25  Antonio VALENCIA  (17  NANI 84)
4  Phil JONES      
26  Shinji KAGAWA  (18  Ashley YOUNG 84)

10  Wayne ROONEY 

19  Danny WELBECK  (14  Javier HERNANDEZ 73)

Unused subs: 
31  Marouane FELLAINI

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  David Moyes
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  AIG
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

There was an old man of Man U missing from their squad, but in the end, it was Mr. Potato Head who robbed Spurs of what would have been a deserved win for a spirited performance in a game that ended up 2-2.

That Spurs twice lead and there was an element of fortune about both United goals bore evidence of a turnaround from last week's thrashing at the hands of Man City. There was a determination and a degree of successful tactical amendment by Andre Villas-Boas, with Paulinho playing a more advanced role to give Roberto Soldado a little more support in attack.

With Spurs back to almost full strength, United played a slightly changed side, containing Cleverley in midfield, alongside Phil Jones and Welbeck up front with Giggs and van Persie not even on the bench. It was a selection that allowed Spurs to attack with such vigour that both Smalling and Evra could have been booked within the first six minutes, making our wingers task easier. But referee Dean thought otherwise and allowed United players a free go before getting the yellow card out to Evra for a blatant block on Townsend much later in the game. Additional yellow cards for Jones and Vidic could as easily be second cautions had Dean applied the laws of the game sooner in the proceedings.

The match official's erratic use of the advantage rule and his fussy style hardly helped the game flow, with his award of a penalty that handed United a point looking generous in the extreme.

As for the match, Tottenham kicked off and began with a tempo that had seen them gain success in previous times.  Running at United with pace seemed to trouble the old legs of Evra and the younger ones of Jones and Smalling, which is a little worrying for England.  When Evra clattered Lennon, Dean played on, but Walker's break down the right wing ended with him over-running the ball off for a goal-kick.  Passing up the chance to book Evra, the ref did the same when Smalling took Vertonghen late.  Red shirts seem to receive some protection against yellow cards.

Lennon had a shot that didn't really trouble De Gea, then United had their first chance, with Chiriches being robbed by Rooney, who fed Valencia on their right.  He played the ball back into the England striker when he was outside the right side of the box and only a diving block by Sandro stopped a shot on target.  With Vertonghen also involved in the block, the Belgian was left on the floor holding his knee.

Soldado and Paulinho were linking up nicely, with one flicking the ball on for the other, which happened when Evans brought Paulinho down from behind just outside the D of the penalty area.  Kyle Walker lined up the resulting free-kick and with it being too close to get up and down over the wall, it looked like he was going to blast it, which might not work.  But what he did was shrewd and accounted for the wall jumping to counter such a shot, as he drilled the ball low under the wall and left De Gea unsighted, with the ball hitting the net quite centrally.  It was a clever free-kick and gave Spurs a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, in a game when the first goal was always going to be important.

Spurs looked up for it and went forward with intent as they sought to eradicate the memory of last week's defeat by the other Manchester side.  Winning a corner on our right, Walker played it in and Dawson got a volley on the ball, which was stopped when it hit Rooney in front of goal.  Minutes later a Walker cross was too hard for Soldado at the near post, but his progress to the ball appeared to be hindered by Smalling's man-handling of the Spaniard, but when Chadli picked up the ball beyond the far post and knocked it back in, there were shouts for handball.  Bearing in mind his reticence to penalise fouls with cards, the chances of Spurs getting a penalty were slim.

Just before the half hour, a ball was played up to Soldado from the back and his sublime back heel put Paulinho through to the left, but Roberto continued his run and was played in with a return pass, but with the goal at his mercy, he skied his shot from 12 yards out.  It was an unselfish pass by the Brazilian and Soldado would have been expected to test the keeper from there.  Paulinho then linked with Lennon, with the little winger coming inside off the right side to test the keeper low down, but his dive held the ball.  Within a minute United were level.  Vertonghen's pas sin his own half put Dembele under pressure and he was robbed of the ball.  Jones was played in on the right and his cross missed out everyone at the near post, but as Walker ran back at the far post, he tried to stop the ball getting past him and it came back in front of Rooney six yards from goal.  He rarely misses and certainly not from that range, so it was back to 1-1 and some feared the worst.

United were getting some joy down our left, where Vertonghen had trouble turning after his knee injury and there was little cover in front of him.  Valencia was twisting and turning him, but Super Jan stuck to his task and blocked a lot of what was intended for the penalty area.  In fact, United's best chance came when a  ball into the area was cleared and fell to Jones, who shot at goal, but missed by a considerable distance to the left, but Rooney almost got on the end of the miscue, failing to reach it be a couple of feet.  And that was it for the first half.

We then had to suffer some excruciating half-time "entertainment" with Mouvember the theme.  Firstly, the photos of former Spurs stars with moustaches failed to show up on time and then Ledley King had his Mouvember moustache shaved off on the side of the pitch.  But this took a lot longer than expected and while all in a good cause, it did drag on a bit too long.  Added to which, Paul Coit seems to have joined the list of the Spurs injured, having his arm in a sling.

The second half started with no substitutions, but with Tottenham attacking their favoured Paxton Road end in the second half.  But it was United who made the early running, with a  corner that brought a cry of handball from their players, which was given ... against them !!  If only Dean could have been as eagle-eyed at the other end.

There had been some too-ing and fro-ing, with the ball at either end without either keeper being troubled until Sandro made sure De Gea wasn't troubled in the 54th minute.  Picking up the ball 40 yards out, the Beast moved forward to the left, then turned inside, putting Cleverly on his backside before ripping a 30 yarder into the top corner, without De Gea moving for it.  It was a fantastic strike that deserved to win a game, but three minutes later, that was an outcome that was back in the balance.

A loose ball in the United area saw Kyle Walker race into a tackle with Vidic, with neither player pulling out of it.  As with the first goal, the ball bounced favourably for United, as they played it forward and it went from Rooney to Welbeck.  Running to the left of the Tottenham area, Hugo Lloris came for the ball and Welbeck expertly left his leg in to touch the Spurs keeper, who appeared to be holding his hands back, persuading Dean that he should run immediately to the spot and give a penalty.  Lloris got a yellow card, which, considering what had gone before was a joke, but more importantly, Rooney smashed the ball down the middle from the spot to level it up at 2-2.

Rooney soon had a couple of chance sot complete his hat-trick, but a free kick into the wall and a miss to Evra's low near post cross saw the opportunity go begging.  At the other end, Walker fired a free-kick a foot wide of De Gea's goal from 25 yards out, with the keeper static once more.  With the introduction of Townsend for Lennon (to boos from those who are keen followers of the radio phone-ins) and Defoe for Soldado (no boos there ... but why ?  Let's have some consistency here, as that is all we ask of the team), spurs seemed keen to keep up the attacking style.  And that happened, with Townsend attacking Evra and the play being spread somewhat better.  Walker was also finding space in the right and a low ball across the box almost found Andros sliding in at the far post.

United's tactic of bringing on Hernandez, along with the divers Nani and Young failed to spark much joy in attack.  In fact, Spurs finished the stronger, with Defoe confounding the lumbering Vidic, who had to haul him down, finally drawing a yellow card from the comfortable pocket of Dean.  From the free kick on the right, Walker played it in low (a la Thursday's own goal) and Sandro's shot was deflected wide for a corner.  From it, Walker played it in to the near post and Sigurdsson (also on as a sub for Chadli), flicked it through his legs and it was blocked on the line, with it falling nicely for United to clear.  Similarly, an injury time corner caused a scramble in the Tottenham area, with Smalling heading on and Evra shooting, but Lloris smothered the shot and hung onto the ball, with the end seconds away.

Someone outside the ground said he would not be worried about the result, but more about the performance and I think most people wanted to see what reaction the players would produce to last week's beating.   If they play like this week in and week out, then they will probably win more than they lose.  But there is still a long way to go.  both in the season and in integrating the new players into the system that AVB wants.

The booing was farcical and I cannot see what it achieves.  The team are trying to win and any negativity will surely act against that.  Criticism about the way the crowd behave might be given some credence when this sort of thing happens.  The atmosphere was good when the crowd got behind the team and we have to make the Lane a place that other teams don't want to come to. 

A result that replicated last season's draw keeps Spurs in with a shout and makes Wednesday's match against Fulham a must win fixture, even if Big Martin Jol won't be in the manager's position.

Simon Davey


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 3 Saturday
Everton 4 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Norwich City 1 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
West Ham United 3 Fulham 0 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Southampton 1 Sunday
Hull City 3 Liverpool 1 Sunday
Manchester City 3 Swansea City 0 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 13 10 1 2 27 10 31 +17
2 Chelsea 13 9 3 2 24 11 27 +13
3 Manchester City 13 8 1 4 37 12 25 +25
4 Everton 13 6 6 1 21 13 24 +8
5 Liverpool 13 7 3 3 25 16 24 +9
6 Newcastle United 13 7 2 4 19 18 23 +1
7 Southampton 13 6 4 3 16 9 22 +7
8 Manchester United 13 6 4 3 22 17 22 +5
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 13 6 3 4 11 14 21 -3
10 Hull City 13 5 2 6 12 16 17 -4
11 Aston Villa 13 4 4 5 13 14 16 -1
12 West Bromwich Albion 13 3 6 4 15 16 15 -1
13 Swansea City 13 4 3 6 17 19 15 -2
14 Norwich City 13 4 2 7 11 23 14 -12
15 West Ham United 13 3 4 6 12 14 13 -2
16 Stoke City 13 3 4 6 11 16 13 -5
17 Cardiff City 13 3 4 6 11 20 13 -9
18 Fulham 13 3 1 9 11 24 10 -13
19 Sunderland 13 2 2 9 8 24 8 -16
20 Crystal Palace 13 2 1 10 7 22 7 -15


Position before match :  9th
Position after match :  9th
Position after the weekend :  9th

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