Manchester United (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 12th September 2009

I would think it is barely necessary to introduce the Manchester United players to you, but this season they are previewed in the rare event of them being below Spurs in the Premier League table.  Following Tottenham's good start and with United suffering a shock defeat at Turf Moor, it is only now that they have clambered up to third behind Spurs.

But they are dangerous at any time, with or without the players they lost in the summer.  Ronaldo was a major player for them over the last few years, but with him gone, it should give Rooney and Berbatov more time to link up and use the ball they will receive, whereas before it was the Cristiano Ronaldo show.  With the blend of youth and experience that Alex, it will ensure that Spurs are given a thorough test.  Owen, Evra, Ferdinand, Giggs, Scholes and Neville will be the old heads, with the likes of Carrick, Berbatov, Rooney, Valencia, Vidic and Brown all having a lot of experience, while the youngsters such as Welbeck, Anderson, Fletcher, Macheda and De Laet will provide the hunger and energy to push the rest of the squad for a place.

Wenger unkindly criticised Darren Fletcher as only being on the pitch to kick his players when United beat Arsenal in their last match, but there is more to his game than that and the Arsenal manager was probably a little envious that he doesn't have someone like Fletcher in his side.  After all, isn't that all Vieira used to do for the Goons ?  Fletcher's importance to United was seen when they lost to Barcelona in his absence in the Champions League final.  It wasn't the only reason they lost, but his presence is an annoying one to opposition midfields.

Michael Owen will be wanting to prove that he still can feature for England in the World Cup finals, although his chances to get on the plane to South Africa are dwindling with each game Capello wins without him.  The national manager might well be at the Lane on Saturday to run the rule over a number of England candidates, so will it be Owen or Defoe who wins the shoot out ?  Defoe is more likely to start, with Owen perhaps resigned to a place on the bench behind Rooney and Berbatov, who both have match winning qualities on their day.

But Tottenham must continue doing what they have done in their four games so far.  If they close United on the ball and attack with pace and decisiveness, they will give the champions a game they will remember.  Bassong's presence is vital and if Ledley doesn't make it, then Corluka will move into the middle, which will make things a little iffy, as he lacks the pace of either the two central defenders who have been regulars there so far this season.

The biggest miss for Tottenham will be Luka Modric, but he might be replaced directly by his fellow countryman Nico Krankjar.  A different player to Modric, but one who can be effective and hopefully, one who can settle quickly to create chances and also get on the end of some too.

WIth a good run behind them, the team will be confident and while there have been some good come from behind wins this season, I think a draw will see the points fairly shared ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Manchester United  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Michael Dawson (out - Achilles); Gareth Bale (out - knee); Ledley King (hopeful - groin); Sebastien Bassong (hopeful - knee); Luka Modric (out - broken leg); - (-); 

Manchester United :  -  John O'Shea (out - calf); Rio Ferdinand (hopeful - thigh); Edwin van der Sar (out - thumb); Owen Hargreaves (out - knee); Gabriel Obertan (out - spine); Rafael (doubtful - shoulder); - (-); 


ESPN -  (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.55 - 00.25 (highlights)  Also available online. [repeated at 07:35 Sunday BBC1] 
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online.
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   1    Manchester United   3      (Half-time score : 1-2)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 12th September 2009
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   35,785
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Warm, sunny, then mild when sun went down
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka  (  2  Hutton  69)
26  King     
19  Bassong
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon
12  Palacios      (  8  Jenas  46     )
  6  Huddlestone
10 Keane  (21  Kranjcar  72)

15  Crouch
18  Defoe

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes
16  Naughton
  5  Bentley
  9  Pavlyuchenko

Manchester United :

12  Foster

22  O'Shea
  5  Ferdinand
15  Vidic
  3  Evra

24  Fletcher
10  Scholes
  8  Anderson  (19  Nani 81)
11  Giggs (c)

  9  Berbatov (16  Carrick 62)
10  Rooney

Unused subs: 
29  Kuszczak
20  Da Silva
  7  Owen
25  Valencia
23  Evans

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur



  Manchester United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 1

Manchester United

Giggs 25
Anderson 41
Rooney 78

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul) 24
King (foul) 52 
Jenas (foul) 73 


Manchester United

Vidic (foul) 45
Scholes (foul) 51 

Scholes (second yellow - foul) 59 

Match Report : -  
With a performance that was lacking in the qualities that than those which had preceded it and with the Manager of the Month curse ready to strike, perhaps the outcome should have been clearer than many Spurs fans thought it would be.  But once more, United's 3-1 win showed Tottenham how much they have to do to be amongst the top teams in the division. 

With a late kick off set for ESPN TV coverage, the arrival of the teams just before sun-down made it seem more like a winter game, rather than one played out in mild late summer conditions.  The heat rose immediately after kick off as Jermain Defoe's instinctive goal-scoring gave Spurs a flying start.  When Wilson Palacios made his presence felt with two early tackles, the ball became Tottenham's and Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross towards the far post was met by Vidic, who headed back to the edge of the six yard box, where Defoe flung himself upwards to execute a fine over-head kick to rocket the ball on the volley past a static Foster.  52 seconds on the clock and 1-0 up.  Had Spurs scored too early ?

It prompted a rapid response from United, who worked the ball out to the right hand corner of the box and Fletcher drove in a fourth minute shot that Cudicini was required to beat away at the near post.  But, with the game swinging from end to end, Ledley King put a ball onto Crouch's chest and his volley was a yard too high to trouble the keeper.  Another Spurs chance was created when Lennon escaped the attentions of Evra and put a low ball across the face of goal, with even the long legs of Crouch not able to reach it and get the touch which would have doubled the lead.  And it was the tall striker who once more gave the United defence a worrying moment, as he took a ball played in to him away from Vidic, by flicking it over the defender's head, then hitting a volley with 14 minutes gone, but it lacked power and was straight at Foster.

Play switched ends and Cudicini fell to hold a Vidic header from Giggs' free-kick and then some sloppy defensive play let Fletcher through, but BAE was back to block his effort on goal.  A 25th minute foul by Wilson Palacios was punished with a free kick and a yellow card, mainly due to the imploring of Giggs, Scholes and Fletcher in a manner which I thought was supposed to be worthy of a yellow card itself.  Fletcher was prominently in the referee's ear the whole game and showed disgusting dissent on a number of occasions, but without rhyme nor reason Marriner did nothing about it.  Worse was to come when Giggs bent his free-kick over the wall and into the top corner, but questions could be asked about Cudicini's positioning.

However, the Italian stopper was on his toes when Keane ducked under a Scholes pass and left Berbatov with a clear strike at goal, but Carlo got enough on the ball to take it over the bar in the 27th minute and then was alert to deny Rooney at close range as the England forward latched onto Evra's low cross three minutes later, but had Sebastien Bassong to thank for clearing the rebound off the line, as Berbatov looked to cash in.  It was during this period that the official was giving everything to United and Spurs were struggling to keep United at bay, but when we did get a corner, Huddlestone found Crouch's head at the near post and he put his header wide, when something on target might have restored the lead in the 33rd minute.  Spurs did put a neat flowing move together and should have had a free-kick when Paul Scholes swiped Robbie Keane's legs from under him, but play went on and Defoe tried to bend the ball round Foster from 20 yards, the the goalie saved at full length.  Marriner obviously didn't feel it necessary to go back and book Scholes, but more of that later.

Five minutes before the interval, United took the lead and it was a fortunate goal that did it.  A cleared corner fell to Scholes on the right hand edge of the box.  His wildly hit shot was going well wide, but was blocked and dropped to Anderson to run onto and hit first time past Cudicini, with the ball passing close by him as it went in. 

There was little left in terms of chances in the half, although Vidic finally got a yellow card for fouling Crouch, as he had done every time he went up for the ball.  Following the equaliser, the Tottenham midfield had sat deep and allowed United to dictate the play, which lead to the teams turning round with the visitors having the advantage.

Even the presence of Ossie Ardiles and David Ginola could barely rouse the Spurs crowd at the interval, as hope had turned to despair.  With Palacios replaced by Jenas, at least it looked as though Harry was going to have a go in the second half.  And they did at the start of the half, when they had United rocking a little bit.  A good move down the left saw Jenas free Assou-Ekotto and his pull back to Jenas was touched on to Keane, who hit a quick shot, but Vidic closed him down and got a knee on the ball to take it over the top. 

Each side traded yellow cards, with Scholes entering the book at last for a foul on Defoe with a tackle from behind, then Ledley King picked up a rare caution for doing the same to the ginger midfielder.  Having escaped with a free foul in the first half, Scholes got away with another tackle from behind before Spurs broke away and Jermaine Jenas curled a shot from the edge of the box that was creeping just inside the post until Foster launched himself to tip it around the upright.  It showed what a few extra inches can do and you wondered if Carlo would have been able to make the same sort of save.

Anyway, from the resulting corner, Huddlestone crossed to the far post and struggling to get over the header, Crouch nodded the ball against the top of the bar.  Tom's next involvement was to be on the end of Scholes' boot as he slid in with his studs raised and missed the ball, which was long gone and caught Hud on the head.  I am flabbergasted that Ferguson failed to see it as a bookable offence and wonder if he is becoming more like Mr. Arsene Magoo in his view of the world.  Having had two other bookable challenges go unpunished, it was lucky no serious damage was done to Spurs players as Scholes got away with it for far too long.

Unfortunately for Tottenham, the momentum they had built up against the eleven red shirts slowed and stalled against the defensive set-up when they went down to ten.  Carrick replaced the Bulgarian United striker and the aim was to stifle Spurs and then spring forward with Carrick's astute passing.  And that was what happened.  Tottenham attempted to hammer the United barn door down, but couldn't do it. leaving United the more potent force, despite the attacking changes Harry made in replacing Corluka with Hutton and Keane with Kranjcar.

The best chance we had was straight after the sending off, with Lennon trying to replicate his goal against Birmingham, but from the other side of the pitch; cutting in from the right to hit a low left foot shot that Foster stopped low down by his post.  In the other direction, Rooney was proving a handful, with his strong solo running causing problems.  He almost scored a goal like one of those in the 2-5 game at Old Trafford last season, turning Corluka inside out on the left wing and then hitting a low shot, which Cudicini did well to keep out at the foot of his right hand post.

Evra made ground up the same flank before getting over-excited and smashing a shot that rippled the net to the cheers of the Red hordes, but it was the outside of the side netting, but that was five minutes before Rooney put the game beyond Spurs in the 78th minute.  From a poorly delivered corner, the ball was quickly moved to Rooney on the right and his run took him past Hutton and BAE, allowing him time to push the ball under Cudicini for 3-1.  it was a poor goal to concede and highlighted the poor final ball from Spurs, especially from dead-ball situations.

Spurs tried to get back into it and Hud shot straight at Foster, but it was left to Cudicini to preserve a semblance of pride in the score-line, as he punched away a shot from Fletcher from the edge of the box and then, was quick to re-position himself for the shot from the rebound, which Rooney put to the keeper's left, but Carlo dived to make a very good save to push it wide.

Such high hopes were held going into the match, but once more, the mentality of the team was hit when the visitors pulled level, with some looking tired and sluggish.  It will need more sustained effort and concentration if they are to reclaim a place in the top three this season.

It was a brave move to play Keane behind the front two, but his lack of chasing back left a lot for Assou-Ekotto to deal with, although he was alert to players getting in behind him and the midfield allowed United too much space and time to control the game for long periods.

A defeat was going to come sooner or later, but it is the manner of the loss that rankles.  United were worthy winners, it was just the way they did it that sticks in the craw.

the heathrow spur


Fan Reaction : -



Read Wyart Lane's view of proceedings at the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone.




Other scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Liverpool 4 Burnley 0 Saturday
Manchester City 4 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Portsmouth 2 Bolton Wanderers 3 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Sunderland 4 Hull City 1 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 1 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 0 Aston Villa 1 Sunday
Fulham 2 Everton 1 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 5 5 0 0 12 3 15 +9
2 Manchester United 5 4 0 1 11 3 12 +8
3 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 8 2 12 +6
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 4 0 1 12 7 12 +5
5 Liverpool 5 3 0 2 13 7 9 +6
6 Aston Villa 4 3 0 1 6 3 9 +3
7 Sunderland 5 3 0 2 8 6 9 +2
8 Stoke City 5 2 1 2 4 6 7 -2
9 Arsenal 4 2 0 2 13 8 6 +5
10 Fulham 3 2 0 1 3 3 6 0
11 Wigan Athletic 5 2 0 3 4 8 6 -4
12 Burnley 4 2 0 2 2 6 6 -4
13 West Ham United 4 1 1 2 3 3 4 0
14 Blackburn Rovers 4 1 1 2 4 5 4 -1
15 Birmingham City 5 1 1 3 2 4 4 -2
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 1 1 3 3 7 4 -4
17 Hull City 5 1 1 3 5 12 4 -7
18 Bolton Wanderers 4 1 0 3 5 7 3 -2
19 Everton 4 1 0 3 4 10 3 -6
20 Portsmouth 5 0 0 5 3 10 0 -7


Position before the match :  2nd
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  4th


Back to homepage