Manchester United (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 24th April 2010

With wins over teams one and three in the Premier League, Spurs now come up against team two with three valuable points on offer for each side.

With Tottenham in a great run of form and United rescuing a win against City last Saturday lunch-time, it sets up what should be a mouth-watering match.  How the game turns out might be determined by the refereeing of Andre Marinner, a younger referee being entrusted with a big match and surely he can't do any worse than Howard Webb managed last season.  Both sides will be going for the win and you will probably only see any buses parked in the car park rather than in front of the goal.

With the potential for Gareth Bale to be joined by Aaron Lennon at some stage in the match, they will form a pair of wide-men which no other team in the Prem can match. How United's full backs deal with them will be a fascinating duel, as Gary Neville has just come back from injury and dealt with Bellamy well last week, while on the other flank Evra has been exposed by Lennon's pace before.

The real battle will come at the back for Tottenham, as Wayne Rooney will be fit to play and his running from deep has disturbed our back four before.  Ledley King's return might help, while some defensive grit might stop him before he gets too near goal.  It would not surprise me if Ferguson played Berbatov despite the unmitigated stick he has been receiving of late.  Knowing the Man U manager's means of motivating his players, what more could he hope for than the Bulgarian's former team rolling into town ?  That will mean that Dawson might have to track his movement to stop his effectiveness damaging Spurs.

The midfield will need to work hard to give the likes of Fletcher and Scholes the run around, rather than the other way around.  If Spurs let them dominate the middle of the park, then they will face a lot of pressure on the defence.

I think that Tottenham will arrive at Old Trafford full of confidence, but hopefully realising that the results against Arsenal and Chelsea were achieved with the sweat of hard work.  With the same application, which they need to ensure will take them through to the end of the season, they are capable of getting something out of the game and I believe that they will achieve that ...

PREDICTION : -  Manchester United  1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

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


MANCHESTER UNITED :  -  Owen Hargreaves (out - calf); Danny Welbeck (out - knee); Michael Owen (out - hamstring); Anderson (out - knee); - (-); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Carlo Cudicini (out - wrist and hip); Niko Kranjcar (out - ankle); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.15 (highlights)   [repeated at 08:00 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online.
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 (live coverage)
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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
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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.




Manchester United   1   Tottenham Hotspur    3      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Old Trafford
Saturday 24th April 2010
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   75,268
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Stretford end in the first half.
Weather :  -   Warm, sunny
Teams : - 
Manchester United :

  1  van der Sar

21  Rafael  (27  Macheda  79)
15  Vidic
23  Evans
  3  Evra  (22  O'Shea  67)

11  Giggs (c)    
15  Vidic
22  Evans
19  Nani         
Valencia  (16  Carrick  59)

  9  Berbatov

Unused subs: 
29  Kuszczak

  6  Brown
  4  Hargreaves
28  Gibson


Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
King (c) 
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

12  Palacios
  6  Huddlestone
14  Modric
  5  Bentley  (  7  Lennon 66)

  9  Pavlyuchenko  (15  Crouch 75)
18  Defoe (17  Gudjohnsen 55)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick

  4  Kaboul
  8  Jenas

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester United

Giggs (p) 58
Nani 81
Giggs (p) 86

Tottenham Hotspur

King 70
Cards : -  
Manchester United

Nani (persistent fouling) 35  


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
Having lost recently at Wembley, this slippery pitch almost replicated the big day in the FA Cup semi-final, with players losing their footing and not playing to their normal level of performance, leaving Spurs 1-3 losers at Old Trafford as has so often happened over the years.

This time it came courtesy of two penalties and some sloppy defending, which is something Spurs haven't been too guilty of lately.  There was little debate about the award of the spot-kicks, as opposed to last season's dreadful decision by Howard Webb.  But there were some tackles which Andre Marriner let go which might have brought cautions in other matches.  Bale seemed to be targeted - not for fouls, but for players following through on him, but other United players appeared to be getting there a fraction too late, which players from other clubs usually get punished for.

Valencia's follow-through on a challenge when Gareth cleared the ball required treatment on the Welshman's knee and it looked as if it severely hampered him from then on.  His lack of tracking back on the second goal may have been a result of the knock, as he did not appear to be his usual speedy self up and down the line today.

In fact, with the news that neither Wayne Rooney nor Rio Ferdinand would be playing, it is a little surprising that Tottenham failed to play with the intensity or tempo that they had displayed against Arsenal and Chelsea.  That left the match resembling the Portsmouth Wembley meeting even more.  With little to trouble either keeper in the first hour, it was positively dull, as both teams pressed the man on the ball  meaning that percentage passes were played and a lot of the time were picked off.

With Bale moving to left back and Assou-Ekotto to right back to accommodate Palacios' return to midfield, the side were moved around and with King replacing Bassong, the team hardly resembled the one that beat Chelsea.  The side seemed to have functioned perfectly well without Wilson while he was suspended, so to bring him back in seemed to make a big difference to the style of play.  Twice inside the first five minutes he needlessly gave the ball away - one on the edge of our area - and then got robbed of the ball twice more, while giving the ball away with fancy flicks to leave us open to a break.  Whereas the ball had been moved speedily and slickly in the last two games, it stuck in midfield and left the front two without much service.

It took until the 29th minute for the ball to get to Pavlyuchenko and his shot might have been straight at van der Sar, but it was the first one of the match.  Then United broke forward and Nani's low ball in from the left caused Bale to almost stand on the ball and leave it for Berbatov just six yards out.  Luckily, Ledley King threw a block to stop the ball getting through and the ball was cleared.  Within a minute, Rafael had put Valencia away down the right, he cut inside and hit a low shot across Gomes, but the keeper got down well to it to stop it getting past him into the far corner.

Spurs tried to move the game into the United half and a free kick for a foul on Bentley brought a booking for Nani, who had been late on a couple of occasions, but Bale failed to work van der Sar missing the target high to the right of the goal and then Modric did all the hard work, by shimmying one way to throw three defenders off and then getting into the box, but failing to find a good shot at the end of it leaving the ball pulled well wide in the 39th minute.  Berbatov flashed a couple of shots over the bar, with both trying to power the bal rather than place it like he used to do for us.  But unlike that time, he appears to be an isolated figure, who is performing like he did in the final throes of his time with Spurs.  He did little to hurt his former club in this match, other than a back heel in the second half to produce the first penalty.

But he had made such back-heels previously in the match and missed his intended target.  With Tottenham making a decent start to the second half, with Bentley's ball into the box bouncing off Defoe to Pav, who couldn't get it down to get an effort on goal, it looked as though the pressure would be away from our own goal.  Eight minutes into the half though, Berbatov rose at the far post to head Evra's cross back across Gomes and to the back post, where Fletcher failed to get a touch when he was coming in unmarked.

Then Palacios broke through a couple of tackles ten yards outside the United box and drove forward, producing a low shot that he didn't fully get hold of, but forced van der Sar to dive to his left to take the ball low down.  Harry replaced the disappointing Defoe with Gudjohnsen and the move blew up in his face as United took the lead three minute slater when Berbatov cut in from the left and Assou-Ekotto was the wrong side of him, but when he continued his run and back-heeled the ball outside him, BAE was trying to tackle the on-running Evra with his wrong leg and having dived in, he took the Frenchman's legs and the ref pointed to the spot.  Ryan Giggs stepped up to administer the necessary, by putting the ball out of Gomes' reach into the inside of the side-netting, even though the Brazilian guessed the right way.

So, 58 minutes gone and 0-1 down.  Would Tottenham let their heads drop or fight back ?  Well, Harry brought on Lennon to replace Bentley, with Bale moving into midfield, Assou-Ekotto to left back and Palacios dropping back to right-back.  It immediately brought a little joy, with a couple of runs from Aaron, one ending with a foul and another with him running infield and losing the ball, but he did look a bit hesitant going into tackles to start off with.

Spurs did win a corner on their left in the 70th minute and Bale crossed the ball into the edge of the six yard box, where Ledley King rose to head home past van der Sar and Rafael, who had moved off the goal-post.  It was an unexpected equaliser and from that moment, it looked as though Spurs might go on to get another.  Within the space of a five minute spell, a couple of dangerous crosses and a move that put Gudjohnsen in on the edge of the box almost brought a second, by the Icelander couldn't find space to get his shot away and it came back to Hud, who uncharacteristically blasted way over the bar.

In the 80th minute, a break on our left saw Nani get away from Crouch, exchange passes and then leave Bale behind him as he went into the box unchallenged and with only Gomes to beat, he produced an impudent little dink over the keeper to make it 2-1 and give United the advantage with time running out. 

Five minutes on and the ball dropped loose in midfield, with it bouncing off Huddlestone's shins and with Dawson backing off, it was picked up by Nani between them.  The United winger ran forward to the left side of the box and when he got inside the area, he slowed, leaving the chasing Palacios to bump into him and knock him over to concede another spot-kick and Giggs did the same as with the first, except this time he put it to Gomes' left and while he went the right way, it was too well-placed to stop.

3-1 might have been a bit harsh, but it served to show that once more, there is still a long way to go until we can challenge the top sides.  67 away games against the top four without a win and until that changes, it might be us worrying about the top four instead of us being one of the top four and other teams worrying about us.  It leaves us two points clear of City before their game at Arsenal and with the game against them coming up next week, it will need a better away performance to take Spurs clear of the Middle Eastlands club.

It wasn't too bad today.  Good, but not good enough.

the heathrow spur





Fan Reaction : -



While the match report likens the game to that at Wembley against Portsmouth, it is really more of a repeat of the League Cup game at Old Trafford earlier this season in my view.

Another good opportunity to beat United at their place, with players missing, but once more, a pale imitation of the side we can be allowing United to stroll to victory in the end, with the handing of two penalties to them giving them help that they might have struggled without. 

I'm not saying we played well enough to win, but the naive defending we showed undid any good work we produced (even though there wasn't a great deal of that).  With contentious decisions going against us in the past at Old Trafford, this time there could be no complaints and Harry will no doubt be looking at the ability of Assou-Ekotto.  He performed very well at the start of the season, but now appears to be starting to believe his own press again and struts about like he owns the place, without actually showing that he deserves to do that.

I'm not sure why there wasn't a recognised right back in the 18 on the day, as it is easier for one to come in and play their accustomed position (i.e. Kyle Walker) than someone fitting in there.

A missed opportunity to break this away day hoodoo, but more importantly, a missed opportunity to pick up a point or more in the chase for fourth place.

michael taylor



Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 0 Manchester City 0 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Portsmouth 2 Saturday
Hull City 0 Sunderland 1 Saturday
West Ham United 3 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Aston Villa 1 Birmingham City 0 Sunday
Burnley 0 Liverpool 4 Sunday
Chelsea 7 Stoke City 0 Sunday
Everton 2 Fulham 1 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 36 25 5 6 93 32 80 +61
2 Manchester United 36 25 4 7 81 28 79 +53
3 Arsenal 36 22 6 8 78 39 72 +39
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 35 19 7 9 63 37 64 +26
5 Aston Villa 36 17 13 6 51 35 64 +16
6 Liverpool 36 18 8 10 61 33 62 +28
7 Manchester City 35 17 12 6 69 42 63 +27
8 Everton 36 15 12 9 59 49 57 +10
9 Birmingham City 36 12 11 13 35 44 47 -9
10 Blackburn Rovers 36 11 11 14 38 54 44 -16
11 Sunderland 36 11 11 14 47 53 44 -6
12 Fulham 35 11 10 14 36 39 43 -3
13 Stoke City 35 10 13 12 33 44 43 -11
14 Bolton Wanderers 36 9 9 18 40 65 36 -25
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 8 11 17 31 54 35 -23
16 Wigan Athletic 35 9 8 18 34 67 35 -33
17 West Ham United 36 8 10 18 44 62 34 -18
18 Hull City 36 6 10 20 32 73 28 -41
19 Burnley 36 7 6 23 37 78 27 -41
20 Portsmouth 36 6 7 23 31 64 16* -33

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.

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

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