Manchester United (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 25th April 2009


Unfortunately, because of circumstances outside of the website, I have been unable to compile a full match preview, but I have put together a short view of how the game might go.

Having had three tight games with United so far, although the one at Old Trafford in the FA Cup was probably the one which ended up most one-sided in their favour, I don't think this one will be much different.  Spurs have been pretty close to overcoming that hoodoo that the Red Devils hold over us, but I am not sure that it will be over-turned on this occasion.

Spurs will be without Michael Dawson, but might have Ledley King back and will definitely have Jermain Defoe ready to fire on all cylinders.  With Fraizer Campbell not a allowed to play against the team that own him, that only leaves Darren Bent in reserve, as I guess Harry will pack the midfield with hard workers ... something United will not be used to facing in a Tottenham team.  It could unsettle the home side, who must not be allowed to dwell on the ball, as they will damage you if you do so.  They did not play that well against Portsmouth, but well enough to win, so, in trying to keep ahead of Liverpool, it might be the speed of Tottenham's counter attacking that might catch them out, but they have a fine side and they can almost change gear at a whim.

With all this in mind, I hope that the Spurs team can put in a performance that further enhance sour reputation and pushes us nearer the Europa League, although a win might be out of the question ...

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 :  -  Gary Neville (foot); Owen Hargeaves (knee)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Michael Dawson (ankle); Roman Pavlyuchenko (back); Fraizer Campbell (ineligible to play against parent club)


Setanta Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (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
Planet football - (free - only available when match is on.)
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Manchester United   5   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 0-2)

Premier League
Venue : -  Old Trafford
Saturday 25th April 2009
Kick Off :  17.30 p.m.
Crowd :   75,458
Referee :  Howard Webb (Yorkshire)
Weather :  -  Dry, sunny
Teams : - 
Manchester United :

  1  Van der Sar

21  Rafael Da Silva (22  O'Shea 70)
  5  Ferdinand
15  Vidic
  3  Evra

  7  Ronaldo     
16  Carrick
24  Fletcher (18  Scholes 61     )
17  Nani (32  Tevez 46     )

  9  Berbatov
10  Rooney

Unused subs
12  Foster
  8  Anderson
23  Evans
41  Macheda

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes     

22  Corluka
39  Woodgate      
26  King
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon
12  Palacios
  8  Jenas     
14  Modric (  3  Bale 87)

15  Keane (  6  Huddlestone 87)

10  Bent

Unused subs
  2  Hutton
  4  Zokora
  5  Bentley
21  Chimbonda

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester United

Ronaldo (p) 57
Rooney 67
Ronaldo 68
Rooney 71
Berbatov 79

Tottenham Hotspur

Bent 29
Modric 32

Cards : -  
Manchester United

Tevez (foul) 59   
Scholes (foul) 65
Ronaldo (removing shirt) 68


Tottenham Hotspur 

Woodgate (foul) 37
Jenas (foul) 41
Gomes (foul) 57  


Match Report : -  
What was a fine first half for Tottenham and seemed to be setting them on the way to bringing something home from the usually unhappy hunting ground of Old Trafford was whipped away from them by an incompetent decision by the match referee - one of the supposedly best in the Premier League.  The penalty awarded when Heurelho Gomes knocked the ball away from Michael Carrick running into the box, was a false one and led to a revival by United that looked less than forthcoming and ended up with a 5-2 score-line in their favour.

Not that there can be any complaints about the way they played after that, but all the complaints will be about the shoddy display by Webb, who failed to give decisions at crucial times ... and frankly, if he cannot do that, what is he doing on a football pitch ?  Waving play on when Modric was clobbered on the side of the head was a strange one and lead to the second United goal, while he booked two Spurs players in the first half for their first tackles and allowed Ronaldo an all too familiar petulant swipe that saw his studs catch Aaron Lennon's ankle without any sort of reprimand.  Even Palacios' two footed challenge on Ronaldo that the Portuguese winger managed to avoid should have brought a yellow, but Webb once more ignored the severity of the challenge.

But the way Spurs played in the first half barely deserved the treatment handed out by the referee.  Some flowing football, with hard work caught a stilted United side on the hop.  Even if Gomes was alert to a slick passing Man U passing movement inside the first minute that lamost reached Berbatov were it not for the keeper's intervention, Spurs settled well and passed more effectively than the home side. 

Much as Tottenham did in the League Cup Final, the thrust of their attacks came down the United left, with Aaron Lenon causing untold problems for Patrice Evra.  One early ball was put too far ahead of Robbie Keane, while another in the seventh minute leanded on Darren Bent's head at the far post and he forced van der Sar to save at his near post, while he might have had more joy by heading it back the way it had come.

With Ledley King back in the middle of defence, the back four worked hard to block United on the edge of the box, while Gomes was keeping out anything that got through the defence.  His save from Ronaldo's free-kick that reared up at him off the turf came just before the flashy winger nearly headed one in, but took it off Berbatov, who was better placed, and put it wide.  Rooney took a shot off Benoit Assou-Ekotto's block and it fizzed over the bar.

But then, in the 29th minute, Spurs moved the ball around well on the right wing and Corluka crossed to the centre of the penalty area, where Bent rose between Vidic and Ferdinand, but didn't get a good contact, although the first man missed it and Ferdinand was too far off the forward, leaving him the opportunity to smash it past the United keeper from a couple of yards out.  It was a most unexpected state of affairs, but not one which was undeserved.

Two minutes later, it was 2-0.  Another good piece of possession on the right lead to Lennon crossing over the defenders, who had been drawn into the middle of the box to deal with Darren Bent, but left Luka Modric free at the back post and he took a touch and shot in at the post leaving van der Sar diving in vain to prevent a 2-0 score in Tottenham's favour.  It was nothing more than Spurs' play had earned, as they had not been playing at much more than the tempo Manchester United had employed, but their movement and some lax defending had let Tottenham take their chances.

The Spurs keeper came to the rescue with a save in the 37th minute from a long range Rafael drive, getting forward after having a tough time at the back, then Gomes kept out Ronaldo's second effort following blocked free-kick was agile and used all his height in tipping the dipping ball just over the angle.  Just before the break, some good play in front of the penalty area, the ball was played for Wilson Palacios to have a shot just over the bar of the United goal.

At 2-0 down, you expected some comeback from United and the removal of Nani to be replaced with Tevez was intended to not allow Spurs time on the ball in defence, with Rooney being shifted out to their left wing to thwart the movement of the ball up that side of the pitch by Spurs.  Rooney had the first effort on goal of the first half, with a shot across the goal and then Tevez forced a save from Gomes with his legs, as Ronaldo played him in.

Then in the 57th minute, Webb gave United a penalty that never was, but Ronaldo converted it after Gomes got a caution just to add insult to injury, which cannot be appealed.  The penalty not only gave United the momentum, but upset Spurs and they lost their shape allowing the home team to capitalise on the head of steam they built up.

Aaron Lennon was put in on the right by some good passing by Jenas, putting a cross over everyone in the box, when he had more time and space to provide a better ball or even a shot himself.  Within a minute, United were level.  Modric was clattered in the battle for a ball in the air and Webb waved Unite don and they took advantage by working the ball wide to Rooney on the left of the D, putting in a low shot through Corluka's legs and past the unsighted Gomes.  With the way United were playing, Woodgate was being pulled out of the centre of defence, while Corluka was getting sucked into the middle, thus leaving Rooney free to cause havoc.

68 minutes and it was 3-2.  Rooney got away on the left and Ronaldo came in to head it with Ledley King getting under the ball.  It was 4-2 on 70 minutes, as Ronaldo found Rooney free inside the box on the left and the England striker shot past Gomes, with Woodgate just unable to stop the ball on the line and it just went over the line as the defender lay on the ground  trying to keep it out with his stomach.

The scoring ended in the 79th minute, when another Rooney left wing cross was met by Berbatov's head and although he failed to make a decent contact, the lack of power confused Gomes, who saved the ball, but it got away from him and the former Spurs striker got the ball into the net with a follow-up shot.

Tottenham hadn't given up and Modric slipped Keane through, only for him to try and dink the ball over van der Sar, but the keeper got his body in the way.  Ronaldo had a chance to complete his hat trick, but pulled his shot across Gomes' goal from the left and at the end, Bent was put in on goal, but he dragged his shot right across the area to find Lennon coming in at the far post on the right and his shot was fired into the side netting, but he was given offside anyway.

It was not a foregone conclusion that Tottenham would have gone on to win after leading 2-0 at the break, but it certainly doesn't help when United are given a big hand, not only in winning this game, but in taking a big step towards retaining the Premier League title.

If these things even themselves out, I look forward to Mr. Webb gifting Spurs three points with some controversial decisions against United at Old Trafford in the future

... but I won't hold my breath.





Reaction : -



Just got back from a break to find nothing changes in the premiership - Man Utd still getting the wrong decisions in their favours at home AGAIN - remember the goal we got three foot over the line NOT GIVEN and now a good save by Gomes and a penalty given for Carrick's ugly face hitting the grass, the same grass that so many referees fear to tread on in case it upsets SIR

Next season why don't we just let the big four play each other 20 times each like in snooker and see who wins the most games and give Man Utd three points every time they turn up at home, the rest of us don't bother to turn up cause you won't win against biased referees and then the top four can all qualify for the Champions Leagues and have their little party against the rest of Europe together and everyone is happy ...

... OR  you could have TV replay decisions like in other sports.  I don't want discussions down the pub on was it a foul or not, I want a game played fair and square for god's sake !!!  Though on a serious note well done Harry and Spurs for making Fergie shite himself for 59 minutes (what does Alex do to referees at half time in those showers no wonder he is always chewing fresh breath gum). 

I'm not too bothered, we need to scratch this season off and start the next - after the poor start who would have thought we would have a chance of getting into Europe, though it might be a silver lining not to qualify for next term, less games etc - remember when we finished fifth under Jol we played just 40 odd games that season -- still could be worse, could be a Newcastle supporter (now that is scary).



Read Wyart Lane's view by clicking here to go to The Times Online Fanzine Fanzone.



Other scores this weekend :
Bolton Wanderers 1 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Everton 1 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Fulham 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Hull City 1 Liverpool 3 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Sunderland 0 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Blackburn Rovers 0 Sunday
Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 Portsmouth 0 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 33 24 5 4 61 23 77 +38
2 Liverpool 34 21 11 2 66 26 74 +40
3 Chelsea 34 21 8 5 56 20 71 +36
4 Arsenal 34 18 11 5 60 33 65 +27
5 Aston Villa 34 15 10 9 50 44 55 +6
6 Everton 34 14 11 9 48 36 53 +12
7 West Ham United 34 12 9 13 38 38 45 0
8 Fulham 34 12 11 11 34 28 47 +6
9 Manchester City 34 13 5 16 53 45 44 +8
10 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 12 8 14 41 41 44 0
11 Wigan Athletic 33 11 8 14 31 38 41 -7
12 Stoke City 34 10 9 15 33 49 39 -16
13 Bolton Wanderers 34 11 5 18 40 51 38 -11
14 Portsmouth 34 9 11 14 35 50 38 -15
15 Blackburn Rovers 34 9 10 15 37 55 37 -18
16 Sunderland 34 9 8 17 31 46 35 -15
17 Hull City 34 8 10 16 37 59 34 -22
18 Newcastle United 34 6 13 15 37 53 31 -16
19 Middlesbrough 34 7 10 17 25 49 31 -24
20 West Bromwich Albion 34 7 7 20 33 63 28 -30


Position before the match :  9th
Position after the match :   10th
Position after the weekend :  10th

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