Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

22 Aug

Barclays Premier League
Date: 22 August 2011 Kick-off: 20:00
Venue: Old Trafford (Manchester)

So I’ve done a match preview once before, which means I have made a rod for my own back, because now I feel like I need to do another one! I am a bit late to the party again, I have already had a cursory glance at a couple… One was a stat-bag, full of factual information, the other was an epic (even longer than my posts) which I couldn’t be bothered to read. One thing this tells me is, it doesn’t really matter how well you write, some people can’t be bothered to read a long post. (Note to self, make blog shorter). Secondly, I am probably wasting my time as I am not adding much to the party other than my opinion, but then I suppose that’s half of the point of being here.

Anyway, I’ll try and follow the same format as last time and maybe I will have a bit of consistency. (Plus I am a bit attached to the idea of making everything look the same. I admit this is a bit OCD related).

Oh and I am still open to the idea of someone having a regular slot here, it’d help me out muchly!

We probably won’t win this game

However, I said last week that we should hammer Hearts and we did, so I don’t want to jinx it. We all know about our luck at Old Trafford. Whether it’s Nani being a dick or Roy Carroll spilling the ball over his goal-line you just know those dodgy decisions from the lino would always favour United. In fact Fergie said he expects De Gea to get more protection from the referee in this game because he was playing at home, that feels very much like an admission that Fergie expects refereeing favouritism at Old Trafford. Even if we all know it to be true anyway, I’ve never actually heard him come out and say it quite so bluntly before.

With a few injuries at the back for United, they feel a bit vulnerable to me, we have injuries of our own, but theirs seem to be to important players in a critical area of the pitch. Despite the heading I actually think we have a chance of winning this, in reality though, the referee, whoever it may be, (or more importantly the linesman) will inevitably ensure that it cannot happen.

I accidentally came across a stat which I will share, just this once mind you. Last season in 19 home league games, they acheived 18 wins and a draw. Between that and 22ish years without a win at Old Trafford we are looking for a miracle. The bookies are less sure though. Spurs are 5-1 for the win, just as we were 5-1 to win by 3 or more goals at Hearts. Somehow I think the Hearts bet is the better value of the two.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

It’s the first game of our season, so it stands to reason, it has to be the most important. However, if we look back to the Jol and Ramos years, particularly those in which they lost their jobs, both were hamstrung by the same problem. Despite having relative success in the years previous (Ramos bringing us a pot and Jol achieving consecutive 5th placed finishes) in the years of their demise both sufffered from exceptionally poor starts to the season. Whilst this can be attributed to difficult early fixtures, or any number of other factors; the fact the season is 2 games in and we’ve yet to put point on the board is not good. On the plus side, we’ve not played yet, but when your first game is away against Manchester United, you might easily add to the games played column without infuencing the more important stat on the other side of the table. As a result, it’s imperative that we use the momentum and positivity the Hearts result has generated to have a strong game at Old Trafford. Even a point here would be a good result. Admittedly if we do get a point it’ll probably be after we’ve dominated and taken a 1-0 lead to the 91st minute, when United get awarded a penalty for a dive by Nani a yard outside the penalty area, but sod it, I’d take a draw now if it’s offered.

Stuff I think about United

I’d love to have written some thoughts about Hearts, but I’ve barely heard of any of their players before, so it’d have been a waste of time. (How sad it is that I feel the need to explain the addition of a paragraph, simply because I didn’t include it in my last preview, despite the fact you probably never read the last one!).

My general views…

  • Why does Mohammed Al Fayed have a statue of Nani outside Craven Cottage?
  • Why is Berbatov still at the club when he was the top scorer last season and still isn’t valued?
  • Is Fergie trying to model his nose on the United Shirt?
  • Despite the fact they don’t have the best team in the league, they’re still gonna bloody win it and it drives me nuts. Better them than the various shades of blue plastic now populating the upper echelons of the league though.

Spurs’ Team News

Once again, I will provide you with what I am able to glean from the official website and the BBC… (These sources said Tom Huddlestone was injured before Hearts and he came on as a sub, so don’t take it as gospel!)

Injuries: William Gallas, Ledley King, Alan Hutton, Luka Modric (apparently), Steven Pienaar, Wilson Palacios and Sandro.

Doubtful: Peter Crouch, Jermaine Jenas

Once again, no squad has been provided by Spurs, but I imagine it resembles that taken to Hearts. No mention has been made of David Bentley either, which is a shame, because with us short in midfield, he could be handy.

Man Utd’s Team News

Injuries: Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Rafael, Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez.

Patrice Evra is back in the side and it seems we’ll see a central defensive partnership of Johnny Evans and Phil Jones.

Prediction

Obviously we can hope and pray and I really do think we’re capable of winning, but so are so many teams that come away from Old Trafford with little or nothing to show for their efforts. I am going to optimisticly plump for a 1-1 draw, although we could see 2-2, or perhaps 3-2 in United’s favour. Lawro has predictably predicted 2-1 in favour of United.

1,109 words, not what I was aiming for after commenting on the need for shorter posts!

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