Key Battles: Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United

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Image: SpursWeb

Rather than continuing to discuss the City defeat last time round, we need to look forward and prepare for what is another huge test for the team and AVB. Man Utd at White Hart Lane. With this in mind, Lily White Love casts an eye on what players could be involved in personal duels and how we can ultimately trump our opponents come Sunday afternoon.

Lloris vs Rooney/RVP

Hugo’s return from injury against City wasn’t a positive one, but he wasn’t the only one to blame for the heavy defeat. Although he was at fault for two of the goals, the rest of the team could and should have done more to protect him. We all know Hugo’s a top, top player on his day and i’m sure he will desperate to return to the kind of form we saw at the very start of the season. Like the City game, Hugo is faced with the task of shutting out another strike partnership that is on fire at this moment in time; Rooney & RVP. The former in particular is carrying United in recent weeks and has been pivotal to his sides return to form so we know where the main danger lies. On the other side of the coin, RVP returns from injury (ironically against us) and is certain to return to the starting line-up. With his goal-scoring record against us, don’t be surprised to see his name on the score sheet unless Hugo pulls something out the bag and reminds us all about his abilities come Sunday afternoon.

Paulinho/Sandro vs Carrick/Kagawa

The midfield area as I mentioned last week is usually key to deciding the outcome of a big match; Sunday will be no different. We are most likely to line up with Brazilians Paulinho and Sandro in the centre of the park opposite Utd’s Michael Carrick & Shinji Kagawa. With Carrick one of the first names on the team-sheet in recent years, he is the one who keeps the shape and pulls the strings from deep. Marking him out the game will be important in dominating the centre and we need to limit his influence if we are to gain a positive result.

Shinji Kagawa has only just recently been installed to the starting line-up but he is slowly showing his quality when he gets the chance. An excellent individual performance away to Bayer Leverkusen will have improved his confidence so we will need to keep a close eye on him at The Lane. His creativity can pause problems so I would hope Sandro will be the man to keep him at bay should he make the starting line-up.

Soldado vs Evans/Jones

A lot has been made of Soldado’s lack of goals in the league this season but I have been consistent in my belief that he just isn’t get the right service from the men behind him. Once we start to click in the creative department, then we will start to see the real Soldado in my view. He’s not a man that scores screamers from outside the box, he is a player that relies on service from the wings and the playmakers so it is evident we need to improve in these areas to get the best out the Spaniard.

On Sunday, he will most probably be up against Johnny Evans and Phil Jones, although i wouldn’t be too surprised if Chris Smalling or Rio Ferdinand feature; United’s back four hasn’t been consistent all season with Nemanja Vidic’s injury in recent weeks causing a slight reshuffle. Without Vidic, I personally think they are more vulnerable as he is their best defender when he’s on form and it is noticeable when he is absent.

Soldado has the opportunity to take advantage of a defence that is always chopping and changing and isn’t exactly the force it used to be. However, the trio of Evans, Jones, and Smalling have been impressive in recent weeks and certainly won’t be easy customers for Soldado. He needs a goal badly, and if he keeps working hard and looking for the right spaces, i’m sure he will get his chance. Let’s hope it comes on Sunday.

My prediction for the game? 1-1. I think we’re gonna be up for this one and our enthusiasm will see us nick a draw, despite falling behind for much of the match. I just can’t see us having enough to collect the three points at this moment in time, but I would take a draw to stop our dip in form. COYS!!

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