Arsenal were unable to take advantage of United’s less than convincing start to the season but high-flying Tottenham may well succeed where their London neighbours failed. As well as some quality football, Spurs have displayed a battling spirit under Redknapp and as long as they dont do as so many other sides do and give United too much respect, they could bag their second big scalp of the season.
However Modric is a big loss in the middle of the park, the area where United are weakest, because for all of Jermain Defoe’s scoring exploits, it has been the little Croatian who has orchestrated most of Spurs’ best play. Without him Redknapp may do well to start Roman Pavlyuchenko or Peter Crouch. If the play cant come through the middle of the park then theyll have to get the ball wide to Aaron Lennon to put balls in to the box, where a big target man cold trouble United’s unsettled defence. The return of Ferdinand should help steady things but he may not be match sharp and when Rio isnt on his game the results can be disastrous.
Up front for United only Wayne Rooney has started the season with any real conviction and while Berbatov is always a potential threat, Ferguson will need more than a cameo performance from the Bulgarian. The 5/1 on Rooney to score first looks far better value than the 6/1 for Berbatov.
Speaking of value the 11/5 for Tottenham to win is far to tempting a price to pass up and though the loss of Modric could prove fatal, 5/4 for an out of form United (dont let that Wigan win fool you) to win away against a side who have started as strongly as Spurs, looks a little too short for this Saturday. Defoe at 11/2 is the obvious but Lennon has scored twice already this season, is playing as well as he ever has and his 12/1 is worth a look. As is new boy Niko Kranjcar at12/1. Defoe and Keane are likely to pick up a few free-kicks around the United penalty box and Kranjcar certainly knows how to strike the ball.
Spurs are too big a price to ignore but backing against Manchester United is always a risk. The best teams find ways to win and while this is far from the best team weve seen at United, they still seem to have that knack.
By Rob Dore
Have something to tell us about this article?