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It’s Old Trafford this Saturday for the first big game since the last big game.  It’s just a conveyor belt of massive match-ups at the moment. 

Lunchtime kick-offs are normally a pain in the arse. You go to a game having only just crawled out of your pit and then, potentially, a bad result ruins your weekend before it’s even started. But for Spurs fans at the moment this may not really apply. The goodwill generated by the last couple of home games means that virtually any poor result will be forgiven amid shrugs and comments of ‘well we’ve got six points from these three games and that’s more than I was expecting’. Any positive outcome, and that means a nil nil draw upwards, will be greeted with glee and possibly more than the odd cheer for the hapless gooners when they take on Citeh at 5:30.

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Redknapp will have a few decisions but a large part of the team make up will be decided by fitness. In defence there will be late tests on Ledley’s knee and Corluka’s ankle. Up front Crouch and Defoe carried illness & injury into the Chelsea game so will presumably need assessment too. It’s in midfield where Harry has choices to make.  Alan Wiley’s raising of the yellow card to Wilson Palacios at Wembley was seen by many as symbolic of the ending of our season. It added insult to injury after the penalty award and then ruled our midfield enforcer out for two potential campaign defining games against the Gooners and Chelsea. Well we all know what’s happened since then. Redknapp needs to decide whether to disrupt a winning team. Moving Bale back into defence to bring Wilson into the middle with Modric moving out ‘wide’ (he never gets much chalk on his boots anyway) might be seen as spiking the maruading Welshman’s guns a bit but he’s been terrifically effective coming from deep as well as when starting out wide. It’s a tough one, but that’s why Harry gets paid the big bucks.

Other potential returnees that will be greeted with differing amounts of enthusiasm by Spurs fans are Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon. We’ve all been waiting for the day when both Bale and Lennon can be unleashed on an unsuspecting back four, maybe it’ll be this weekend.

The stats surrounding the history of this fixture make depressing reading so to get them out the way, we have lost 13 of the last 17 games against Man U and drawn the other four. We have no wins at Old Trafford since 1989. Ouch.  So to say it’s not been a happy hunting ground for us is an understatement. Our best chance of winning there for many a year was in the league cup in December but the abysmal & supine performance that night is still fresh in the memory (or mine at least).

Andre Marriner is down to officiate, a man Ferguson has already found cause to rant at this season. He got upset after Liverpool beat his team 2-0 at Anfield in October and that was after he’d sent off Paul Scholes at WHL in September, also an act unlikely to endear him to the ever popular Scotsman.

Rooney is the big worry for the home team. They may not risk him from the start if his injury’s not much improved from last week. Elsewhere, there’s talk of Ferdinand & Wes Brown being available. 
Lunchtime kick-offs are, as I say a pain in the arse. But in this case, can’t we make make it breakfast time? I can’t wait myself. Loins girded and into battle. COYS.

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