Tottenham will be out for revenge on Sunday, looking to pay Manchester United back for their 3-0 humiliation at Old Trafford in the first game of the season.
Since that day, however, Spurs have had a fine season, recording wins against Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal to sit third in the Premier league table. United are currently second, two points behind rivals Manchester City and eight points clear of the Lilywhites.
The Red Devils’ record against Tottenham ca only be described as dominant. Sir Alex’s team have won 28 games against their hosts in the Premier League era, compared to Tottenham’s three. The only crumb of comfort in that stat is that all of Tottenham’s wins have come at White Hart Lane, the venue for Sunday’s match, so Harry Redknapp’s men do have a slightly increased chance of victory than they had in August. Also, of these three wins, Spurs have an aggregate lead of 10-3, having won 3-1 twice and 4-1 once thanks to goals from Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell and a brace from Chris Armstrong.
In terms of goals scored, United once again have the advantage. 74 goals have been put past a succession of Spurs keepers over the 19-and-a-half-years these two teams have been in the league, compared to just 29 scored by Tottenham. There’s little relief when digging deeper in to the nature of these goals, with United on top in goals scored at Old Trafford, at White Hart Lane, in the first half of matches and in the second half of matches. The closest Spurs get to the reigning champions is 11 first half goals at White Hart Lane to 15 for United.
In trying to find a hope Spurs fans can hang their hat on, it seems that in recent years, White Hart Lane has looked a touch fortress like. The Lilywhites have claimed a draw in three of their last four games at home, only going down 3-1 in 2009/10.
Ledley King et al. will have to go some to keep Ryan Giggs quiet. The Welshman has buried 10 goals past Spurs over the years, including the very first goal in this fixture 19-and-a-half years ago. Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer is the next most prolific with 7, just ahead of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. The highest scoring Spurs players are former strikers Chris Armstrong and Les Ferdinand with three apiece, Sir Les having had the distinction of scoring Spurs’ most recent winner against United in the 2000/01 season.
Spurs are also yet to win a game in March against United, losing three and drawing one, but it must be said that all four of the above games took place at Old Trafford, so a change of scenery might bring a change of early springtime fortune for Redknapp’s men.
By Jamie Frier
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