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Can Redknapp's side finally better current table-toppers?

When Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United meet on Sunday, a talking point is almost guaranteed. Over the past few years, this has been a fixture rarely devoid of entertainment value or controversy, and it usually ends with Spurs coming unstuck at the hands of the 18-time league champions.

For a number of reasons, Spurs have simply struggled to beat Sir Alex Ferguson's side in recent history - the north London club have built commanding leads against their rivals on more than one occasion, before capitulating under the weight of expectation, or one bad decision.

Under Harry Redknapp, Tottenham have turned over something of a new leaf, laying to rest the ghosts of barren runs without victories against Arsenal and Chelsea, but the jinx against United remains - Spurs haven't beaten them in the league since May 2001.

So what is it Redknapp's charges - the strongest squad White Hart Lane has seen for some years - need to beat Ferguson's unbeaten team and prove they are title contenders? Goal.com UK examines some turning points in recent encounters to see where Spurs have previously choked, or had cause for complaint.

The goal that never was - January 4, 2005

After 89 goalless minutes at Old Trafford, Tottenham look likely to return to north London with a point for which they probably would have snatched your hand off prior to the game, until Pedro Mendes let fly with a hopeful, hanging shot from the halfway line that Roy Carroll fumbled over his own goal-line, gifting Spurs all three points. Right?

Wrong. Linesman Rob Lewis didn't see the ball cross the line, nor did referee Mark Clattenburg, and so the game ended 0-0, leaving then Spurs manager Martin Jol more than a little disappointed.

"There was nothing I could have done differently apart from run faster than Linford Christie," Lewis said after the game.

Tevez breaks Tottenham hearts - February 2, 2008


Spurs looked set for their first victory over United in seven years when they went ahead after just 21 minutes at White Hart Lane through Dimitar Berbatov, who undoubtedly caught the eye of the opposing manager that day.

A magnificent defensive display looked set to ensure Tottenham the win, but their otherwise resolute back four were caught flat-footed as Carlos Tevez stole enough space from a corner and volleyed past Radek Cerny from close range.

The home fans were left devastated, but the Argentina international's strike illustrated the difference between champions and pretenders as United went on to win the league.

Penalty proves costly as Spurs crumble - April 25, 2009

Not for the first time against United, Tottenham raced into a lead as first-half goals from Darren Bent and Luka Modric saw Spurs 2-0 up and in dreamland going into the interval at half-time at Old Trafford.

What followed, though, is something Spurs fans do not care to be reminded of. Against his former club, Michael Carrick took a tumble under a challenge from Heurelho Gomes and Howard Webb awarded the home side a penalty, despite the Brazilian pushing the ball clear of the midfielder, much to the bemusement of Harry Redknapp.

Ronaldo converted the penalty and Tottenham fell apart as Rooney equalized. The pair grabbed another goal each, and a certain Mr. Berbatov rounded the scoring to complete what became a resounding victory for the hosts.

Confusion reigns at Old Trafford - October 30, 2010

Far from a classic meeting between the two, Nemanja Vidic had put the home side ahead with a simple unmarked header from a Nani free kick after half an hour. Spurs had not been overwhelmed and went close through Roman Pavlyuchenko and Rafael van der Vaart in the second half - but then the fun began.

United broke into the box and Nani took a tumble under a challenge, feeling he deserved a penalty and handling the ball in the process. Seeing the handball, Gomes rolled the ball out in front of him to take a free kick, but referee Clattenburg had not blown his whistle and Nani shot into an empty net.

Clattenburg's assistant flagged but after a conversation between the two the goal stood and with five minutes of normal time to play, United were home and dry.

Spurs of course felt hard done by, but Gomes had let confusion get the better of him at a crucial moment. Now, just a few short months later, Redknapp's side have the opportunity to show they have learned from past games and can secure a memorable win against an unbeaten United, keeping their own title challenge on track in the process.


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