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Played
September 29, 2012 5:30 PM BST
Old Trafford — Manchester
Referee:‬ C. Foy‎
Attendance:‬ 75566‎
 
51′ Nani
Jonny Evans 2′ (OG)
Gareth Bale 32′
 

Manchester United - Tottenham Preview: Spurs aiming to pick up first Old Trafford win since 1989

Andre Villas-Boas' side have managed very little against the Red Devils over the last two decades, while Jermain Defoe will be hoping to score his 200th career goal

By Ryan Benson

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER UNITED

Lindegaard
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Carrick, Cleverley
Nani, Rooney, Welbeck
Van Persie
TOTTENHAM

Friedel
Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen
Sandro, Dembele
Lennon, Dempsey, Bale
Defoe


Manchester United continue to struggle with injury concerns, most notably at the back as Nemanja Vidic (knee), Chris Smalling (foot) and Phil Jones (knee) remain sidelined, but Sir Alex is still able to pick from a core of first-team regulars.

In midfield the only two players who are definitively ruled out are Ashley Young (knee) and Antonio Valencia (ankle), meaning Nani could well retain his place in the starting line-up despite being withdrawn at half-time against Liverpool.

Wayne Rooney seems likely to return after several weeks out with a gash above his knee following his start against Newcastle United in the League Cup.

Andre Villas-Boas has his own fitness worries to mull over in the build-up to the match, with the brunt of his problems also in defence.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Younes Kaboul (both knee) and Scott Parker (Achilles) are still out, and although Kyle Naughton (ankle) could be available, he may not be gambled upon with Jan Vertonghen tipped to move out to the left.

Like Naughon, Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) should be available, but a start seems unlikely given Jermain Defoe's impressive start to the season, while Clint Dempsey could get the nod over Gylfi Sigurdsson in attacking midfield, with the Iceland international yet to really impress for Spurs.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester United have not lost any of their last 22 Premier League meetings with Tottenham, with 17 ending in victories.
  • Spurs have scored just one of their eight league goals in the first half, while no side has scored more than them in the second period.
  • Meanwhile, in typical United fashion, the Red Devils have scored a third of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.
  • If Jermain Defoe (pictured, right) scores at Old Trafford, it will be his 200th career strike.
  • United have lost only twice at home to Spurs since 1981, with Gary Lineker a scorer on both occasions.
  • In his last six matches against Spurs, Robin van Persie has managed five goals and four assists.
  • With 10 goals, Ryan Giggs has not scored more against any other opponent than Spurs.
  • Andre Villas-Boas' only previous visit to Old Trafford as a manager saw his Chelsea side lose 3-1 early last season.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
3Patrice EvraDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
11Ryan GiggsMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
26Shinji KagawaMidfielder
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
31Scott WoottonDefender
8AndersonMidfielder
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
14Javier 'Chicharito' HernandezStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
24Brad FriedelGoalkeeper
5Jan VertonghenDefender
13William GallasDefender
2Kyle WalkerDefender
4Steven CaulkerDefender
2Clint DempseyStriker
7Aaron LennonMidfielder
11Gareth BaleMidfielder
30Mousa DembeleStriker
30SandroMidfielder
18Jermain DefoeStriker
25Hugo LlorisGoalkeeper
20Michael DawsonDefender
8Tom HuddlestoneMidfielder
22Gylfi SigurdssonMidfielder
17Andros TownsendMidfielder
77Ryan MasonMidfielder
-Iago FalquéStriker
Players to Watch
Rafael
Rafael
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 2
Games Goals YC RC
19 0 5 0
Regardless of who Spurs are playing, with Luka Modric gone, Gareth Bale will be the team's go-to man this season, meaning United right-back Rafael will have to be on the top of his game on Saturday. The Brazilian has had a fairly steady and consistent start to the season by his rather erratic standards and he has come out on top before in a dual with the Welsh winger, but that will not count for much this weekend. Either way, Rafael must keep a lid on Bale.
Aaron Lennon
Aaron Lennon
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
25 2 1 0
After a slow start at United, Patrice Evra managed to mould himself into one - if not the - world's best left-backs, but there is one player who he has struggled against time and time again; Aaron Lennon. The pace, trickery and lightning-quick change of direction that Lennon possesses always seems to strike fear into Evra, and with the France international far from his best these days it would be wise of Villas-Boas to instruct his players to give Lennon as many runs at the full-back as possible.
Prediction
This match so often enthrals and bleeds goals, and with the amount of attacking talent on each side coupled with defensive problems it would hardly be surprising if this meeting follows a similar pattern. However, in front of their own fans and after some lacklustre performances of late, United are likely to have received a kick up the backside from Sir Alex, therefore a home win looks the most probable outcome.
Editor's Prediction
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2