Important points are at stake at White Hart Lane as Tottenham attempt to secure a rare home win over Champions League hopefuls Manchester United and bolster their own title aspirations.
It has to be said that Tottenham are not doing a lot wrong in their bid to be the team lifting the trophy in May, but constantly find themselves trailing in the wake of Leicester City. The frustration in boss Mauricio Pochettino’s body language was clear for all to see after his side could only leave Liverpool with a share of the spoils last time out, and more dropped points here will effectively mean that they will be needing snookers in order to bridge the gap that currently stands at seven points.
In normal circumstances a draw away to Liverpool would be greeted with satisfaction, but it is a mark of how far Spurs have come in a short space of time that a sense of failure was the prevailing emotion at the final whistle. They performed very well on the day as star performer Christian Eriksen found Harry Kane for a sublime equaliser, and they know that if they can play like that here, the Londoners would stand a very reasonable chances of emerging victorious.
Man Utd are a very bizarre team to observe at present, occasionally throwing in the odd convincing display but every now and then suffering a setback which results in serious questions being asked of manager and players alike. As for their last game against Everton, it was very similar to many of the games last season where they were winning despite producing some very underwhelming football and failing to create many chances. Fortunately, when one came their way Anthony Martial was there to convert.
As ever, they were also indebted to a couple of brilliant saves from goalkeeper David De Gea in order to preserve their lead, and the Spaniard is likely to be called into action on several occasions during this encounter. On paper it is a difficult one to predict, though intriguing, and is set to come down to which of the two teams is more efficient in the two penalty areas. One thing for sure is that United possess the greater degree of pace in attacking areas, and will not hold back in a game which they must also take points from.
Jan Vertonghen could return for Tottenham after three months on the sidelines, and they are likely to recall Erik Lamela after missing out at Liverpool due to a knock.
Luke Shaw is back in training for Man Utd, but is still some way away from being back available. Phil Jones is back from injury, although Wayne Rooney is still out.
Last Meeting: A string of superb saves from Hugo Lloris kept out Man Utd in the first half hour of the meeting in December 2014, a game which faded somewhat after a bright opening. Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and Ashley Young were all frustrated by the Frenchman, while Juan Mata saw a free-kick come back off a post. As for Tottenham, a Ryan Mason shot over with their best attempt late in the second half.
Played for both – Dimitar Berbatov: The silky Bulgarian joined Tottenham in the summer of 2006 and impressed immediately, managing 12 goals in his first season before helping to win the League Cup in the second. He moved to Man Utd in August 2008 and went on to win two Premier League titles at the club. Despite eventualy falling out of favour, he was the Premier League’s top scorer in the 2010-11 season.
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