Manchester United will be confident of continuing their excellent recent run of form against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day (Wednesday, 17:30 GMT on BT Sport).
United are sixth in the Premier League with 34 points from 10 wins, four draws and five defeats. They recorded a fifth consecutive league victory with a 1-0 win away to Norwich on Saturday.
Following a laboured first half performance, the introduction of Danny Welbeck helped inspire United to an improved second half display and victory in a match they could very well have lost. Welbeck’s has been one of United’s most impressive performers in recent weeks, with four goals and one assist in his last four league appearances.
Welbeck’s prominence has come at a time when Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, United’s two first-choice strikers, have been struggling with injuries. While not as deadly in front of the goal as Van Persie or as forceful as Rooney, his all round ability makes him an invaluable member of the squad and he was excellent on Saturday.
After a difficult start to his time in charge, David Moyes will feel that things are finally starting to click for him at Old Trafford. He is nothing if not pragmatic and will be aware that the deficiencies in defence, midfield and wide areas have not disappeared. But the situation does look far better than it did a week or so into December, when his side had just suffered back-to-back home defeats. Six straight victories in all competitions later, the picture is much rosier.
Moyes has stated that he expects Rooney to return from the groin injury that saw him miss the win over Norwich, but Van Persie (thigh), Nani (hamstring), Rafael (groin) and Phil Jones (knee) are all doubtful. Marouane Fellaini will be out of action until mid-February after undergoing an operation on his wrist injury. Antonio Valencia returns from suspension.
Tottenham are level with United on 34 points with the same record of 10 wins, four draws and five defeats. They have taken seven points from a possible nine since Tim Sherwood (pictured) was appointed as head coach in place of Andre Villas-Boas.
Sherwood achieved his first home victory on Sunday with a very comfortable 3-0 win against a Stoke team weakened by injuries and suspensions. His side showed a great deal of attacking ambition from the off, outshot their opponents 20 to 2 and were worthy victors.
The win was Tottenham’s first in the league at White Hart Lane since late October, ending a run of four matches without victory in front of their own supporters. Spurs have the third best away record in the league, but have often struggled at home. Sunday’s win was notable for good displays from a number of their previously underperforming summer signings.
Roberto Soldado scored from the penalty spot and was very lively, if a little wasteful in front of goal. Paulinho was a driving force in midfield until his withdrawal, due to injury, just past the hour mark. Christian Eriksen was bright, albeit sloppy at times, while Vlad Chiriches was solid in his defensive work and distributed accurately from the back.
With Aaron Lennon, Emmanuel Adebayor and Moussa Dembele also impressing, there were plenty of positives for Sherwood to take from the result and performance. Getting the best from all members of his squad, new and old, will be key if Spurs are to continue to compete domestically and in Europe in the second half of the season.
Tottenham have a number of injury issues, with Andros Townsend (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Jermain Defoe (hamstring), Sandro (calf) and Younes Kaboul (thigh) all doubts for Wednesday’s match. Paulinho’s participation is also in question after he pulled up injured in the win over Stoke. Kyle Walker returns from suspension.
Man Utd v Spurs Betting Tips Verdict
Tottenham won last season’s equivalent fixture 3-2, in the process recording their first victory away to Man Utd since 1989. United had won each of the previous 10 meetings between the sides at Old Trafford. There have been three draws, six wins for United and just one for Spurs in the last 10 meetings at all venues.
Spurs have generally been very strong on their travels so far this season, but that record was primarily accumulated under the stewardship of Villas-Boas, whose strong, solid setup was well suited to getting results away from home. They are a more open side under Sherwood and matches between them and United have traditionally been high-scoring.
The likely return of Rooney is a big boost to Man Utd, particularly considering how influential he was in the 2-2 draw between the sides at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. They are a much better side with him in the team and his creativity and drive should ensure they get on the scoresheet at least once.
We expect to see a highly entertaining match, with the most likely outcome, as per the first meeting this season, being a score draw.
- Back the draw @ 3/1 with Bet365. (Update: This has shortened a fraction and is now best odds of 14/5 with Unibet or Stan James).
- Spurs have scored in each of their three matches since Sherwood took charge and in six of their nine away matches so far this season. United have thrice failed to score at Old Trafford, but should benefit from the space an attacking Spurs team will give them on the break. Back both teams to score @ 8/11 with Stan James. (Update: This is now best at 7/10 with Ladbrokes, which is almost 8/11).