Spurs will be hoping to repeat their early season success at Old Trafford when they face league leaders Man Utd at White Hart Lane on Sunday (4pm GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Spurs are fourth in the Premier League table with 40 points from 12 wins, four draws and six defeats, three points clear of Everton in fifth and just two points behind Chelsea in third.
Andre Villas-Boas’ (pictured) men come into Sunday’s encounter having lost just once in their last ten league matches, a run that has included seven victories and two draws, the most recent of which came away to Queen’s Park Rangers last weekend.
Tottenham toiled to break down a resolute, well-organised QPR defence but were unable to move the ball with the necessary speed or precision to penetrate the home back four. The match ended goalless – only the third time this season that Spurs have failed to score.
The Lilywhites have generally performed well in the final third, scoring a league fifth-best 39 goals to date. But last weekend’s away match highlighted a problem that has been more prevalent in their home fixtures. Without the departed Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart, they sometimes lack the necessary ingenuity to pierce packed defences.
Tottenham came close to signing Porto playmaker Joao Moutinho in the summer transfer window, but having failed to do so do lack a recognised passer in the centre of midfield.
Sandro and Moussa Dembele have formed a formidable central midfield partnership, but neither Glyfi Sigurddson nor Clint Dempsey have performed well enough in front of them to lock down the central attacking midfield berth.
Away from home, the pace of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale on the counter attack allows Spurs to score more freely, as indicated by the fact that 22 of their 39 goals to date (56%) have come on their travels, but at home they still look a little short of the quality required to ensure regular victories in front of the White Hart Lane faithful.
This deficiency may not be as much of a problem on Sunday as it would be against lower ranked opposition because Manchester United, too, are stronger going forwards than they are defensively, and are likely to employ an attacking strategy.
The Red Devils comfortably lead the way at the top of the Premier League table, seven points clear of second place Manchester City, with 55 points from 18 wins, one draw and three defeats. They are in the midst of a ten-match unbeaten run, nine of which have been victories.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men triumphed 2-1 at home to Liverpool in their last league engagement and followed that result with a tight 1-0 win over West Ham in their FA Cup Third Round replay on Wednesday, a match that saw the return of Wayne Rooney after a three-week absence with a knee injury.
Rooney quickly got back into the swing of things, firing United into the lead within the first ten minutes, but was also guilty of missing a late penalty that would have made for a slightly less uncomfortable end to the match for his side. Ferguson will, though, be glad to have Rooney back in action, thus adding further to his myriad of attacking options.
Robin Van Persie scored the first goal in the victory over Liverpool to take his league total to 17 in 22 appearances since his summer move from Arsenal, while Javier Hernandez has also performed well in Rooney’s absence, scoring three and providing one assist in four appearances.
While United’s forwards have contributed the biggest share of the club’s league-leading 56 goals to date (58.93%), goals have been spread around the squad, with 16.07% coming from midfielders and 19.64% from defenders. The remaining percentage is accounted for by three own goals.
United have had 17 different scorers, the highest number of any Premier League team.
Tottenham Hotspur v Man Utd Betting Tips
Spurs ran out 3-2 winners when these sides met at Old Trafford earlier in the season, powering through the centre of United’s midfield with alarming ease, especially in scoring their second.
But United now appear to have found a better balance in midfield with the pairing of Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick, and Spurs are unlikely to be able to cut through them in a similar manner this time around.
The home side will be without the injured Sandro – one of the Premier League’s best midfielders this season – and Africa-bound Emmanuel Adebayor, while United await late fitness tests on defenders Johnny Evans and Nemanja Vidic.
Both these sides are in good form coming into the match and we expect to see an entertaining, well-matched encounter. Three of the last five fixtures between them at White Hart Lane have ended in a draw and we think that is again the most likely outcome on Sunday.