Sir Alex Ferguson’s club ranks second in the Premier League with 12 points at 4-0-1. Spurs fall in nearly the dead middle at 2-2-1 and eight points.
The Red Devils have been on an absolute tear since their opening defeat, while Tottenham has come on as of late. Each advanced to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup with their latest victories.
However, something will have to give on Saturday in this sixth matchup of EPL play.
Let’s take a gander at these two clubs and give a prediction on the forthcoming conclusion.
Where: Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England
When: Saturday, September 29, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV/Live Stream: Fox Soccer Plus
Manchester United: Must Overcome Defensive Issues
Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Man U this season.
It leads the EPL with 12 goals through their first five matches.
Robin Van Persie, as should be expected, leads the squad with five. The remaining goals are spread out amongst six other players, which is a good indication of offensive balance.
Both Anderson and Tom Cleverley provided scoring in the 2-1 defeat of Newcastle.
United’s problem, though, remains on the other side of the ball.
The team has been absolutely gutted by injuries to its defenders. Nemanja Vidic was the latest to go down after surgery on his right knee. Both he and Phil Jones are out for two months, while their compatriot Chris Smalling is missing in action as well.
As The Guardian reports, midfielder Michael Carrick could very well be thrust into a defensive role if the two remaining defensemen—Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans—succumb to injury.
Man U must keep Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe on lockdown. He leads the club with four goals and an overwhelming 31 shots.
The home team will rely on Van Persie’s scoring talents and the leadership of the recently returned Wayne Rooney for its upcoming match against the visiting Tottenham.
Tottenham Hotspur: Exploit Weaknesses in Defense
Tottenham will arrive at Old Trafford coming off a six-match undefeated streak and winners of the past two.
It took down Carlisle United 3-0 in Round 3 of the Capital One Cup after defeating Queens Park Rangers in Premier League action. Their matchup with QPR ended in comeback fashion as Defoe struck from close range for the 2-1 win.
Even with Van Persie’s scoring lead for Man U, Spurs are more solely predicated on the offense generated by Defoe. No other Spurs player is within three goals or 13 shots.
He’s led Tottenham with three out of their five total goals in their two victories on the season.
Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas would enjoy a more well-rounded scoring output akin to their latest Capital One Cup match. Jan Vertonghen, Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson each netted a goal.
Goalkeeper Brad Friedel has also been a relative one-man wrecking crew in Premier League play. Aside from the opening loss at Newcastle, he has stood his ground and limited opponents to the amount of one or zero goals allowed.
He must perform in a similar fashion to curtail the scoring-dominant Man U in the early goings.
As for Tottenham as a whole, it’s no surprise that they must capitalize on the gaping deficiencies on United’s defense. Defoe and Gareth Bale will surely lead the attack.
For Villas-Boas, he must continue deflecting any goalkeeper controversy regarding Friedel versus Hugo Lloris and focus on United’s scorers.
It would also benefit him in case he’s worried about any more boo birds when he arrives back at White Hart Lane in early October.
Even with the rash of injuries incurred by Manchester United, the Red Devils limit Defoe to one score and take the match 3-1. Rooney will net his first goal of the season in the win.
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