How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Tottenham Hotspur

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentDecember 31, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on December 21, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

David Moyes will face a manager with a similar philosophy when Tottenham arrive at Old Trafford on New Year's Day, but it's the Manchester United boss who might have to change his approach.

Tim Sherwood has played 4-4-2 in each of his four games in charge of Tottenham and is expected to do the same against United. 

Moyes would use a similar system if he had his full complement of strikers, but with Robin van Persie ruled out with a thigh injury and doubts over Wayne Rooney, the United manager might be forced into a tactical switch.

Moyes told the Manchester Evening News that van Persie would definitely miss the game, but Rooney still has a chance of returning from the groin injury that kept him out against Norwich on Saturday.

Robin is not quite ready. Hopefully he's not too far away.

With Wayne we need to wait and see. He didn't train today so we'll assess him and see how he is.

With only Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez available, Moyes might chose to play just one striker. 

When both Rooney and Van Persie missed out against Stoke in the Capital One Cup, he played Welbeck up front on his own. They were both absent again against Norwich on Saturday, and Moyes started with Hernandez and kept Welbeck on the bench.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Danny Welbeck of Manchester United (R) celebrates with Javier Hernandez (14) as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and  Manchester United at Carrow Road on December 28,
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

There is still hope that Rooney will pass a late fitness test and solve Moyes' problem.

Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley should continue in the centre of midfield while Antonio Valencia, suspended against Norwich, will return on the right. Adnan Januzaj is in line to play on the left after starting on the bench against Hull and Norwich unless Moyes sticks with Ashley Young.

Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans are almost certain to start in defence, and Chris Smalling will continue at right-back with Rafael still nursing the groin injury he picked up against Hull.

Moyes' key decision at the back is over Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian started against Norwich but hasn't started back-to-back games since the successive defeats to Everton and Newcastle at the beginning of December.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United battles with Gary Hooper of Norwich City during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and  Manchester United at Carrow Road on December 28, 2013 in Norwich, England.  (Ph
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

But if Smalling has to play at right-back, Moyes doesn't have many other options. Rio Ferdinand hasn't been part of a matchday squad since he was named on the bench against Aston Villa on December 15.

Phil Jones could play there but is recovering from the knee injury he picked up before the win over Hull on Boxing Day.


Possible Lineup vs. Tottenham Hotspur

David de Gea; Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans; Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Antonia Valencia, Adnan Januzaj; Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.