Manchester United vs. Tottenham: Predicting United's Starting 11 Against Spurs

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2011

Manchester United vs. Tottenham: Predicting United's Starting 11 Against Spurs

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    Manchester United's first game of the season is out of the way and after slugging out a win that will have delighted Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils will be looking to kick on to great things for the rest of the season.

    United's first opponents on Old Trafford soil this season will be Tottenham Hotspur who, having not played a competitive match yet, lack match practice and fitness. 

    Here are my predictions for Manchester United's starting lineup against Tottenham. 

GK: David De Gea

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    I have absolutely no doubt that David de Gea will start against Tottenham. He is a record signing for a reason, he is the most talented young goalkeeper in the world and a great future at Manchester United is on the horizon.

    Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton also praised De Gea:

    "I think he will be okay. I’m not worried about him at all. He’s a fantastic shot-stopper, very agile and he kicks the ball well.

    He throws the ball well too, so I’ve no concerns about him. We’ve yet to see the best of him. The boy obviously has a gift, and Alex has seen this. He’s a great goalkeeper and that won’t change."

    All hail David de Gea!

LB: Patrice Evra

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    Having missed the league opener due to a minor knock, Patrice Evra is a near-certainty to start this time around.

    With the Manchester United defense depleted due to injuries to Rafael Da Silva, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, it will be important that a bit of experience is brought into the side and this is where Patrice Evra comes in.

    The Frenchman is also likely to be team captain in the absence of Vidic. 

RB: Chris Smalling

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    With another cameo performance at right-back for Manchester United against West Brom, Chris Smalling has laid claim to this position for the foreseeable future.

    Smalling's great performances as a full-back in Community Shield game against Manchester City and in Manchester United's preseason friendly against Barcelona will have only improved his chances. With Rafael Da Silva sidelined, putting Chris Smalling at right-back represents the manager's best option.

CB: Johnny Evans

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    With injuries to Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Sir Alex will be forced to put together a makeshift defense with the hope that they can gel quickly enough for the match on Monday.

    The first move thereof would be to bring Johnny Evans in at centre-back. The Northern Ireland man has displayed some good form for United over the past few weeks and is probably the most experienced of United's young defenders.

    This experience will come in handy against tricky opponents like Tottenham. 

CB: Phil Jones

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    The second move would to bring in new signing Phil Jones into the team. The young Englishman displayed a calm and presence of mind that belied his age in the Community Shield game against City when he was brought on and replicated that against West Bromwich Albion.

    In my opinion, one of United's best signings in years, Phil Jones will add steel and true grit to the United defense.

    My biggest concern with the Evans-Jones pairing, though, is their ability to communicate with the new goalkeeper. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic did a good job of it against West Brom, it'll be interesting to see how the trio get on.

    I should add that it is to United's advantage that this game would be Spurs' first competitive match of the season, meaning they aren't as match-fit as they'd like to be.

LM: Ashley Young

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    Ashley Young's Manchester United career could not have begun any better. He scored the match-winner and was voted man of the match in United's opener against West Brom.

    There is currently no rival for his position as a left-winger and that may continue to be the case if he keeps on playing as he is.

    When asked about the possibility of Young playing centrally, Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say about him:

    Ashley can play in different positions but I'm not saying it's going to happen at the moment, he's filling the left-hand side very well but there's options to play him right or off the front.

    The option to play him centrally is not looking great for him, though, with Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Dimitar Berbatov plus even Ryan Giggs can play there. So we're looking more at the wide positions for him."

RM: Luis Nani

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    Nani, like Ashley Young, has enjoyed a great start to the season and is most likely going to start against Tottenham.

    The Portuguese International's threat on the counterattack is well known and Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to use this threat against an attacking side like Tottenham.  

MC: Anderson

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    With the retirement of Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick's fall from grace, Sir Alex Ferguson has been looking to build a new midfield partnership that will propel Manchester United to glory.

    Enter Anderson.

    The Brazilian International hasn't always been given opportunities to display his skills but that has changed this season. Through preseason, Sir Alex made the conscious decision of playing Anderson for every minute of every game, and that choice seems to have paid off.

    Anderson is looking fitter, stronger and enthused about his new role in the United setup. Barring injury, I think he is the first name on the team sheet.  

MC: Tom Cleverley

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    Tom Cleverley's start to this season has been a revelation and his cause will only have been helped by Sir Alex Ferguson's reluctance to bring in a new centre midfielder.

    Preferred to Michael Carrick in the opener against West Brom, Cleverley displayed a calmness and control that will no doubt please Sir Alex.

    I see the England U21 International reprising his centre midfield role again. 

Sc: Wayne Rooney

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    Simply put: Sir Alex Ferguson won't start a big game without Wayne Rooney.

SC: Danny Welbeck

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    Danny Welbeck was preferred ahead of Dimitar Berbatov in United's opener against West Brom, and it was clear to every watching eye why that was the case.

    Welbeck's effort, industry and commitment to the cause will always far exceed Berbatov's and it makes perfect sense to start the young England International ahead of the Bulgarian.