Momentum with Reds but tough Spurs challenge lies ahead

Manchester United returns to Premier League action after the midweek Carling Cup sojourn, with the momentum now firmly in Sir Alex Ferguson’s camp. Saturday’s challenge could hardly be more difficult in domestic terms but an unbeaten start and three wins on the bounce means confidence is at a high as Tottenham Hotspur visit.

For perhaps the first time in a generation Ferguson will cast envious eyes at the visiting Spurs side. Harry Redknapp has assembled a high quality squad that is now realistic challengers both domestically and in Europe. Indeed, the visitors’ midfield including Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon is a formidable outfit.

Indeed, Ferguson must contend with absences in both midfield and attack if United is to maintain a successful record against Spurs. The Londoners have not won at Old Trafford for 21 years or beaten United anywhere for nine – a total of 25 matches.

Ferguson though will again be without Wayne Rooney, who may miss more than the previously estimated three weeks with an ankle injury. Asked if Rooney’s prognosis had changed Ferguson said “I think it may be longer.”

“Wayne is away at the moment, so there is no recovery,” he added.

“He did his remedial work before he went away but thereafter we are happy that he is resting.”

Rooney’s continued absence means that the Scot must choose whether to match Spurs’ five man midfield or reward Javier Hernández’ fine recent form. The Mexican has scored three goals in the past week and been praised for his composure under pressure but may find a place on the bench or wide in a three-man attack his reward.

Ferguson also has a dilemma at right-back, with in-form Gareth Bale a key weapon in the visitors’ armoury. The Scot will probably choose between John O’Shea or Rafael da Silva to combat the Welshman’s pace.

United also has concerns on the left side of midfield, with Park Ji-Sung horribly out of form and Ferguson not yet fully trusting the merits of Gabriel Obertan or Bébé. Patrice Evra moved into midfield against Stoke City last weekend and may reprise the role if United’s manager deploys four in midfield.

Elsewhere Paul Scholes is set for a recall and Ryan Giggs could make the bench after training this week. Meanwhile, former Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick says that confidence in the United squad is high.

“We need to focus on putting a good run together,” Carrick told

“But you can’t look too far ahead and start planning how your run will pan out. We’ve got a huge game against Spurs and we’re focused on that first, but around the camp the atmosphere is bubbly and the lads are happy. It’s a really positive vibe at the moment. Hopefully that carries us through.

“The games come thick and fast now, and thankfully we’re in the cups and fighting in the league. The challenge is there for us to stick together and really mount a challenge.

“That’s what we’re focused on. The games we’ve drawn, we feel like we’ve thrown them away. But we’re still unbeaten, which gives you confidence, and we’ve got three wins in a row.”

Aside from Rooney and the long-term injury victim Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen will miss at least a month with a hamstring problem, while Ferguson says Owen Hargreaves convalescence has suffered a recent set back.

Meanwhile, the visitors will be without Tom Huddlestone, with either Wilson Palacios or Jermain Jenas coming into the side. van der Vaart is likely to occupy his normal role behind Peter Crouch at the head of Tottenham’s midfield.

It is now 67 games since Spurs last won away to one of the Premier League’s big four. Redknapp will never have taken a better team to Old Trafford.

Whether it is good enough to break that streak is as yet undecided.

Spurs – 4411 – Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch. Subs from: Kaboul, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Jenas, Dos Santos, Kranjcar, Cudicini, Sandro, Stipe Pletikosa.

United squad
Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O’Shea, Evans, Rafael, Fabio, Brown, Anderson, Bébé, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Gibson, Fletcher, Hernández, Berbatov, Macheda, Owen, Obertan.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Simon Beck
Fourth official: Mark Halsey

United – WDDWWW
Spurs – LWWWLD

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  1. RobDiablo says

    With only one exception, I like your team selection a lot. My question is: have you put O’Shea in at right back because you subscribe to my “Sir Alex always has to make at least one shocking decision that prevents him from putting out his best side” theory, or because you think O’Shea offers something in that position that the other candidates do not? I would go with Brown as first choice, Rafael second.

  2. calvo says

    Lol, @ RobDiablo!…but soo true!!
    I for one is actually gobsmacked that he has been offered a new contract.
    But anyway, i would prefer Rafael as his speed is gonna be needed and he gets forward, enough to push Bale back which is where you want him.
    I can understand the formation tho and even Carricks inclusion, but i would lean towards Anderson just to add a bit more pace, agility and aggression, Carrick will “allow” Spurs to play whereas Anderson will harrass more…but then who am i when i suport a team led by Fergie!!!…CMON UTD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. redevil_83 says

    i like you chalkboard tool. i’ve saved it down and edited so i can share and discuss formations for upcoming matches with my mates hehe

  4. redevil_83 says

    i bet you anderson starts in place of carrick (he had an out in CC), and rafa in place of oshea (brasilian specifically rested for PL match against bale’s pace)

  5. herbie simms says

    I just hope SAF has got it right for his game. Iam not looking for a close game, looking for at least 3-0 United.
    Will save any further comments until after the game.

    • Bannister2001 says

      Spurs team under Redknapp has been a threat the past two seasons,although we came away from the last 2 games with victories we have been made to fight for the points.With Bale in excellent form and lennon who always seems to give evra a good game it should be more of if you can score 5 we can score 6.Hernandez in the past few games has added some composure to his un-doubted promise,berbatov needs to find his goalscoring touch again but thinks its the midfield where this game could be won,scholes should return with fletcher in midfield,carrick is woefully out of sorts but usually has a good game against his former club.Nani is still showing promising form and could be a match winner,modric will need to be stopped from creating unlike previous games when he has ran the show,fingers crossed,it will be entertaining if nothing else.

  6. sheesh says

    5.30 on a Saturday evening FFS. I want to be going out on a Saturday evening, not stuck watching the match.

    I hate all midweek games, Sunday 4pm games and Saturday evening kick offs. Pain in the arse.

    Get rid of half the shite in the league and let’s have Saturday 3pms every week please.

  7. Sidsidney says

    At our peak in 2008 Fergie would play O’Shea to make a game of it

    He’d stick him on knowing he’d fuck up a couple of times and give the opposition a chance/hope/optimism

    Now we’re shit it’s no laughing matter when he’s on

  8. herbie simms says

    This team should be strong enough to beat Spurs:

    VAN de SAR

    A mixture of youth and experience.

    • RobDiablo says

      No way! United to win 6-5. Hat-trick from Park, a brace from Anderson, and a stoppage time winner from O’Shea.

      • RobDiablo says

        Actually, I wouldn’t dream of predicting the outcome of this match until I have seen what happens at Blackburn this afternoon. I think we all know what kind of response we can expect from United if Cheatski drop any points there. So, for United to beat Spurs, Cheatski must beat Rovers.

  9. Sidsidney says

    United 11: Van Der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Hernandez, Berbatov

    Fletcher, Carrick, Park

  10. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    that redcafe webshite is fucking useless, bale does play

    their midfields gonna piss on us, and no doubt nanis fobbed off to the left so park can man mark bale, we won’t win this

  11. Sidsidney says

    The anti-Glazer protest is kicking off

    Bottles are being thrown and there’s an attempt to smash the Megastore doors

  12. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Even the ref was standing there, saying “what are you doing?”

    So Nani put it in… can’t blame Nani, if the ref fucks it up.

  13. danniitronix says

    lol – Gomez thought it was a free kick, for the handball when Nani was on the deck after being pulled down by that dirty shit cunt, Kaboul.

    laural and hardy routine

  14. Sidsidney says

    danniitronix said:
    I still don’t get that – wasn’t Gomez just taking his goal kick?

    Can some cunt explain?

    Tottenham think it’s a freekick

    They think the Nani dived and the ref gave Tottenham a free kick

    So Gomes puts the ball down where Nani was fouled, but technically he’s in possession and the ball is live. The ref telling him to kick it (stood there with his arms out as if to say “kick it, son”), but he doesn’t, so Nani runs up and side foots it in

  15. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    the ref said play on cause spurs had possesion, gomes tried to roll it out for a feekick, nani nicks it, goal given

  16. danniitronix says

    good win!!!

    nani is great – such a positive attiude, never stops trying new things unlike Carrick who is just a passenger – through fletcher did good today too – hats of of rio, vida and vds for keeping the clean sheet

    would love to have modric, bale and VDV – they are the missing links in our squad.

  17. Sidsidney says

    Lennon & Bale were shit. They dint get a sniff.

    They spent most of the match hugging the touchline waiting for the ball, when they should be coming inside, getting involved, pulling people out of position etc.

    Park is shit but he causes the opposition problems by mixing it up

    The one time Bale came inside he managed to get a decent shot off across goal

  18. bman says

    At first the goal looked outrageous, but looking at it again, Gomes just fucked up. Priceless. Nani is going to public enemy number 1 now though, was already heading that way, he is a terrible diver.

    Would have Bale. I think the gloss on VDV will wear off. Modric and VDV are better than what we have, but not as good as we should have.

    Clean sheet with no real defensive midfielder playing against a good side is the best thing about this result. Berba wasn’t great, his winning streak didn’t last very long did it…

  19. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    berbatov was shocking again, all attacks end with a pointless berbatov flick to no one followed by him moaning at someone, usually nani, cunt

  20. danniitronix says

    thing with Bale is that he is and always will be limited by Spuds, but the cunt is positive and needs a real club to see if he can go all the way and be a master, lennon is shit period

    ramsay, wilshere and walcott will be dons because they are at a great club and can fulfill potential – wilshere is already kicking-ass and the cunt is what 18?

    ffs we have Gibson and Anderson; and Kiddyfiddler has Ramsay and Wilshere, with Fabricunt not even 25.

    I’d just jack Gibson and Anderson and start a fresh with Clerverly, Morrison and Eikrem. Bench Carrick and Park.

  21. sheesh says

    Spurs fans were an embarrassment to their club today. Without being utterly raucous themselves, about 95% of their songs were directed at us as opposed to supporting their own lot with the usual “shall we sing a song for you” and “just like the library” chants that must form their repertoire.

    I was delighted we got a break for that 2nd goal. It shut those small-time cunts up for the remainder of the game. It was a good, gritty performance in all – although Fletcher was utter shite today.

  22. herbie simms says

    I read now that SAF is angry again with Rooney and wants him to stay out until December. He is saying he wants to be sure that the ankle is 100% when he comes back. Now Rooney does not want to hear that, he is looking to play Nov.14 against Man.City. SAF is now saying he will not be bringing in any world class players to please Rooney. SAF says he is the boss and Rooney cannot tell him what to do.
    SAF also said that he will not be bringing in any new players in January, he is quite pleased with the present squad and he goes on to say that he will have Antonio Valencia back in Febuary. So no need to be talking about new players coming in, because there will be none.
    I see how SAF thinks because you beat Spurs and he looks at that and feels he don’t need any players, its an undefeated team, so why buy players. Yet David Gill said a couple of days ago that the Glazers had already given SAF money to buy players, so what is Fergie’s problem? If he think’s Rooney is trying to control him, its best he get rid of Rooney and get on with the business of strengthning the squad for the future.

  23. Sidsidney says

    Unregistered User said:
    SAF also said that he will not be bringing in any new players in January, he is quite pleased with the present squad

    Are you a WUM

  24. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Herbie… just to let you know… I think you talk utter shite… and I’d bet that most other Ranters do as well.

    No one here wants to know what you read on “some mystery forum”… about what Ferguson supposedly said.

    If you’ve come across something legitimate, post the link here… that will be genuinely appreciated… but this, “he said/she said” bollocks is just that… bollocks… until you can show where it came from.

    I mean, I’ve got a friend, whose sister is best mates with this girl from Islington, whose parents run a chinese dry cleaner, whose delivery boy apperantly caught the crabs from some tart from Ilford, whose brother is a cross dresser, who takes salsa classes from this guy name Juan… anyway Juan knows a bloke who says he belongs to a low profile Manchester United fan site, and he says he knows this guy who calls himself “herbie simms”… and he says that you’re volunteer, public toilet cleaner who lives near Hamstead Heath, and that he’s seen you on your hands and knees, wearing a Manchester City shirt, taking it in both ends from two lines of Millwall fans.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

  25. sheesh says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    he’s seen you on your hands and knees, wearing a Manchester City shirt, taking it in both ends from two lines of Millwall fans.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    There’s an image I’ll take to bed tonight.

  26. RobDiablo says

    sheesh said:
    There’s an image I’ll take to bed tonight.

    Why settle for an image? Dial this number: 1-900-BLU-SUCK, and you can experience the real thing in the comfort of your own home.

  27. kramer says

    nice goal for nani. should’ve had a penalty anyway. it was the ref’s fault to be honest, i’d have been livid if that had been given against united.
    anyway, decent showing. berba was invisible, chicharito is too weak to start these games. fletcher was a little better than usual, same for park.
    rafael was great though. i thought this was his acid test, to see whether he was good enough as a defender. he did get skinned once, but overall he did very well. and respect to fergie for leaving o’shea out and starting with a 4-4-2 for once.

  28. sukhy5 says

    Leave the lad alone, all he needs to do is post the source:

    Sir Alex Ferguson: I’m in charge here! Manchester United boss says Wayne Rooney will return when HE says so and club will not buy in January

    Sir Alex Ferguson last night re-established full control in his power battle with Wayne Rooney by ruling out any transfer activity in January and revealing the striker may have to wait until December before being recalled to Manchester United’s first team.

    Having helped to make 25-year-old Rooney the highest-paid player in the club’s history nine days ago, Ferguson has moved quickly to make sure the England star realises he will be treated just like any other player from now on.

    Dismissing supposed ‘assurances’ Rooney had wanted about future signings, Ferguson insists United’s transfer policy had not changed following the signing of the player’s five-year contract.

    Ferguson also made it clear to £200,000-a-week Rooney, who watched the controversial 2-0 win over Tottenham after a week’s holiday in Dubai, that he will decide when the striker makes his comeback.

    The form of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez gives Ferguson options and he is anxious that Rooney is fully fit when he returns to action from his ankle injury.

    ‘We won’t be buying in January, definitely not,’ said Ferguson, despite Rooney’s concerns about the strength of United’s squad. ‘You are limited because there are hundreds of players cup-tied for European football.

    ‘There will be five months of the season left and we will be getting a new player back in February with Antonio Valencia returning from injury, and maybe another in Owen Hargreaves. With the squad I’ve got, I don’t see any reason for us to buy anyone.

    ‘There has always been money to spend but it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more transfer activity than normal in the summer. We will buy what we need to buy. We know what we need.

    ‘There is always this issue if Van der Sar, Scholes, Giggs or Neville were to retire but we’ve been aware of that for two or three years and we are well ahead of that. We know exactly what we have to do.’

    Despite United being linked with a number of big-name stars including Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema and Wesley Sneijder, Ferguson has told Rooney and everyone else they will have to keep faith in United’s tradition of bringing on younger players like ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.

    Ferguson is adamant he will not rush Rooney back despite the player’s desire to play every week and is even looking at the Champions League tie with Valencia on December 7 as a possible comeback date.

    The 68-year-old said: ‘It may be five weeks before Rooney’s comeback because he will have to pick up his fitness again. I would think five weeks would be about right.

    ‘There is no chance of the Manchester City game on November 10 coming into the equation. You want any player who has been out a few weeks to be 100 per cent and not breaking down. That is what happened to Ryan Giggs a couple of weeks ago.’

    From the Mail online

  29. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    the long awaited return of ‘him coming back from injury is like a new signing’

    valencia and hargreaves

  30. herbie simms says

    I do my research before I make comments. Hope you read the article by Sukhy. SAF comments are now featured in most UK newspapers. I said what I said because I did not like SAF coming out one week and saying he is going to buy all these players and then come out a few days later and say he is not buying any players. Most fans have been looking for at least one or two quality midfielders to come in and they will not be pleased to hear this!

  31. RobDiablo says

    Herbie – one of the reasons a link to these stories would be appreciated is that it would allow us to see what parts of the article consists of quotes from Sir Alex, David Gill, etc. and what parts are comprised of the writer’s speculation, interpretation, imagination, etc.

    I am still trying to figure out what this latest development means. Knowing how tight money is at the club, I’m not surprised at the U-turn on the implied promise to spend on new players, but part of me suspects/hopes that it is a smokescreen and that Sir Alex is going to pick up a midfielder in January. Does this mean that Rooney is going to be sold? It’s confusing because spending is what the club need to do to remain competitive at the top level on the pitch, but the last thing they need to do as a business. F*ck the Glazers!

  32. herbie simms says

    Okay! I will always give everyone the links to these articles. Don’t want to make bad friends on this site and I appreciate what you have to say on the matter.

  33. sukhy5 says

    Herbie lad…where you from?

    I’m taking a guess that English is not your first language?

    I appeciate your input in the forum!

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