Manchester United will have to win on the road against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on March 4 if they want to keep pace with league-leading Manchester City. United goes into the game in second place in the English Premier League with 61 points, five behind their cross-town rivals who beat Bolton on Saturday.
United has 19 wins, four draws and three losses on the season while Spurs has 16 wins, five draws and five losses and are in third place, eight points back of United. In their first meeting at Old Trafford in August, United came away with a convincing 3-0 win. Spurs are still reeling after blowing a 2-0 lead at Arsenal last Sunday in a game they ended up losing 5-2. United scored an injury-time winner to beat Norwich 2-1 last weekend.
It appears to be a tough task for Tottenham since they haven’t beaten United since way back in 2001. United are hoping to retain their EPL Championship and win their 20th title this season, but are finding Manchester City are giving them a run for their money. Manager Alex Ferguson realizes his team needs to win or they’ll stay five points behind City and have a bit of a hill to climb. A win will keep them within two points and the two Manchester teams still have to meet once more before the season’s over.
Tottenham will have to play without the services of new England captain Scott Parker as the midfielder was sent off after receiving two yellow cards against Arsenal last weekend. They may also be missing midfielder Rafael van der Vaart as well as defender Kyle Walker, who will both be game-time decisions. The status of Gareth Bale, tom Huddlestone, Ledley King, and William Gallas is also up in the air and won’t be known until shortly before kickoff
United will likely be without defender Chris Smalling who was injured in England’s 3-2 loss to Holland at Wembley on Wednesday. They will also be without striker Michael Owen, defender Nemanja Vidic, goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, and midfielder Darren Fletcher, while Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley will have to pass late fitness tests. However, Wayne Rooney, who missed United’s last two matches and the England game with a throat infection is expected to play.
Tottenham has won 10 of their 13 home games so far this season and United is the best road team in the EPL. Spurs have won two, lost two and drawn once in their last five games while United has won four and drawn one. Emmanuel Adebayor leads the Spurs attack with 11 league goals while Rooney tops United with 17.
This is a crucial match for both teams, but United seems to be in better form at the moment and should do enough to come away with all three points.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Spurs win at 19/10 with a United victory at 6/4 and a draw at 21/10.