Nov 30

Trip to Spurs a great chance for United

Tag: Match Preview @ 12:01 pm

tot-mun“We can’t afford to lose,” says Patrice Evra ahead of Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane and few would disagree with the United left-back, for this weekend’s clash against Tottenham could be a watershed moment as far as David Moyes’ first season at the club is concerned.

Having beaten Arsenal, United failed to pick up any significant momentum and slumped to a dreadful draw at Cardiff last week, an infuriating result not only because the Reds conceded a late equaliser for the third time this season after letting in late goals against Shakthar and Southampton, but also because it came on the back on a terribly insipid performance.

On the basis of last Sunday’s display, a trip to free spending Tottenham Hotspur is the last thing United thing in this rollercoaster of a season, but Spurs are hardly enjoying a vintage season themselves, with Andre’ Villas-Boas increasingly under pressure for a lack of results and a brand of football that many in N17 consider boring.

Having parted ways with Gareth Bale in the summer, the Portuguese manager spent over £100m on Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Paulinho – plus a couple of other signings – but, so far at least, Spurs have been crippled by a chronic inability to convert their possession into goals and have the worst goal return of any of the top 12 teams in the Premier League.

Spurs’ splendid defensive record came to an abrupt end last Sunday when they succumbed 6-0 away to Manchester City (don’t worry lads, we know what it feels like to be on the receiving hand of a shellacking at the Etihad) but, despite all their problems, the North Londoners are just four points behind second placed Chelsea and one behind United.

Following Wednesday’s 5-0 thumping of Bayer Leverkusen, the Reds travel to down to London – accompanied by an even smaller number of fans than a year ago, giving Spurs’ ridiculous insistence on cutting the allocation for away fans – hoping to heap pressure on AVB and to extend their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competition.

With Nemanja Vidic and Robin Van Persie still in doubt given their injuries, David Moyes could opt for a very similar formation to the one he fielded in the Champions League, albeit with one between Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley expected to replace Ryan Giggs in the middle of the park, given that it’d be foolish to expect a 40-year-old man to play twice in four days.

For the first time in a couple of seasons, United’s first thought as they travel to White Hart Lane  - where they’re unbeaten in the last visits – won’t be to stop Gareth Bale and, with the Welshman now gone, one can only hope decides to set his team out further up the pitch than Fergie did during his last trips to North London, when the Reds seemed happy to soak up pressure for 90 minutes, sitting dangerously on the edge of their box.

United, however, will have to be wary of Andros Townsend, with the England winger likely to cause Patrice Evra problems, particularly if the Frenchman continues to switch off defensively as he did last Sunday against Cardiff. In truth, Townsend has shown to be rather mono-dimensional after his England debut and were United to force him inside, they will have gone a long way in neutralising him.

Having beaten the league leaders and having secured his first win away from home in the Champions League, it’s time for Moyes to beat a big team away in the Premier League.

Dan


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Tags: Match Preview

7 Responses to “Trip to Spurs a great chance for United”

  • Tottenham v MUFC…..

    The focus with this match is usually on quality of performance and lots of goals but unusually, this weekend’s game, the focus will not be on 22 players but on 2 managers.
    One, out of his depth and failing to produce quality silky football and a winning mentality and the other, out of his depth and failing to produce quality silky football and a winning mentality.

    AVB has spent big, as Dan has pointed out in his piece.
    Questions are being asked why the purchased ‘superstars’ have so far failed to deliver…. but my question would be, and this is a veiled dig at MUFC…

    ‘What did Tottenham achieve that MUFC didn’t and still have £100million to spend’?

    Richest club in the world!….. my a**

    Macca

    • @mike_macca:

      Umm….macca, i don’t remember anybody offering a 100 million for any player in our squad…

      and the last time we were offered crazy money for a player….we did exactly what Tottenham did…we sold him.

      And how is selling a player something to ‘achieve’ (for a club like ours) unless you actually developed him?

  • ‘Ramsey scores his second goal against Cardiff and shows no emotion whatsoever’ a BBC reporter tells us.

    What is this boll** of not celebrating a goal and passing it off as ‘loyalty’ to an ex-team or city of birth or whatever…..

    It’s BS…….. and it’s BS right up there with “There’s no greater pride than pulling on the jersey of your country”…
    Players who say that should donate their fee to charity or better still…

    If you play for your country you play for that pride…….. and there is NO FEE

    Macca

    P/s….. Hard luck Arsenal… 2-2 against Cardiff. Tough team to beat….. Wait a sec…. DM are you watching?

  • think we should sacrifice playing wingers and play jones, fellani and cleverly in the midfield since Carrick is injured. Play Welbeck up top if RvP is injured and give Kagawa and Rooney free roles. Play Valencia as a right back as well and get width from both your full backs on the counter. Defensive setup, i know, but concerned that without Carrick, if we play two in the middle we will be dissected and overrun by Spurs midfield. Thoughts?

  • I think we can all conclude with a unanimous vote that Moyes’ “safe” tacticd are not safe at all. His insistence on making United a safety guaranteed football team has backfired significantly. Our very best players are attack minded and sometimes coaches fail to take this into consideration when they adopt their functional methods. Mourinho’s best Chelsea team was made up of highly clinical players with very functional attributes. Makelele,Essien,Lampard,Drogba,Kalou,Crespo,Ballack, Duff. Very few “silky” players with the distinct exception of Robben. They can all graft and use precision to win games. Key words being functionality and efficiency. Of course world class ability gets you over the line too. Same thing with Inter. Cambiasso,Zanetti,Milito. The likes of Eto’o and Sneidjer provided a bit of flair but were the exception to the rule. This is why he struggled initially at Real Madrid. The players at his disposal were all flair players. Di Maria,Ozil.Ronaldo,Benzema,Marcelo. I remember his first Nou Camp,experience they got hammered,5-0 in a devastating perfomance. His attempts to make,Real,Madrid a functional team drew serious criticism from Real legend and honorary director Di Stefano. The DNA of the club is a most important thing. Madrid is an attacking team that places a high emphasis on stylish,pacy football. To his defence Mourinho quickly learned and gave Ozil a more natural central attacking role. Even Khedira adopted attacking responsibilities to some extent.

    The point here is every clubhas an,identity and philosophy of playing football. Even if they don’t know it. Imagine Stoke City. They have gone through a number of managers but one thing remains constant. They play ugly. Bolton will probably never play anything beyond defensive. Because of this clubs often go for the kind of manager that will continue in their tried and tested methods. I have followed Juventus for a while and they have a constant thing throughout the years. They believe in highly technical midfielders and forwards.Generally highly technical players. Platini,Zidane,Deschamps,Ibrahimovic and now the likes of Pirlo. Similarly,their choice of,coaches is very similar. Mostly technocrats who believe in tactics. Lippi,Capello,Deschamps in recent years. One thing I respect about Ferguson is the fact that he respected the club’s identity and history when he came.I have only seen two,managers at United Ferguson and Moyes so I can’t be certain about Ferguson’s predecessors beyond what the internet says. But from what I have learned,Matt Busby has been the most influential. Building on the club’s ideals of using youth and moulding stars as opposed to constantly buying them off the shelf. Ferguson did this too. But he also respected United’s width based attacking football. The players he got for the job were in line with this. Quick thinking midfielders and skillful,and pacy wingers. He built on his legacy from that. One main thing about United has. always been super strikers and skillful wingers. Wise,Hughes,Law,Charlton,Ruud,Cole,Solskjaer as forwards and the likes of Giggs,Best,Kanchelskis,Ronaldo as wingers. So as a manager you need to have these things as top 3 priority. Identity,history and philosophy is very crucial. It’s the difference between success and failure.

    Moyes needs to realise like Ferguson should have post 2008 that United cannot change into some functional team whose ideal is safety and humility. Moyes should understand that Manchester United is not simply a step up from Everton but a completely different universe. If he is still stuck in the Top Six galaxy then either we should cut the connection and let him drift into oblivion. Or he needs to quickly adapt. I doubt he can. But I’m sure if he keeps at it with his safety approach we are in for a terrible time. Rooney,RvP,Kagawa,Nani,Januzaj are easily first team players but none of them is what we can describe as functional. Flair players want to play fantasy football. They are not happy with scrappy wins and draws. They are not happy with being limited and shackled. I’m not stating this as fact but just by his body language you can tell RvP seems a bit underwhelmed. Moyes’ football is just too industrial for these kind of players to enjoy

    • @Jay Wire: I believe this is the reason why Moyes is struggling to adapt. It is not the fact that he need to get to grips with the players and team. It is more a case of us needing to wait on him to get to grips with the clubs philosphy an ethos. I think that is what’s frustrating me the most. I can see he is not focussing on adapting, nor on bringing a new dimension. But rather on how he can merge our style with his to create a new identity. In principle this would be ideal, but his is boring…
      You’re right also in your previous post re Fellaini. In desperation times, he seems to like deploying Fellaini up top behind the main striker.
      It seems he has a yearning for the old “long ball” days.

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