Global Sports : Man United V Tottenham Preview

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Manchester United welcome Tottenham to Old Trafford on Sunday, hoping to give their hopes of a top-four finish a boost with a much-needed three points.
Monday’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Arsenal and former fan favourite Danny Welbeck means that Louis van Gaal’s men are free to concentrate on their league commitments, with a top-four finish of paramount importance.
United don’t have a great recent record against Spurs, but with Wayne Rooney back amongst the goals, anything other than victory on Sunday will be viewed as a huge blow to their Champions League qualification hopes.
Spurs have top-four ambitions of their own, and after their Capital One Cup final defeat and exit from Europe, Mauricio Pochettino’s men can also concentrate on finishing in the top four.
Victory at Old Trafford would be Spurs’ third win in a row on a ground United are not used to tasting defeat on, but more importantly, three points on Sunday would see Spurs move level on points with the Red Devils, and blow the top four race wide open.
Team news
Robin van Persie is Manchester United’s only confirmed injury absentee after he sustained an ankle injury in the defeat at Swansea last month.
Marcos Rojo is a minor doubt due to a knock picked up in the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal on Monday night while Jonny Evans and Angel Di Maria miss out due to suspension.
Pochettino has a fully-fit Spurs squad to choose from and was able to give his squad a two-day break in the lead up to the game at Old Trafford.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue will be hoping to be included in some capacity having not been involved in a matchday squad since January.
Opta facts
Following a run of 17 wins and no defeats in 22 Premier League matches against Tottenham, Manchester United have won none of the last five meetings (D3 L2).
Spurs are only the third team in the Premier League era to go five league games unbeaten against the Red Devils, after Liverpool (2000-2002) and Blackburn Rovers (2004-2006).
Similarly, after 26 games without defeat at home to Spurs in all competitions, having won the previous nine in a row, Man Utd have lost their last two home games against Tottenham.
Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League starts against Spurs.
Harry Kane has scored in his last six Premier League away games; only one player in the competition’s history (Robin van Persie, nine in a row) has scored in seven consecutive away games.
Merson’s prediction
I think Tottenham could win this but I’m going to go for a 2-2 draw. I say that because Manchester United can’t keep doing what they’re doing, surely? Will Tottenham go there with the confidence of opening up? For how poor they’ve been, it’s still Man Utd, so they need to be careful. If Man Utd lose this match then they can say goodbye to their top four chances – they have got some tough games to come. Louis van Gaal doesn’t know his best eleven yet and Man Utd don’t know who their best manager is. I don’t think they can say confidently ‘he’s the man’ – not after what I’ve been watching the last seven months. Harry Kane will cause them havoc.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2
Betting
Manchester United are 17/20 to bounce back from their FA Cup exit with a home win over top-four rivals Tottenham. Spurs are 3/1 for a third Old Trafford win in a row, while they can preserve their unbeaten run against United with a draw at 11/4. Despite their unconvincing form, United remain in a good position to finish in the Champions League spots, and Sky Bet go 10/11 that they oblige, with Tottenham considered 11/2 shots to finish in the top four. Wayne Rooney heads the first goal market at 9/2, while Harry Kane is 7/4 to score for a seventh away league game running.

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