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Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United – Predicted starting XI

by Tom Newbold

This is likely to be Manchester United’s most taxing fixture since the game against Manchester City and the Reds will be looking to banish the memory of a loss at Old Trafford in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season. Tottenham Hotspur has become a consistent side under Andre Villas-Boas and will certainly be a threat.


David de Gea – Anders Lindegaard returned for the FA Cup game in midweek after a month-long hiatus but de Gea is clearly the number one choice at the moment and will be favourite to start in goal on Sunday.

Rafael – Rafael da Silva is having his best season at the club but faces a tough test against the perilous Gareth Bale. Rafael has won battles with the Welshman before, and will be trusted to do the same on Sunday.

Rio Ferdinand – After over ten years at the club, Ferdinand is still one of the first names of the team sheet. He was superb against Liverpool last week, and will need to be on top of his game to nullify Jermain Defoe on Sunday.

Nemanja Vidic – Jonny Evans is still out injured, so providing Vidic is fit enough to play he will be the likely partner for Rio Ferdinand.

Patrice Evra – Evra, like Rafael, will need to be fully focused to prevent Tottenham’s focal wing play.

Antonio Valencia – Despite a full compliment of wide players now available, none are particularly excelling at the moment. Valencia will probably start on the right side as a credit to his defensive duties in helping deal with Tottenham’s wide players.

Michael Carrick – Carrick was praised as having his ‘best season’ at the club this week by Sir Alex Ferguson. The Englishman has certainly played a pivotal role in United’s wins this season, and will need to be on top of his game against Tottenham.

Tom Cleverley – Cleverley’s energy and directness should give the United midfield a presence to help counteract the Tottenham strength in that area of the field.

Ashley Young – More in form than other United wingers, Young will be favourite to start on the left-side. His work-rate will be key in preventing Kyle Walker getting forward to good effect.

Wayne Rooney – A full 90 minutes in midweek will have boosted Rooney on his return to fitness. Excellent performances against Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City already this season set the tone for Rooney to perform well again on Sunday.

Robin van Persie – One excellent factor of Robin van Persie’s play this season has been his goal scoring rate in ‘big’ matches, something he will look to continue against Tottenham.


A variation on 4-4-2 will invariably be the formation of choice on Sunday as has often been the case in the Premier League this season. It is the forward areas which are subject to variation, but in this game Michael Carrick is likely to sit deeper than the energetic Tom Cleverley as both players do their best to deal with Tottenham’s strong central threat.

The likely reunion of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie up front is something to look forward to. It will be interesting to see how deep Rooney is deployed, and whether in fact the Englishman sits back to add numbers to the midfield. A number 10 role is most likely for Rooney however, with van Persie just in front.

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