Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that getting past Spurs on Sunday unscathed could take us a huge way towards retaining our title and he could be right.
Our league fixtures ease up considerably in the next few weeks in comparison with previous games that have seen us take on Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. And with tie against City in April in mind we need to go into that game within touching distance.
But this is all easier said than done.
Spurs, despite their 5-2 humbling last week against rivals Arsenal, have been an exceptionally impressive side this season, with Sir Alex hailing them as the team playing the best football in the league up until the last 3 weeks.
They have managed to turn White Hart Lane into something of a fortress as well have failed to concede more than one goal and losing there just once, with Man City inflicting both of these wounds back in August.
Scott Parker will be a huge miss for them in the middle of the park where they would have looked to him to shackle Paul Scholes but they will look to pose their own problems especially down the flanks using Walker and Bale to devastating effect (if they are fit, like Harry Redknapp hopes). Upfront Emmanuel Adebayor will look to do both of his employers, Man City and Tottenham, a favour by hitting his 12th and more goals of the season.
The former Arsenal striker is just as deadly when creating for others too and with his partner Louis Saha in exceptional form, United should be aware. Sir Alex has already stated that he is wary of the threat that the former United striker poses as Saha is already 3 goals to the good in his spell as a Spurs player, so United will need to be on their toes.
Despite being at home, Spurs will be very worried by the threat of United. With Wayne Rooney back he will be chomping at the bit to get into the mix. He will be looking to cause havoc in that space between the defence and midfield and with Parker out he may very well enjoy his time back.
United’s back 5 pretty much picks it’s self at this stage with De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans and Evra tasked with keeping Spurs at bay. It is in midfield that things get interesting and Sir Alex’s selection will signal our intentions.
Nani, Scholes and Carrick are expected if we go for a midfield 4 but on the left will Sir Alex select Ashley Young in an attempt to take the game to them or go with the safer option of Giggs who can tuck into the middle if things get stick in there?
Last season, Luka Modric ran the show both offensively and defensively in the center of the pitch and United will need to keep him quiet to enjoy success so Giggs could prove the right option.
Speaking of last season’s game it could provide the blueprint for the game as United were held by their hosts. This was not an anomaly either as the points have been shared in 3 of our last 4 visits to the Lane, the outstanding fixture an impressive come from behind 3-1 win back in 2009.
“It’s going to be a massive game [at Spurs], if we can survive that one, then we’ll have a big chance of winning the league.” Sir Alex said earlier in the week and all signs point to United doing just that but at this stage in the season is that enough?
3 points would be preferable to 1 but this will take a massive effort from United and the hope that Spurs suffer some sort of hangover from the humbling at the Emirates, all very possible.