On Saturday evening we will see the first major test for AVB’s Tottenham side as they face a trip to the Theatre of Dreams. AVB’s record against the big clubs for Chelsea was bad collecting only a win and a draw against Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham last season.
This year however Spurs have slowly started to play under AVB’s tactics and even though they haven’t won against United at Old Trafford since 1989, this weekends game will allow Spurs fans to be more optimistic than normal.
United are second in the league but haven’t really got going yet, which tells you a bit about there fire power up front, whereas Tottenham started slowly but have won there last two games. Even though United’s strongest area is there attack the main battle for this game will happen in midfield. It’ll be likely that the ageing Carrick and Scholes will start in the centre with Spurs continuing with there midfield trio of Dembele, Sandro and Sigurdsson playing further forward.
Based on the game last Sunday at Anfield United run the risk of being over run in midfield as Liverpool did with there own trio of midfielders including Voldemort lookalike Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Allen and Steve Gerrard. The main difference between this trio and Spurs will be that only Dembele and Sandro will be consistently playing in the middle with Sigurdsson occasionally coming back to collect the ball and help out defensively.
Before Shelvey’s sending off Liverpool were all over United and completed over 100 more passes in the first half, which won’t have bothered Ferguson too much as they were out to play on the counter attack. If anything this means that United could be more vulnerable in midfield against Spurs as it’ll be the London side that will be setting up for to play on the break.
Against Reading the rotation and passing between the midfield trio was excellent and Sandro’s license to roam about the pitch allowed Spurs to break Reading down with ease. By making lung busting runs from deep into the opponents half Sigurdsson was allowed more space to receive the ball and pick out the killer pass, as he did for the first goal. With a higher class of opponent on Saturday Sandro’s runs will be even more valuable as Sigurdsson will be looking to unlock a weak looking United defence who lost Vidic for 8 weeks during training.
Dembele had a wonderful game for Fulham at Old Trafford earlier in the season and it was surprising not to see United go in for him as he is exactly what they need in the middle of the park. So far for Spurs he has been wonderful and his partnership with Sandro is already making the Spurs fans ask Luka who?
Of course unlike Reading or QPR, United could be starting this weekend with Rooney, RVP and Kagawa. After some very shaky defending against QPR on Sunday AVB will be hoping that the defence is a lot tighter and Sandro will be able to drop deep in order to try and out number the United attack and help the defence pass their way up the pitch.
Scholes has been a wonderful servant to the game and has many admirers from Xavi to Zidane but his best days are gone and although he may be able to pick out a pass from 60 yards his fitness won’t be anywhere near that of Dembele and Sandro. This is where Carrick’s positioning will come in. An often under rated player, Carrick has a very intelligent footballing brain and doesn’t need to exert much energy whilst playing as he is able to anticipate exactly where the ball is going and intercept. Being able to do so on Saturday whilst off loading to Scholes to then play it up to one of the three up front will be vital if United want to get anything from this game.
If this game was at White Hart Lane I would genuinely predicting a Spurs victory but as it’s at Old Trafford and United have an incredible arsenal up front this will be a very entertaining contest. The game, I predict, will be won in the middle of the park or thanks to moment of genius from either team’s golden goose.