Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur. With United in third position in the league and Spurs only two points behind, this is a really important match. United are going into the game with three consecutive wins, beating Bursaspur and Wolves at Old Trafford and defeating Stoke with a late winner at the Stadium of Light. Spurs have also played well recently, beating Aston Villa and Fulham, but losing to Inter Milan and drawing at home against Everton.
So what should we expect? I think that there will be an open game with lots of chances. Both teams need to win and that will reflect the game. I neither think nor hope that it will be a closed game with only one goal. I think it’s time for United to show their exciting offensive side, cause it has been a while since last time.
What goes on in Ferguson’s mind right now then? How should they win the game? I don’t know what he is thinking, but I do know one thing he should think a lot about: Tottenham’s crosses. Spurs crosses often, aiming at Crouch who is supposed to head it down to summer signing Van der Vaart who should put the ball in the net. That tactic has worked well this far and United must find a way to stop it. I don’t know how United will act in those crossing situations, but I do know how I would like them to act. When Tottenham crosses towards Crouch the crosses are very high so that defenders shouldn’t be able to clear it. Crouch wins almost every duel in the air, but with those high crosses it’s hard to score on the header unless it’s coming from just outside the goal. What Spurs are trying to do is that Crouch should head it down to one of his teammates, often Van der Vaart. Therefore it is very important to take away the other players in the box so that Crouch has no one to aim the header at . It’s not that important that the defender wins the duel against Crouch if he is not close to goal. I’ve also seen teams who use two defenders against Crouch. I wouldn’t recommend this, because Crouch wins the air duels anyway and then two defenders are out of the way for Van der Vaart and the rest. So my tips:
- Use ONE player to disturb Crouch in the air.
- The rest should take away one Spurs player each.
Then to how United will play. I would like to see both Hernandez and Berbatov up front, but I think Ferguson while line up his team like this:
- Van der Sar
- O’Shea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra
- Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher
- Hernandez, Nani
The two most important players in the offensive will probably be Hernandez and Berbatov. In the beinning of the season I thought that Hernadez didn’t play so well and that he wouldn’t contribute much this season, but hopefully next season. Boy, was I wrong?! Hernandez has been terrific in the last games. He has scored more than anyone expected and he has become a key player for United at the moment. Berbatov on the other hand, has lost his great form. It feels like he was satisfied after his hat-trick against Liverpool and after that he hasn’t been that good. Of course the expectations are very high on him, but I still think he could have done better. In the beginning of the season he looked like enjoying the game. He worked hard, helped his teammates and contributed in more areas than the goals. Now it looks like he thinks that scoring three goals against Liverpool is enough and he doesn’t need to do more than that. Time to step up Berbatob, and what better oppurtunity than doing it against your old club. Show me I’m wrong and show everyone that you’re still in good form!
That was pretty much everything for now. I hope you are all able to watch the game this afternoon and I hope we can grab the tree points. Se ya!