Looking Forward



Premier League

Wednesday 6th March 2002

The reality that Manchester United are just as potent as they used to be has taken a few knocks this season, but the recent run that they have put together means that the Premiership title is still theirs for the taking.  The slip up against Derby County on Saturday means that they are human like everyone else.

With an appalling record at Old Trafford over the last fifteen years or so, Tottenham go there with hope, but little else.  Including a number of fit players, as the injury curse has reared it's ugly head again.  With many first teamers out, there might be an unusual look to the side on Wednesday.  However, there are enough fit players who play regularly to put up a decent showing against United.

It probably won't resemble the 3-5 earlier this season, but the fixture has always been a good one over the years.

Man U look likely to recall Roy Keane and Laurent Blanc to the side and Diego Forlan might get his first start for them.  This will be tough for Tottenham, as he will want to impress in place of the free-scoring van Nistelrooy.  However, Deano should be big enough to hold him off, but he is quick and Ledley will need to provide cover if required.

Scholes might drop out for Keane, which means there will also be a little less firepower from midfield, but it can come from anywhere on the United side.

Realistically, the best Spurs could hope for is a draw.  With the game against Chelsea at the weekend signalling our best chance to win something, Hoddle will not be taking too many chances with the players who will be needed then.  Let's hope that any chances that do come along are taken by the players who are out on the pitch !!

No joy at what is not a happy hunting ground ...

PREDICTION : -  Manchester United  3  Tottenham 1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.



Manchester United  4   Tottenham  0                 (Half time score: 2-0)
Wednesday 6th March 2002
Venue :  Old Trafford
Kick Off : 8.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Windy
Crowd : -   67,599
Referee : -   Mr. M. Riley (Leeds)

Scorers : -   Manchester United  -   Beckham 16, 63, van Nistelrooy (pen) 41, 76
                  Tottenham  -  None


Manchester United :  Keane (foul) 29, Scholes (foul) 43

Tottenham :   Tarrico (foul) 41, Poyet (dissent) 41, Sherwood (foul) 65, Ziege (foul) 70


Manchester United :  Barthez; G. Neville (P. Neville 68), Blanc, Johnsen, Silvestre; Beckham, Veron (Fortune 70), Scholes (Butt 70), Keane; Forlan, van Nistelrooy
Unused Subs : -  Carroll, Giggs

Tottenham : Sullivan; Richards, King, Thatcher; Taricco, Sherwood, Poyet (Perry 66), Davies, Ziege (Etherington 85); Sheringham, Rebrov (Ferdinand 45)
Unused Subs : - Keller, Gardner


Manchester United  :  Red shirts, white shorts, black socks

Tottenham :  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks

Before we went to Man U, I thought we might not come home with anything, but I felt gutted by the injustice we had suffered.

I'm not saying we would have won, but the dismissal and penalty just before half-time was just plain unfair.  The red card is perhaps more understandable, as Treacle has a bit of previous, but the penalty that never was, actually came to be.  Van Nistelrooy stuck it away comfortably and I am not surprised he has 30 goals for the club already, as he is a class act and with penalties like this, they must be worth another 10 goals a season to him.  His second was very well taken though.

It had all started so well ... Davies, Teddy and Poyet all had shots, but there was little menace in their efforts.  Still taking the game to United was a refreshing attitude.  It all fell apart when Man U had their first meaningful attack, which saw Beckham cut in from the right to bury the ball low into the corner of the net as Richards came across Sullivan's line of sight.  It was slightly harsh on Spurs, as both teams struggled with the blustery conditions to play anything like some decent football.

Sullivan saved well from Roy Keane and then came the penalty incident as Scholes broke forward through the middle of the Spurs defence, but was pulled back by Taricco.  Adjudged the last man, although the ball was going into an area policed by King, he was shown the red card and the penalty was dispatched.

At 0-2 and down to ten men, Spurs were going to be up against it in the second half.  Les soon came on for Sergei, who had got little joy upfront, virtually on his own.  Within a minute, he had a chance when his volley hit the top of the stand.  A missed chance in more ways than one, as after this the home side pressed forward looking for more goals.

One came when Forlan broke down the left and left Richards in his wake.  His low ball in to van Nistelrooy was controlled and he rolled it square for Beckham to hit a rising shot past Sullivan.  The goal had opened Spurs up, and despite a Sheringham effort that went wide, it was the Uruguayan on his debut for United who set the tone for the rest of the game.

He had chance on chance, but missed them all, making Les look clinical in comparison.  His profligacy was a godsend for Tottenham, as that, and Sully's sound keeping, kept the score down to a respectable level.  The last breach of the defence came when van Nistelrooy took an eternity to score past three defenders and the keeper, but it was a cool and skillful piece of finishing, that left Spurs down and out.

Hoddle reckoned that the sending off turned the game.  I reckon that it was a hard one to win and the decision made it even harder.  No, not harder, impossible.  It appears that Mr. Riley is making it a habit to send off Spurs players, after getting Teddy dismissed in the Ipswich game before Christmas.  Let's hope we have seen the last of him this season.  I know I'm glad to have seen the last of Manchester United.


Pete Stachio




What chance do you stand at Old Trafford ?  It's just like Anfield in the Eighties, with refs persuaded by the threatening noise from the crowd.  In this case the incessant munching of prawn sandwiches obviously was driving Mr. Riley's assistant mad, as that is the only reason that he could have awarded a penalty for a tug outside the box.  In fact, had it been a nautical tug, I doubt if the official would have made a better decision, as even Fergie saw it and Beckham added he was ready to take a free-kick when the ref pointed to the spot.  Probably just as well it was the penalty then, as he would certainly have buried the dead ball he was hoping for.


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