Date:Saturday August 25 2007
Saying that his game is a must-win is an understatement: the games at City and at Pompey were must-wins, too, yet we failed to take three points from them. Now it's urgent, vital, imperative. We just can't drop more points, especially that Liverpool have won again and Chelsea will surely overwhelm Portsmouth.
The derby defeat was as hurtful as possible, especially the manner of it but we must now bounce back. I'm clinging to one hope: our bad luck has to change sooner or later. The last three games were frustratingly similar: the opponent not even attempting to play football but park the bus. United control the game but fail to score and the opponent either find one out of the blue or hold us to a 0-0 draw. Sooner or later we are due to beat someone heavily if we continue to create chances at this rate.
Spurs haven't enjoyed the best of starts but the 4-0 thumping of Derby will give them a real confidence boost - as the absence of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. The return of Saha, however, offers more possibilites up front, as well as the inclusion of Anderson. I'm optimistic as I have little else to do now...
We can't fall further behind but our football has been pretty good and that gives me hope.
Sir Alex Ferguson is in an optimist mood ahead of the game.
'We will win the game on Sunday,' he said. 'Our performance level will win the game for us. There is no question Tottenham will come here with a great determination to help their manager. But with the ability in this team, I know the results we have been having will not carry on for long.'
I guess Spurs fans would have been happier if we had won our first three games - for I reckon Sir Alex is right: results will come for a team of such ability.
Paul Robinson was England's weakest link in the midweek friendly against Germany but is confident ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
'The Spurs players are buoyant [after last weekend's 4-0 win over Derby County],' Robinson told TottenhamHotspur.com. 'We're all looking forward to the game and we're determined to get another positive result.
'United are strong and it will be tough, as it always is at Old Trafford. We'll be going there in good spirits after the Derby result and we're looking to put in a performance and pick up some points.'
Of course I don't expect him to commit such blunders again. Unreliable, error-prone keepers usually transform into unbeatable heroes whenever they step onto the Old Trafford turf. We must brace ourselves for a Robinson in magnificent form, however unlikely that may sound.
Louis Saha is set for a bench role after completing training without problem this week. Anderson, recovering from a hamstring strain is also available. Gary Neville picked up another injury which will keep him out for a further two weeks but Edwin van der Sar is fit to start, as is Owen Hargreaves who has shrugged of his tendonitis problem that had kept him out of England's friendly against Germany.
He scored in both games against Spurs last season so let's hope he'll continue his good form against them.
Tottenham are troubled by injuries: Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Kaboul, King and Lennon are all out which means that their defence in particular will be pretty makeshift and that can prove their downfall at Old Trafford. Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent are both doubtful while Gareth Bale, once United's target, could make his debut.
Let's see if we made a bad decision not to sign him!
Spurs have never won at Old Trafford in the Premier League; we haven't lost back-to-back games in the league for ages (84 games if you want to know); we never had fewer than four points after four games of the Premiership campaign; Spurs won only one game against members of the big four since Jol took over - all the omens point to a United victory. But I do not trust stats...
We will make advantage of Tottenham's weakened defence and win 3-1.
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Date:Saturday August 25 2007
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