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Tottenham V Man Utd at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
Published : 04 Mar 2012 11:36:43Rss feed
Redknapp eyes United scalp
Harry Redknapp believes Tottenham have a better chance than ever of ending their 11-year wait for a victory against Manchester United in Sunday's clash at White Hart Lane. By this stage of the season Tottenham usually find themselves well behind United in the Barclays Premier League table, but this year the Londoners are enjoying arguably their most successful campaign since 1961. Redknapp's men welcome United to north London knowing victory will reduce the gap between them and the champions to just five points with 11 games of the season remaining. The omens do not look good for Redknapp's team, however. Tottenham collapsed to a dismal 5-2 defeat at Arsenal last weekend and the last time they beat United was in 2001 when a brace from Willem Korsten and strike from Les Ferdinand gave the Londoners a 3-1 win. But having stood toe-to-toe with United for most of the season, Redknapp is confident of ending the club's winless streak against the Red Devils. "It is the best equipped team to win since 2001,"
Redknapp said. "It will be difficult. Manchester United are still a great team so you know what you are in for. "We will have to be at our very best if we are going to get a result from the game but we have a good chance. "They are a top team but so are we. It should be a great game." Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs were on the pitch the last time United lost to Spurs, who were then managed by Glenn Hoddle. The veteran duo may have lost a bit of their pace since then, but Redknapp is still a big fan of both players. "It's fantastic to see them playing," the 65-year-old said. "They are just amazing players and they are a great credit to their profession. "Scholes has come back out of retirement this year and he is still pulling all the strings and Giggs is just an amazing player "To have two players like that still in the game is fantastic. "They have been great role models in football for young players to look at - the way they train, and the fitness levels they have maintained - it has just been amazing."
Spurs have been boosted by the gradual return to fitness of Rafael van der Vaart, who looks set to start despite being restricted to a substitute appearance against Arsenal due to a calf problem, while Ledley King and Kyle Walker should also be fit. One man they will be without is influential midfielder Scott Parker after his sending off against Arsenal last weekend. Michael Carrick accepts United's impressive record against their hosts will count for little when champions put their title credentials on the line at White Hart Lane.
It is only recent defeats at Manchester City and Arsenal that have ended Tottenham's realistic chances of finishing top, and Carrick does not feel that alone will take away the home side's hunger for victory. "Over the years there have been some classic games between the two teams," said the 30-year-old midfielder. "It is two teams that play good football and try to play the right way. "They have played some terrific football this season, especially at home where they have been flying. "We have a decent record down there, although it won't count for much this weekend. "Losing at Arsenal was a big blow to them but they will be looking to get back on track."
Carrick does not believe the loss of newly-crowned England skipper Parker to suspension will have any major effect on Spurs' challenge to their title-chasing rivals this weekend. "Losing Scott will be a blow because he has been a big part of their game this season," said Carrick. "But they have a good enough squad to accommodate that. I don't see it as hugely weakening them. "Look at Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor and Louis as well. The way he has settled in so quickly and started scoring goals has been excellent and we all know here what a big threat he can be. "Throughout the width of the pitch they have attacking threats as well as being good defensively. "The balance of the team is really good and it shows in their results."
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