Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tottenham CAN Win at Old Trafford

Lineker Scorer at OT
Right, let's get the horrific statistics which commentators just love to bombard us with out of the way.  Spurs haven't beaten Manchester United in the Premier League and are on a winless run of twenty League games, twenty four if you include Cup games.  The last time Tottenham won at Old Trafford was in December, 1989 so for the last twenty one seasons they have failed to win at Old Trafford.  On only only four occasions have Spurs returned with a point - the last goal to count for anything for Spurs at Old Trafford was a Jermaine Jenas strike in October, 2005.  Looking at the overall record of League visits to Manchester to play United, Spurs have won on only ten occasions with fourteen draws from 74 games.

There's no way to put it but Spurs' record against United is atrocious and getting worse, not helped by some dubious refereeing decisions, disallowed goals and questionable penalties given against them.

However, Tottenham Hotspur can win at Old Trafford - they've done it before.

16th December, 1989
Gary Lineker gave Spurs supporters an early Christmas present with the only goal of the game.
Team: Mimms; Thomas, M., Howells, Mabbutt, Van den Hauwe; Allen, P., Samways, Gascoigne, Sedgley; Stewart, Lineker.

This followed an impressive 3 - 0 success over United in the Littlewoods Cup the previous October, when Lineker, Vinny Samways and Nayim scored.  How times have changed - that season Spurs finished third while United lanquished in mid-table mediocrity of thirteenth.

4th September, 1976
Spurs were relegated at the end of this Keith Burkinshaw's first season as manager and there was little for supporters to cheer in the early part of the season.  They had one point from their opening three games - a dull scoreless draw at home to Middlesbrough prior to visiting Old Trafford.  Their first win of the season came courtesy of goals from Ralph Coates, John Pratt and Ian Moores.  The star was Barry Daines who had an outstanding game in place of Pat Jennings and that started media speculation about how long could Spurs keep their young reserve goalkeeper happy when he was second choice to Jennings.

23rd March, 1974
Ralph Coates scored the only goal which enabled Spurs to complete the 'double' over United who were relegated at the end of the season.

28th October, 1972
A memorable day for Spurs and Martin Peters.  He scored the four goals at Old Trafford which gave Spurs a 4 - 1 success.  Playing on the right side of midfield in place of Alan Gilzean, Peters commented after the game that he was simply in the right place at the right time - four times.  United finished 18th in the League and Bobby Charlton who had scored their goal that day was their leading scorer in season 1972 - 73 with six goals, retired after a distinguished career.

Between 1963 and 1971 United won nine home games in a row against Spurs.

9th March, 1963
Frank Saul and Cliff Jones scored Spurs' two goals without reply.

Even the 'Double' winning team failed to carry their success to Old Trafford but three seasons earlier  Spurs enjoyed a resounding victory.  

12th September, 1959
Dave Mackay, Tommy Harmer, Bobby Smith (2), Dunmore scored the goals in a 5 - 1 victory

21st August, 2011
Can this date be added to the select list?
Spurs have enjoyed success at Old Trafford and on occasions it has been in the most unlikely of circumstances.  At other times it has been a resounding success so there is no reason why a team which includes players with the pace and skill of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, the guile of Rafael Van der Vaart and the goal scoring inclination of Jermain Defoe can not bring back three points tomorrow evening.  It needs teamwork, concentration and endeavour to deny United and to put them under pressure.  

There have been times in recent years when success against United at home and away has been so close but slipped away at the last moment.  Spurs demons have been allayed in the recent past - defeating Chelsea, winning against Arsenal and at the Emirates and defeating Liverpool at Anfield.  This team has managed to break down those barriers so now it's time to knock over another one and secure a win at Old Trafford to get the season off to the best possible start.


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