Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Old Trafford, Manchester
Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 – 5.30pm kick-off
Live on BT Sport
Manchester United and Tottenham’s first match of 2014 comes against each other on New Year’s Day, as the north Londoners travel to Old Trafford with both sides on 34 points.
Both sides have been under scrutiny this season after questionable starts to the campaign, with a run of positive results in early 2014 needed for either to potentially reach their respective ambitions this term.
United’s home form has been one of the main concerns of the David Moyes reign, with the likes of West Brom, Everton and Newcastle all coming to Old Trafford and leaving with a rare three points.
It is believed that the Premier League champions will be one of the more active Premier League clubs during the January transfer window, and as such some of the starting XI here will be playing for their long-term place in the side.
United have won their last four Premier League games and are within eight points of league leaders Arsenal.
Robin van Persie will miss the clash with injury, but hopes that Wayne Rooney will make a return will be confirmed or dashed closer to kick off. Danny Welbeck has been in good goalscoring form of late, netting four goals in four Premier League games in Van Persie’s absence, including the winner against Norwich last time out.
The first meeting of these sides at White Hart Lane earlier in the season ended in a 2-2 draw, with Rooney netting twice to neutralise goals from Kyle Walker and Sandro.
Spurs recorded their first victory at Old Trafford for 23 years last season, with a 3-2 win ending the side’s hoodoo in Manchester. The north London side’s form away from White Hart Lane this term has been excellent, with six wins from nine games on the road.
With Andre Villas-Boas shown the door after the team’s 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, Tim Sherwood has taken over and has amassed seven points from his first three games, but this will be a real test for the new manager.
The midfield battle could well be a key area that will decide the outcome of the game, with the likes of Paulinho (if fit) and Mousa Dembele eager to get one up on their much-maligned United opposite numbers.
Spurs have resorted to a 4-4-2 formation under Sherwood, and it will be interesting to see if both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado take to the Old Trafford pitch, or whether Sherwood’s tactics become more conservative.
This fixture traditionally has a lot of goals in it, and both teams will be keen to start their 2014 with a positive result – which could well be the catalyst for the form needed to salvage the victors’ season.
The match is live on BT Sport in the UK. As well as showing exclusively live Premier League games, BT Sport also offer action from Europe’s top leagues including the Bundesliga and Serie A. For details in how to sign up for BT Sport, click here.