Manchester United-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
By TOM BENNETT
STATS European Football Writer
(AP) -- Tottenham Hotspur will have a point to prove as they welcome Premier League champions Manchester United to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham (6-2-4) were hammered 6-0 at Manchester City last weekend and failed to score a single Premier League goal in the whole of November, prompting a string of negative headlines in the build-up to this match.
Despite their recent disappointing form, Spurs remain just two points outside of the Champions League places and three points better than at this stage of last season.
A number of Spurs first-team players were left home as the squad traveled to the Arctic Circle in midweek to unconvincingly beat Tromso 2-0 in the Europa League, but Villas-Boas believes it was important to at least get back to winning ways ahead of the visit of United.
"I am very happy for the players to have bounced back from the defeat against Man City," said the Spurs manager. "Obviously the opponent we have on Sunday is the biggest that we can have. But to prepare for that game, it was important to get back to winning ways tonight.
"The players adapted to the conditions quite well. The quality of the pitch was fantastic. We came through okay with no injury worries. The conditions were tricky with the first blizzard of snow, but after that it settled down."
Manchester United (6-3-3) dropped their first points in four games with a 2-2 draw against Cardiff last weekend, leaving them just a point above Spurs in the table, but showed that they are developing some impressive form under David Moyes with a 5-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in midweek.
"I think we were due a performance like that," said United defender Chris Smalling. "For a large part of previous games we have dominated but never really killed off a team. We did it here and take a lot of confidence from that.
"Nobody is tired in the dressing room, the enthusiasm is really up and, if we can get a win on Sunday at Spurs, we can consider this a good seven days."
Tottenham are without Christian Eriksen (ankle), while Danny Rose is unlikely to feature after only just returning to training following an ankle problem. Emmanuel Adebayor missed the trip to Tromso with a groin strain, but is likely to be available. Manchester United have doubts over Robin van Persie (groin), Michael Carrick (shin), Nemanja Vidic (concussion) and Rafael (ankle).
United are unbeaten in six in the league after losing three of their first six games under Moyes. No team has scored more goals away from home than United this season (12), and only Arsenal have picked up more points on the road.
Tottenham have scored just five times in six home matches this season, ahead of only Crystal Palace. Spurs have not scored a goal in open play in the last 341 minutes of Premier League football at White Hart Lane, and have lost two of their last three home matches after dropping only one of the previous 16).
Last season saw Spurs pick up their first win over Manchester United in 22 attempts - a record that stretched back to 2001 - running out 3-2 winners at Old Trafford. Tottenham also picked up a point at White Hart Lane, with Clint Dempsey scoring the equaliser in the 93rd minute as Tottenham outshot their visitors 18-4. However, despite drawing four of the last six meetings at the Lane, the Lilywhites have not managed to beat United in north London in the last 12.
Updated November 29, 2013