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Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United

Berbatov returns to his old club Spurs

Manchester United face a difficult trip to White Hart Lane this weekend looking to maintain their Premier League lead.

United come off the back of a relatively solid 1-0 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup. Victories over Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League also mean that Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side will be high on form and chomping at the bit to add another three points to their tally.

Javier Hernandez could find himself very unlucky if Ferguson decides to pick Wayne Rooney to play in this game. Rooney should be fit to play by Sunday and if the opponents were any other team than Spurs the decision would be a formality. Hernandez continues to show that he will grab every opportunity he gets.

However, Spurs is not an easy club to visit and not an easy team to play. This means Ferguson could opt for a 4-5-1 formation that would see a big striker e.g. Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov leading the attack alone. This would free up an extra man to play in the middle who could be used to mark an influential Spurs figure out of the game.

There are one or two slight injury worries for United at the back of the team. Edwin Van Der Saar is touch and go to take part in the game and club captain Nemanja Vidic may also miss out. Paul Scholes is still battling to regain full match fitness and there is an outside chance the midfield maestro could make the bench.

Park Ji-Sung continues to represent South Korea in the Asian Cup and may not take part in a United game until some time after February. Antonio Valencia is still in the treatment room working on his recovery from a broken and dislocated ankle. Owen Hargreaves will also be missed with troublesome knee and hamstring problems that have threatened to end his career early.

Park’s absence from the side should not be a problem as Nani has now recovered from a hip injury that kept him out of the team. This leaves Ferguson with the simple problem of who will play on the other wing. The United boss may ant to give Ryan Giggs a rest because the veteran has played a lot of games over recent weeks. However, Giggs’ experience and the side United are playing could force Ferguson’s hand.

There is also a question over the midfield pairing if United go with a 4-4-2 for this game. Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick played well against Liverpool but there was a distinct lack of creativity from the side. This could mean Anderson coming in for either one of them. If Ferguson goes for a five man midfield then there is no reason why all three cannot play.

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