Premier League match time dawns at Old Trafford as Manchester United clash with Tottenham on Monday, August 22.
While champions United began their Premiership campaign with a 2-1 win, away at West Brom, Tottenham will be playing their first game, their opening match with Everton scheduled for August 13 having been postponed owing to damage done to the local area during the London riots.
Manchester United’s victory at The Hawthorns came at the cost of injuries to Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand whose appearance in the Tottenham game will hinge on a reassessment of their match fitness. Both players walked off in the second half, Vidic with a calf injury, and Ferdinand with a hamstring strain.
Another worry for Sir Alex Ferguson must be the poor showing of David De Gea, between the posts. With the departure of Van der Sar, Manchester United have lost a vital cog of recent years, and if the young Spaniard De Gea was expected to fill the Dutchman’s boots with any degree of conviction, De Gea’s nervous debut against West Brom did nothing to support that expectation.
In fact, it was a judgement error from De Gea that brought West Brom back into the game via a 37th minute equaliser from Long, after a Rooney strike put the Red Devils ahead on 13 minutes. United’s win hinged on an own goal from Reid with 10 minutes of regulation time left.
For United, the brightest memory from the West Brom game would have been the brilliant performance of Ashley Young. Apart from the assist to Rooney that gave Ferguson’s wards their first goal, it was Young’s effort that Reid deflected into his own goal to give Manchester United their winner.
The last time these teams met was at White Hart Lane in January, earlier this year. That match ended in a goalless draw, in a tale of missed opportunities for both sides.
The United attack appears to have got into an early groove following their come-from-behind win in the Community Shield encounter with Manchester City. The champions are always formidable opponents, playing before home fans, at Old Trafford. More than anything else, Monday’s match could be a test of resolve, for Tottenham’s back-line.
And while Manchester United must be considered favourites to retain their crown, it will be interesting to see how they contend with the challenge posted by a top six club, early in the season.
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