Thursday, September 07, 2006

United v. Tottenham

This weekend's English Premiership fixture between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur should provide quite a thrilling soccer match. United currently sit atop the EPL table, with a perfect nine points from three games, which is good enough to be two points clear of Portsmouth, Aston Villa, and Everton, and three points clear of Chelsea, the defending League champions. Tottenham are in 14th place, with a win and two draws. However, they are not to be overlooked: their squad contains a wide variety of talented international players, including England's Paul Robinson, Aaron Lennon, and Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane of the Republic of Ireland, Edgar Davids of the Netherlands, and even Canada's own Paul Stalteri. For United, a couple of key storylines will play a role in the match. Firstly, midfielder Michael Carrick, recently signed from Tottenham, will have his first chance to face his own side, which is always an interesting fixture for a newly transfered player. Secondly, according to, Alan Smith may come in off the bench for his first first-team appearance in the seven months since he broke his leg and fractured his ankle in United's FA Cup clash with Liverpool. If he makes a strong showing, he may be able to earn a regular place up front for United: the only problem is that the pairing of Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha has performed exceptionally thus far this season. This will be a crucial match for both teams: Tottenham will be looking desperately for points as they try to work their way up the table towards potential European spots, whereas United badly need the full three points from a win to maintain their lead on Chelsea.