Afternoon all. It's not a bad way to round off the weekend is it? Tottenham vs. Man United is one of those game that almost always lives up to its billing.
Thankfully we actually have a game! Have to admit that at around 2pm it looked extremely doubtful, particularly when a pitch inspection
was called by referee Chris Foy. However, have taken a look at the pitch, Foy has deemed the pitch
to be playable. Phew!
It will be interesting to see how all the snow, and there is quite a bit that has settled, affects this match. Looking at it initially, you'd have to say that it may hamper Spurs more. They like to get the ball wide to the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, but the ground may not allow the ball to run smoothly down the flanks.
Right, without further ado, the team news from White Hart Lane is in...
TOTTENHAM X1: Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Naughton; Parker, Dembele, Lennon, Bale, Dempsey; Defoe
Not many surprises in that Spurs side, I have to say. With Emmanuel Adebayor at the Africa Cup of Nations, Clint Dempsey will offer the support to Jermain Defoe in attack. Scott Parker has also been given his first Premier League start of the season in the absence of the injured Sandro.
MAN UNITED X1: De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Jones, Cleverley, Kagawa; Welbeck, Van Persie
First up, Wayne Rooney is the United squad, but has only been given a place on the bench as he continues his recovery from a knee injury. That means that Danny Welbeck will continue alongside Robin van Persie
attack. Perhaps the most surprising selection is that of Phil Jones in midfield. Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson
is keen to use Jones's defensive qualities to help nulify the threat of Bale and Lennon.
Right then Spurs fans, let's get the negatives out of the way shall we?! As mentioned in the introduction above, you have not completed a league double over Man United in some 23 years! Spurs have also not tasted a home victory over the Red Devils in their last 11 attempts - a run that dates back to 2001.
However, was the 3-2 win
at Old Trafford earlier in the season a turning point? Tottenham had not won their since 1989 until that match. With one barren run broken, perhaps another one will break today?
Having said all that, there are not many Premier League sides in better form on the road than United at the moment. Since March 2011, they have not lost any away match that they have managed to score in. During that time, they've won 22 and drawn five.
What's more, United's goal tally of 26 away from home is more than any other side has managed in the English top flight this season. In contrast, Spurs can take confidence from the fact that during those 11 matches, they have also shipped 15 goals. It's certainly not been a bore watching United this season, that's for sure!
If last season's meeting between these two at the Lane is anything to go by, this encounter shouldn't be a snooze fest either. Ashley Young was particularly impressive for the visitors, scoring twice during the second half. Wayne Rooney also scored for United, while Jermain Defoe netted for Spurs.
Talking of Young, a slight knee injury has ruled him out today. He has not either been deemed fit enough for a slot on the bench. Here is who has been named among the substitutes:
TOTTENHAM: Friedel, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend
MAN UNITED: Lindegaard, Valencia, Anderson, Rooney, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez
Turning attentions back to Spurs, one player that they will be hoping can deliver today is Defoe. The England striker may have 14 goals in all competitions this season, but he has found the net just once in his last seven Premier League outings. It wouldn't be a bad time for him to put that right, would it?
Got to say, having seen some shots of the pitch, I'm not sure what all the fuss was about! There is barely a trace of the snow. Having said that, the white stuff is still falling quite heavily, although it is not settling.
"It is going well but I always think that if you start to believe that, you are going down. It should have been 10 games and 14 or 15 goals. I've missed four or fives chances I shouldn't have missed," a certain Robin van Persie tells Sky Sports News. He's a little hard on himself, isn't he?! After all, he has scored 21 goals in all competitions this season.
Today the Dutchman is coming up against a set of supporters that are not likely to give him the warmest of receptions - and that is putting it mildly! He spent eights years with North London rivals Arsenal and scored a handful of goals against Spurs. Needless to say, he won't be the most popular man inside White Hart Lane today.
Also speaking to Sky Sports News
, Andre Villas-Boas
has admitted that his side will "miss" the influence of Sandro. However, he does believe that Scott Parker is a more than adequate replacement: "We miss Sandro heavily but I think Scotty will return really well," said AVB.
It's a big game today for Parker. He hasn't played a lot of football this season because of an Achilles injury that he suffered during Euro 2012. Making your first start against Man United is hardly ideal as well. Will be interesting to see if he can last the 90 minutes.
Ferguson has been explaining the reasons behind his eagerness to get the game on with Sky Sports News: "I think it is worth trying. There's not a bit laying on the turf. It's a long journey! I hope Tottenham think the same because we don't want a backlog."
Right, here come the players to a loud reception from the crowd. It's always a good atmosphere at the Lane, particularly when United visit. Not long until we are off and running now.
Here we go then. Spurs, kicking from right to left, get us started at White Hart Lane...
Some neat early possession for Man United. They are yet to work Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal, but their one-touch passing has been impressive. The home side are yet to stamp their authority.
Tottenham keeper Lloris has looked uncharacteristically shaky so far. He's sent two routine pass backs straight out of play, which is very unlike him because the French international is normally so assured on the deck. United will want to test him with a shot or two soon.
Michael Owen on Twitter:
"Sir Alex showing Spurs plenty of respect playing with an extra man in midfield. Normally gains you more possession. Key move away from home."
Spurs are slowing feeling their way into this. Like United, they are yet to have a meaningful shot at goal, but they are seeing more of the ball. Still nothing from either Bale or Lennon though.
CHANCE! Tottenham's first attempt at goal arguably falls to the wrong man. Parker surges forward and when his initial pass rebounds back to him off of Rio Ferdinand, he lets fly from 25 yards out. However, it is never troubling David de Gea in the away goal.
SAVE! And now it's United's turn to have a shot at goal. It's that man Van Persie who has the effort, but his guided header after he met a cross from Jones is easily held by Lloris. Signs that it is beginning to hot up at the Lane.
SAVE! Now we're talking! Lennon cuts inside and unleashes a low effort from the edge of the box with his weaker left foot. De Gea gets down to push the shot wide, before getting up to deny Defoe with the rebound. Had Defoe scored, it wouldn't have counted because the linesman had flagged for offside.
Very little to report after that flurry of chances. United look content to sit back and soak up any pressure from Tottenham, in the hope that they can strike on the counter-attack. Having said that, United's passing has been nowhere near good enough to make that happen so far.
BOOKING! First yellow card of the afternoon goes to former Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick, who tripped up Dempsey as he looked to build an attack for the home team. Carrick is not happy, but you can see why Chris Foy dished out the punishment.
Just seen a shot of a cold looking Villas-Boas sat on the Tottenham bench. And how has he tried to warm himself up? By wrapping a towel around his legs of course! It's not the best of looks, I must say.
GOAL! Tottenham 0-1 Man United (Van Persie)
Robin van Persie has had one chance and well, you know the rest! Danny Welbeck picked out Tom Cleverley wide on the right. The England international took one touch before sending over a cross to the back post for the Dutchman, who powered a header beyond Lloris. He'd barely featured during this match! Suppose that's what you pay £24m for.
SAVE! Positive response from Spurs as Defoe attempts to catch out De Gea with a shot towards the near post. Thankfully for United, the Spanish youth international was aware and managed to tip the ball away from danger.
BOOKING! It's now one apiece in terms of bookings. Spurs skipper Dawson is the player who gets his name taken down for a late sliding challenge on Patrice Evra.
Man United fan Usain Bolt on Twitter:
"Even when it's snowing @Persie_Official scores #MUFC."
Wonder if he is following Sports Mole's commentary?!
Kagawa is beginning to have a real influence on this game for United. The Japanese midfielder is now seeing a lot of the ball and is looking to keep the ball moving whenever possible. It's also unsurprising to see that he is keen to get Van Persie in possession at every opportunity.
SAVE! It looked for all the world that Bale had drawn Spurs level just then. Rafael only cleared a cross from Lennon to the edge of the area, where Bale was waiting. He sent in an instant shot with his right foot, that wrong-footed De Gea. However, the Spaniard managed to deny the winger with his foot.
A replay of that save from De Gea has shown just how good a stop that was. He'd dived fully to his right, but somehow managed to flick out his boot just in time. It could prove to be a crucial moment in this match.
BOOKING! Blatant yellow card for Evra, who trips up Lennon on the halfway line. I think that is called taking one for the team!
SAVE! Almost from Welbeck and United. Van Persie flicked the ball into the area for his strike partner, who got away from Caulker. The angle was narrow though and Lloris was able to block at his near post.
We'll have a minimum of two minutes of stoppage time here...
HALF-TIME: Tottenham 0-1 Man United
It's been a professional 45 minutes from the league leaders. They've sat back for a lot of this match but when the opportunity arose, Van Persie took it with aplomb. As the half went on, Ferguson will be pleased with the growing influence of both Kagawa and Welbeck.
From a Tottenham point of view, it's been a very bitty performance. To be honest, they've not going at all. Bale has done very little and has spent most of the match coming inside, which has given United full-back Rafael a relatively easy ride.
One player that has been pretty anonymous for Spurs is Dempsey. It's his job to support Defoe, but the pair have not linked at all. Perhaps it won't be too long until we see Sigurdsson introduced into the action.
Having said all that about the home team, they have had seven efforts on goal during that half to United's three. They've also had 51% of the ball. However, at the end of the day it is the scoreline that counts and Spurs are trailing.
Right, we are off and running again. United get this match back underway...
CHANCE! Defoe will feel that he should have done a bit better with that one. Ferdinand's clearance only found Lennon, who in turn slipped in Defoe. He took an instant shot from the edge of the area, but the ball skidded wide of the target. Defoe has made a career of converting those sort of chances.
CHANCE! It's Bale turn to have a poke at the United goal, but his effort with the outside of his left foot from the edge area flies just over the crossbar. Fair play to Spurs though, they've started this half well.
SAVE! How an earth has Dempsey not found the United net?! He simply waltzed through the defence, but when he struck his shot from just six yards out, De Gea managed to flick his boot out once again and divert the ball wide. It's a good save, but Dempsey had virtually the whole goal to aim at.
Tottenham are seeing a lot of the ball at this moment in time but United look extremely dangerous on the break. Welbeck in particular is causing problems from the left. He has just picked out Kagawa, but the midfielder scuffed his shot well wide of the target.
Michael Carrick has dealt with Lennon superbly today. Although he's a natural midfielder, Carrick has helped out his full-back Evra on numerous occasions and more often than not has got the better of the Spurs winger. Their latest battle ends with Carrick playing the ball off of Lennon and winning his side a goal kick.
SUBSTITUTION: Here comes Rooney! The England striker has replaced Kagawa, who put in a decent shift for Man United.
And Rooney is immediately into action, demanding a penalty after he goes down following a challenge with Steven Caulker. Without a replay it's hard to call, but Rooney is adamant that he was fouled.
SUBSTITUTION: A long injury absence for Benoit Assou-Ekotto is ended as he comes onto replace youngster Kyle Naughton. The Cameroon international receives a positive reception from the home faithful.
We've just been treated to a replay of Rooney's penalty claim and you've got say the Man United frontman has a point. It's by no means a deliberate trip by the Spurs defender, but he's knocked Rooney off his stride. A lucky escape for the home team.
SAVE! Spurs knock on the United door once again but De Gea makes sure that it remains firmly shut. It's Dempsey who drives the shot goalwards from eight yards, but De Gea managed to get a hand to the effort.
It's pretty end-to-end at the moment. Tottenham perhaps look the more likely to score, but with the likes of Van Persie and Rooney on the pitch, you've got to fancy United to add to their tally if the chance arises. Big 20 minutes ahead.
SUBSTITUTION: United introducing some width into the action in the form of Antonio Valencia, who has taken the place of Cleverley.
BOOKING! Rafael has gone into the book for a foul on Bale. To be fair to the Brazilian full-back, it didn't look like he made too much contact with the Spurs winger. Obviously I'm not accusing Bale of diving...
BLOCK! What a challenge from Ferdinand. It looked as though Defoe was going to ripple the back of the United net from close range, but Ferdinand came from nowhere to divert his powerful shot for a corner. Goal-saving work from the United centre-back.
BOOKING! Rooney's had an eventful time since he was introduced into the action. On this occasion he is booked for one of the most blatant fouls you are ever likely to see on Lennon. You can tell it was deserved, even Rooney didn't argue!
SUBSTITUTION: It will come as little surprise to you that Parker has not lasted the 90 minutes. He's given a breather with 10 minutes left as Tom Huddlestone enters the action.
It's snowing rather heavily in North London now. It's a good job there are only five minutes or so left because this match would be in danger I would imagine.
CHANCE! So, so close for Spurs. Bale ventures inside on his right foot and unleashes from 25 yards out. Jones gets his head to the ball, which drifts and inch or two wide of the post. De Gea was well beaten there.
Two minutes to go and Spurs are piling on the pressure now. It looks like attack vs. defence out there. United are holding firm at the moment, but there is bound to be a chance or two in the closing stages.
Spurs have three minutes of stoppage time to find an equaliser...
GOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Man United (Dempsey)
Wow! Unbelievable scenes at White Hart Lane. Spurs looked down and out but Dempsey has surely rescued them a point. De Gea's punch out found Lennon, who cut the ball back for the American. His shot from 10 yards out was by no means clean, but it nestled in the bottom corner. What an end to this match.
FULL TIME: Tottenham 1-1 Man United
What an end to that match! Spurs had so much of the ball, but it looked as though the clock was going to beat them. As it was, with their very last attack they salvaged a share of the spoils.
That's all we have time for from a snowy White Hart Lane. Who says that the Premier League is not the most entertaining league in the world hey?! Thanks for joining us this afternoon and be on the look out for analysis, which will be with you shortly.