United aim to continue dominance at White Hart Lane
Manchester, England (Sports Network) - For the second consecutive Sunday, Manchester United will face a stern test in its quest for a 20th English league title.
The Red Devils emerged victorious from Old Trafford last week in a 2-1 defeat of Liverpool, but now they will head to London for a meeting with fourth-place Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
United brings a fantastic away record at Tottenham's ground, unbeaten in its last 11 matches at the Lane. Its last loss at the North London venue came in May of 2001 after the Red Devils had already clinched the title. Manchester United's last loss at White Hart Lane in a meaningful match came in October of 1999.
"We have a fantastic record there," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's official website. "It's a stadium that's old-fashioned, football-wise, like Aston Villa and Everton. There's always a good atmosphere and we enjoy playing there. But we can't take anything for granted. We have a hard game on Sunday. We have to perform."
More important than preserving its solid run at White Hart Lane, Manchester United will be looking to keep hold of its seven-point lead over second-place Manchester City. The Citizens take on Fulham at the Etihad on Saturday, and maximum points would see their deficit cut to just four points.
Ferguson also will be wary of dropping another league match to Tottenham, which claimed a 3-2 victory over United at Old Trafford earlier this season.
"I think Spurs have done well this season," Ferguson said at Friday's pre- match press conference. "I've watched quite a few of their games and their form has been consistent. They're in good form and I think they'll challenge for the top four.
"[Andre] Villas-Boas has Spurs in the way he wants them and I think there are signs they're playing how he wants them to play. That's what a coach wants to do - get his philosophy across. I think they'll challenge for the top four."
Tottenham will have to cope with the loss of Sandro, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery. Villas-Boas will need to shuffle the midfield, which likely means a start for Scott Parker.
In Sunday's other Premier League fixture, Chelsea welcomes Arsenal to Stamford Bridge in a match with major European implications. The Blues still harbor an outside hope for the title, but maintaining its third-place position seems more realistic. The Gunners, meanwhile, enter the weekend in sixth place on 34 points, needing to close a six-point gap to finish in a Champions League qualification spot.
West Bromwich will try to snap a three-game slide on Saturday when it welcomes Aston Villa to the Hawthorns. The Baggies have dropped out of contention for a Champions League position for the moment, slipping to seventh place in the league. Villa, meanwhile, has slipped into the relegation zone, losing four of its last five league contests.
Norwich City and Liverpool will have plenty at stake when the two sides meet at Anfield on Saturday. The Reds, coming off of their disappointing loss at Old Trafford, have lost two of their last three, while the Canaries are winless in their last five league outings. A win for Norwich would bring the club to within a point of Liverpool, while a victory for the Reds would send them level with Arsenal before Sunday's London derby.
Also on Saturday, QPR hopes to extend its impressive run when it heads to Upton Park to take on West Ham in another London derby, Wigan and Sunderland hope to pull further away from the relegation zone when the two sides meet at the DW Stadium, Swansea City tries to extend its unbeaten run in league play to six games when it hosts Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium, and Newcastle goes for its first win in its last four outings when it welcomes Reading to Sports Direct Arena.
And in Monday's lone Premier League contest, Southampton, fresh off of the sacking of manager Nigel Adkins, will host an Everton side that has lost just once in last 10 league games.