There must be a rule at White Hart Lane where Scott Parker and Sandro are not allowed to be fit at the same time.
Parker was not required to do a whole boatload that afternoon, considering the blue and white wall that was erected at Loftus Road did not offer a lot going the other direction.
Even when the Hoops did make a break, they often attacked toward Mousa Dembele through Adel Taraabt and Stephanie M’Bia, leaving Parker to track back into a void.
In the meeting at Old Trafford, Sandro was given the task of negating Shinji Kagawa and did so in the first half to great effect as Spurs took a 2-0 lead into the break.
Sandro became more and more attached to the defense in the second half as United piled on the pressure, but his tackling, interceptions and blocks all proved vital in a win that has gone down in Lilywhite lore.
It is likely that Parker will be either told to roam in front of the central defenders or assigned to close down whoever might be in the hole for United.
Given that the Red Devils have pretty much the entire squad to choose from, this could range anywhere from Kagawa, Wayne Rooney or an advanced Tom Cleverley.
What will not be in doubt is that Parker will need to be at the top of his limited-appearance game.
Closing the door to the feet of Robin van Persie will likely be job one, two, three and four, along with stuffing the midfield in much the same way that Shaun Derry did to Tottenham last weekend.
Should this be successful to a large degree, it might force United to go wider to supply the killer pass, not that the visitors will be unwilling to go that route to try to exact a measure of revenge.
The only thing hotter than United’s current form might be their temperament, with probably none-too-few reminders from Sir Alex Ferguson about their failures at home against their opponents this Sunday likely to be ringing in their ears until the final whistle.
With that in mind, the match is likely to be one of the more open affairs anyone will see this season as both clubs will be more than willing to go on the attack.
Tottenham will be looking to get the motors revving after being strung up last week. United will be wanting a slice of redemption along with a few goals to avenge one of their three league losses.
Scott Parker’s play in the midfield, breaking up play, shackling whomever he is assigned to steward and providing the odd outlet ball will all be vital in ensuring that Tottenham take something out of the Sunday clash.
When Fair Is Never the Case
Rarely do financial headlines make much of an impact in the sporting world unless the club is floundering about like a fish out of water.
It therefore takes something rather unusual to grab the attention of people, but Tottenham’s ownership managed to do that recently.
FIFA’s Financial Fair Play—which might as well be called FIFA’s Old Boy’s Clubhouse Rules—has been one of the more contentious talking bits since its introduction.
For those unfamiliar, it is effectively a break-even scheme designed to prevent floods of cash from new owners with money to burn buying success without having to be a historically decadent club.
The FA Chairmen have kicked the tires on this before, but until December’s meeting, it had rarely been more than a cover for the formal elite clubs to maintain their grip on their hierarchical places against the likes of the Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Malaga.
When Arsenal submitted a plan to consider harsher restrictions on clubs (by applying the FFP laws to the letter), the Gunners were joined by three other clubs.
Manchester United were obvious candidates, being England’s foremost club and largest money-winner. Liverpool have not been in the title hunt lately, but being one of the traditional power clubs in England, it did not surprise too many to see their name on the list.
The fourth, as you might have guessed, was Tottenham.
Given that Spurs are not a revenue spinner like Manchester United, do not currently have the stadium that Arsenal does nor the championship pedigree of Liverpool, their inclusion is, well, odd on initial appearance.
It’s not odd in a money sense, however. Tottenham, much like the other three clubs in question, are not looking for “fair” play.
They’re looking to crush rebellion where it stands.
Chelsea and City have upset the applecart to the point where there is now a fear among Premier League owners that the next club to be taken over will introduce the kind of competition that will finally break the “big four” up for good.
Spurs are not even one of the big four, yet are trying to take some form of moral high ground in a scenario that simply means they fear that if a club like Everton ever get solid financial backing, White Hart Lane will be subject solely to Europa League football.
It’s hard to make sense of the move for Tottenham, though. Unless the Northumberland Project is hitting the ground soon—the last update to Tottenham’s official website on the subject was in February of 2012—Spurs are not going to match the other three in revenue.
It seems more likely that the board at Tottenham is more afraid of the next City popping up, rather than being strong enough to handle them when they do.