When Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane this Sunday evening, they will do so on the back of a wonderful display of counter-attacking football against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League.
The Red Devils put in arguably their most impressive performance of the David Moyes era with terrific pace and precision on the break and more of the same against Andre Villas Boas’s beleaguered Spurs side, and United might just yield a good result.
Slow with passing in the final third and having a lot of sterile possession, Spurs are an ideal side to apply the counter-attack against. The fact that they keep a high-line even with Michael Dawson in the defence also makes them vulnerable to pace. United do not exactly posses lightning quick defenders as well, but they do defend deeper.
As good a defender as Dawson is, his slowness on the turn is not very conducive to playing a high-line. Orchestrator-in-chief Christian Eriksen is out injured and Roberto Soldado is starved of service and doesn’t have much else to his game besides the finishing and penalties, which could see United grab the initiative.
One potential way for Villas Boas to get at United is to revert to traditional wingers. Inverted wingers are one of the reasons why Soldado is starved of service.
The fit again Aaron Lennon has managed to terrorise Patrice Evra in the past, and it might be better for Andros Townsend to play on the left and use his pace to get to the byline and cross instead of cutting in and taking shots all the time.
Tottenham Hotspurs signed a number of new players, they broke their transfer record thrice, and so, modern football being modern football, AVB is under pressure.
How he must envy the patience being bestowed by Manchester United on David Moyes right now. But that aside Villas-Boas will know that the game against the reigning Premier League champions is one that he can ill-afford not to win.