It has been a while since Spurs travelled to Old Trafford - live on ESPN UK at 1730 BST on Saturday - and came away with all three points. Indeed, the last player to score a winning goal for the whites against Manchester United was Gary Lineker in December 1989; since then Spurs have lost 18 and drawn four of 22 visits.
It is a hoodoo that has overtaken this tie in recent years and shows no signs of abating: United have won 17 and lost none of their last 22 Premier League games against Tottenham and, even though they are not in a strong position defensively at the moment with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic on the sidelines, there is every expectation that it will continue.
Second-placed United have enjoyed a strong start to the season, especially at home, and although there have been questions asked of their defence they have shown their trademark resilience to earn six more points from losing positions this season than they did in the whole of 2011-12.
Spurs, meanwhile, look like a side who are struggling with a new identity as they try to acclimatise to new manager Andre Villas-Boas and an approach which must almost be the polar opposite to that of his predecessor Harry Redknapp.
An opening day defeat to Newcastle was followed by some disappointing draws, before finally Spurs started to look like European contenders with back-to-back wins. However, without bringing in a striker in the transfer window, much relies on Jermain Defoe to continue his fine form. The 29-year-old has scored 199 goals in his senior career and has fired in more shots on target than any other player in the Premier League this season (9), but is getting little support from elsewhere.
The fact they have only scored eight goals in 20 Premier League visits to Old Trafford is hardly cause for optimism, although records were made to be broken.
Man United player to watch: Jonny Evans. Centre of attention for the wrong reasons against Liverpool, Evans is a vital player for United at a time when most of their first-choice defenders are sidelined for one reason or another. Described by Ferguson as 'the best defender in Europe' at one point last season, Evans has had to learn quickly in a team that does not tolerate mistakes and has some huge boots to fill with Nemanja Vidic's latest blow. Strong and agile, United can't afford to be without their Northern Irishman at the moment.
Tottenham player to watch: Aaron Lennon. An unlikely candidate to have been given the captaincy, Lennon has grown in stature at Spurs and has become a key player. Tipped for the very top from an early age, he has not quite lived up to expectations and must be angry that he has not been able to make the grade at international level - last playing for his country at the 2010 World Cup. With a point to prove, the tricky winger will look to attack Patrice Evra all evening long and provide some inspiration to his team-mates in the final third.
Key battle: Rafael v Gareth Bale. With the defensive crisis at Old Trafford, Ferguson must be pleased that his Brazilian right-back is starting to show real signs of improvement. Always good in the attacking side of his game (he even got on the scoresheet against Liverpool at the weekend), Rafael has tightened up somewhat in his defensive efforts and will be put to the test against the flying Welshman. While he has not quite reached his peak of last season, Bale is still a danger to any opponent and his speed and dribbling skills down the left hand side will be one of the main outlets for Spurs. The United defence as a whole will need to watch when he drifts inside.
Trivia: Ryan Giggs has scored more goals (10) against Spurs in the Premier League than versus any other opponent, including the first goal in this fixture in the Premier League era in September 1992.
Stats: Manchester United have conceded more headed goals than any other Premier League side this season (3), while Tottenham have scored a league-high proportion of 88% of their goals in the second half this season.
Odds: Man Utd (1.57), Spurs (6.00), and the draw (4.00) are on offer with bet365 and a 2-0 win for the Red Devils comes in at 8.00.
Prediction: United are not at full strength, while Tottenham have not impressed much this season so a draw seems the most likely outcome. However, the record of Spurs at Old Trafford means a home win is almost a certainty.
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