Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur preview: Heading to the House of Horrors

Alex Livesey - Getty Images

Spurs have not won at Old Trafford since 1989, but they will give it another go on Saturday.

26 visits, four draws, 22 losses. That is Tottenham Hotspur's record at Old Trafford since they last won away to Manchester United way back in December 1989.

The trips north have not been kind to Spurs. Part of that (most of that) has been a simple gulf in class. Sir Alex Ferguson turned Manchester United into one of the best clubs in the world again, while Tottenham struggled to put together any sort of sustained success. Most always, Spurs went to Old Trafford as the inferior team and the scoreline reflected it.

However, Tottenham's troubles at United haven't solely been a matter of being an average team to the Red Devils' typically excellent team. They have also been the victim of some refereeing decisions that were terrible, if we are being charitable.

Combined the matter fo being outclassed and unlucky, it is no wonder that Tottenham have not won at Old Trafford in more than 20 years. Nothing has gone right for them. But that could change this time around.

The Red Devils are still the superior team, but the gap between United and Spurs isn't as big as it has been before. Tottenham are now one of the better teams in the league with the talent to stand toe-to-toe with United on any given day.

Of course, that has been the case for a few years now and it hasn't helped. United have still won, but this could be different. It seems as if this year, things are breaking Tottenham's way, even if by the unfortunate method of injuries.

Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are all out with long-term injuries, which has really weakened the Red Devils' defense. Ashley Young is still out with a knee injury as well, while Antonio Valencia will also miss Saturday's contest, leaving United with issues out wide. Even Wayne Rooney, who is back after his nasty gash, will not be completely fit.

Spurs have their share of injuries too, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Scott Parker, Younes Kaboul and Jake Livermore all out, but they did begin to find comfort in the current team with a win last weekend and a League Cup victory on Wednesday.

Brad Friedel should be back in goal and Jan Vertonghen will probably be deployed on the left. That opens up a spot in the center of defense next to William Gallas, which could go to the impressive Steven Caulker, but will probably be handed to the more experience Michael Dawson.

But it is in the midfield where even more will be asked of Spurs. Sandro will be charged with denying play through the middle, be it Rooney or Shinji Kagawa, while Moussa Dembele will be asked to distribute the ball as tremendously as he did at Old Trafford earlier this season with Fulham.

Maybe most important will be Gylfi Sigurdsson or Clint Dempsey. Whichever player Andre Villas-Boas turns to will have to attack with the ball and pressure without it the double pivot of Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes. It is the weakspot in the United team, which Ferguson has somehow not addressed in years and one that Spurs have to pick on.

23 years doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but Spurs are due, right? Bueller? Bueller...

Match Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. local

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England

TV: Fox Soccer (USA - English), Sportsnet One (Canada), ESPN UK (UK)

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