Man United, Tottenham Deal With Star Absences For Key Premier League Clash

Manchester United and Tottenham are both chasing Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will go head to head in the Premier League in Saturday's lunchtime kick off, a game with significant early title race implications as both teams look to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table.

The pair go into the game level on points but in contrasting form since the international break at the start of the month. United haven't won since September and have seen their unbeaten start to the season brought to an end, while Spurs have won four in a row in the league.

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Classic Encounter

United and Spurs have played out many goal-filled games over the years, from the enduring 5-3 thriller at White Hart Lane in 2001, to a 4-1 Spurs win on New Year's Day 1996, and a 5-2 United victory more recently in the spring of 2009.

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But one game that equally stands out is the 0-0 draw that took place at Old Trafford in the closing stages of the 2004/05 campaign - not as a result of any goals that were scored, obviously, but because of one that infamously wasn't.

That was the game that brought the infamous Pedro Mendes goal-line controversy, with the Portuguese midfielder's speculative looping effort from the halfway line spilled over his shoulder by United goalkeeper Roy Carroll.

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As Carroll desperately clawed the ball away from behind the line, it was clear for all to see that it had crossed - that goal would have given Spurs a 1-0 lead with hardly any time left to play. 'Clear', however, for everyone but the referee and his officiating team, who waved play on.

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Form (Last 5 league games)

Man Utd: W W W D L

Tottenham: D W W W W

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Team News

Man Utd: Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford are in line to start after overcoming knocks. Eric Bailly should play but his inclusion is subject to one more positive training session. Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic remain out.

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Tottenham: Nursing a hamstring strain, Harry Kane will be a huge miss with for Spurs after nine goals in his last five appearances in all competitions. Victor Wanyama is the only other definite injury, but Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela are all lacking match fitness.

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Lineups

Man Utd (3-4-3): De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Jones; Valencia, Matic, Herrera, Young; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Rashford

Tottenham (3-5-2): Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Alli, Winks, Eriksen; Son, Llorente

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Prediction

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The loss of in-form Harry Kane could go a long to deciding the outcome. The England man peppers opposition goalkeepers with shots and Spurs simply won't carry the same threat without him. That being said, the team is still full of other very talented players regardless.

United really needed their Carabao Cup win over Swansea in midweek to restore some confidence after successive games without a win. Their chance of victory is likely to come down to what instructions Jose Mourinho gives his team: will they be defensive or try and attack?

Manchester United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur