Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United  1 - 1

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FA probe Ferguson over linesman criticism

21 January 2013 21:31

The FA has asked Sir Alex Ferguson for his observations after he criticised assistant referee Simon Beck during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

The Manchester United boss described the linesman's performance as 'shocking' and slammed Beck's failure to award a penalty to Wayne Rooney after seeing his side concede a 90th-minute equaliser.

Tottenham's late goal from Clint Dempsey meant United's lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to five points, following Manchester City's victory over Fulham.

The 71-year-old also claimed that Beck had failed to spot that a Didier Drogba winner at Old Trafford back in 2010 was offside - a result which effectively handed the title to Chelsea that season.

Ferguson now has until 18:00GMT on Thursday to respond to the request and could face sanctions including a touchline ban or fine.

The Red Devils boss was recently criticised for berating referee Mike Dean at half-time during his side's 4-3 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.

However, on that occasion, no action was taken by the FA.

Article

Premier League: Tottenham 1 Manchester United 1

20 January 2013 19:16

Clint Dempsey scored a dramatic equaliser in added time as Tottenham snatched a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

US international Dempsey guided the ball home two minutes into injury-time to cue wild scenes in the snow in north London and earn Andre Villas-Boas' side a point they fully deserved at White Hart Lane.

Robin van Persie had headed United ahead in the 25th minute before the visitors produced a resilient backs-to-the-wall display under a barrage of Tottenham pressure, with visiting goalkeeper David De Gea making a number of crucial saves.

The result means United's advantage at the top of the English Premier League has been cut to five points this week following Manchester City's victory over Fulham on Saturday, while Spurs remain fourth as they chase a Champions League spot.

The build-up to the game was dominated by concerns over the arctic conditions, referee Chris Foy declaring the pitch playable following an inspection just over an hour before kick-off.

Spurs made three changes to the side that drew with QPR last time out, Scott Parker making his first league start of the season to replace the injured Sandro, while Steven Caulker and Dempsey also came into the team as Jan Vertonghen dropped to the bench due to illness.

United made just one change to the starting line-up that beat Liverpool in their most recent league fixture, as Phil Jones replaced Ashley Young, with Van Persie and Danny Welbeck again paired in attack.

Both sides started in cagey fashion, Spurs winger Aaron Lennon injecting some impetus into the hosts' attack as he looked to run at Patrice Evra.

Lennon nearly put Tottenham in front in the 14th minute when he burst in from the right and drilled a low, left-footed shot that De Gea saved to his left before snuffing out Jermain Defoe's rebound.

In the 25th minute, United took the lead as Van Persie headed home his 18th league goal of the season to put the finishing touch on a swift move from Alex Ferguson's side.

After some neat build-up play, Welbeck played the ball out to Tom Cleverley on the right, and the midfielder clipped in his cross to the far post, where Van Persie was completely unmarked to power in with his head.

Back in north London, the former Arsenal man made sure to enjoy his celebration in front of the Spurs fans as he wheeled away to be mobbed by his team-mates.

From then on, Tottenham controlled most of the game but struggled to find a way past De Gea, with the Spaniard in inspired form in the United goal.

De Gea made two sharp stops before the break, denying Defoe at the near post before brilliantly keeping out Gareth Bale's deflected effort with his legs.

The pattern continued following the restart as De Gea denied Dempsey from point-blank range after the American went through following a silky shimmy and shuffle from Mousa Dembele on the edge of United's area.

Tottenham began to run out of ideas and were unable to find a way past United's defence as the visitors looked to sit deep and play on the counter-attack, putting bodies behind the ball and always managing to find a last ditch block or saving header.

Then, two minutes into added time, De Gea produced a weak punch that fell to Lennon. The winger kept his head to pick out Dempsey in a crowded penalty box, and the American made no mistake in slotting the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards.

This time, De Gea could not produce any heroics and Tottenham emerged with a hard-fought share of the spoils.

Article

Ferguson eyes rare treble

20 January 2013 07:44

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes his squad are capable of repeating the legendary feats of his 1999 team by winning another treble.

The Red Devils, who sit four points clear of rivals Manchester City having played a game fewer, are unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches and will extend their lead at the top if they beat Tottenham on Sunday.

Ferguson's side, unlike their adversaries, also remain in the Champions League as they await the much-heralded arrival of Real Madrid in February.

With a fourth-round FA Cup fixture against Fulham also imminent, the Scot expressed his confidence in his squad's ability to flourish in the latter half of the season.

"We want to be involved in everything. We've got all three trophies to go for - and we've got the squad to do it. It's absolutely brilliant for everyone connected with Manchester United," he told reporters.

"We have got the excitement of going to Real Madrid in the Champions League and them coming here. We've got Fulham in the FA Cup as well after winning our ¬replay against West Ham. And if you go back to the year we won the treble, we had a cup replay against Chelsea and ¬another one against Arsenal."

The veteran manager also spoke of his pleasure at the return of such defensive stalwarts as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, emphasising the difference that the returning players can make to the side.

"The squad is looking very strong at the moment with players coming back in. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were absolutely brilliant against Liverpool last week and against West Ham we had Phil Jones and Chris Smalling," he said.

"If they all stay fit then we're in a strong position. It's good news because we are over a lot of -injuries now and if they get a bit of football and training behind them, it will make a big ¬difference."

Ferguson added that he would take his players on a mini break to Qatar next week.

The 71-year-old, who claimed a golfing holiday rejuvenated his squad last season, is mindful of United's congested fixture list.

United will travel to Qatar straight after their fixture against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and will focus on team-building exercises at the Aspire Academy in Doha, a multi-sport facility which cost $1.3 billion to build.

As well as boosting team spirit, Ferguson will be hoping the trip can aid the recovery of Ashley Young and Jonny Evans, who are both currently sidelined through injury, as well as prepare Wayne Rooney for regular playing time following his return from a knee problem on Wednesday.

With snow also potentially offering a disruption to United's training schedule, Ferguson is also eager to suffer minimal hindrances in his side's preparations.

Article

Ferguson: Giggs was better than Bale at 23

18 January 2013 19:40

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes Ryan Giggs was a better player than fellow Welshman Gareth Bale at the age of 23.

Giggs, now 39, has made a club record 926 appearances for United since his debut in 1990 and is remarkably expected to play on next season.

Bale, who turns 24 this year, has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid after establishing himself as one of the most exciting talents in the English Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur.

"I think the boy (Bale) is a good player, yes," Ferguson said.

"But Ryan Giggs at 23, I don't think there was anyone better."

United will travel to Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday as Ferguson's men look to extend their advantage on top of the table.

Ferguson praised the performance of Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas since his arrival at White Hart Lane in July.

"I think they've done well this season," Ferguson said.

"I've watched quite a few of their games and I think their form has been quite consistent.

"I think they will be challenging for the top four, I don't think there's any doubt that.

"I think Villas-Boas has got them the way he wants. He's now been there a few months and there's signs that there playing the way he wants them to play."

On the news of midfielder Darren Fletcher's absence for the remainder of the season, Ferguson was upbeat that the 28-year-old Scotsman would be back.

"He tried his best to cope with the condition with the treatments he was using," Ferguson said.

"This operation hopefully solves the situation in terms of his career in the game and we expect him to be back in July.

"It's a blow for the boy but given that he's been dealing with the condition for a couple of years now, it's just another step towards one, very importantly his health, and secondly his career in the game. And hopefully with this operation that'll be the case."

Article

Defoe confident ahead of United test

18 January 2013 17:37

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe says his team are 'more than good enough' to beat Manchester United at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League, but Spurs have beaten United already this term, inflicting the Red Devils' only home defeat of the season in September.

Defoe says his side are good enough to beat the league leaders, as the north London club hunt for three points to keep them in the Champions League spots.

"What can you say about United? They are a great side with great players and it will be a big test for us," Defoe told the club's official website.

"But they know it will be difficult for them as well when they come to White Hart Lane.

"Hopefully we can get the three points - and we're more than good enough to do that with the players we've got here."

Defoe has been in good form this season, scoring 14 times for Spurs in all competitions.

The England international praised fellow striker Robin van Persie, who has 21 goals this term for United, but said he is not the only player Spurs will have to keep tabs on this Sunday.

"(Van Persie is) on fire, scoring goals and that was always going to happen," Defoe said. "They've plenty of other dangerous players as well.

"It will be a difficult game but we're all looking forward to it."

Article

Premier League preview: Tottenham v Manchester United

17 January 2013 17:23

Tottenham will look to complete an illustrious double over Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson's side visit White Hart Lane on Sunday.

A win against the league leaders would be significant for a number of reasons; it would significantly bolster Spurs Champions League ambitions, dent United's seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League and further endear Andre Villas-Boas to the Tottenham fans.

It has been 23 years since England greats Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker were on target to complete Spurs' most recent double over United and 11 since Tottenham have defeated the Red Devils at home.

Remarkable, given Harry Redknapp's hugely successful reign before Villas-Boas was charged with the indomitable task of succeeding him.

After a short and painful reign at Chelsea, Villas-Boas was met with suspicion by the White Hart Lane faithful, yet a 2-1 win over United following an end-to-end tussle at Old Trafford in September, changed all that.

Villas-Boas was hired to transform Spurs into a modern European force and is on track to achieve Champions League qualification, which Redknapp secured in 2010.

He has covered the loss of star playmaker Luka Modric and has clearly got the best out of flying winger Gareth Bale and leading scorer Jermaine Defoe.

It must be remembered that despite all his success, Redknapp did not attain a single win over United during his tenure.

On the other side of the coin, United rarely concede league doubles to anyone and will take their excellent record to the Lane.

Ferguson's men are seven points clear of rivals Manchester City and will deal them another huge mental blow if they can pick up all three points.

The Red Devils are the form team in the league having won nine of their past 10 matches.

Captain Nemanja Vidic is set to overcome concussion to play while Wayne Rooney played the full game in United's FA Cup third round replay win over West Ham on Wednesday after recovering from a knee injury.

Ashley Young is expected to just miss out with a strained knee but Ferguson has an otherwise full squad to pick from.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25