With their home match against Everton postponed due to the London riots, Tottenham Hotspur will kick-off their Premier League season against reigning champions Manchester United at Old Trafford this evening. United enjoyed a winning start to the defence of their title at West Bromwich Albion last weekend with Wayne Rooney and summer signing Ashley Young both scoring in a 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns.
United have major injury concerns at the back with experienced centre-halves Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic absent for the visit of Harry Redknapp’s Spurs.
Vidic has a calf injury while Ferdinand has a hamstring problem.
Full-back Rafael da Silva has also undergone an operation on his shoulder and will be out of action for 10 weeks.
“The team on Monday will be a very young defensive line-up, with Jones and Evans in the centre and Smalling at right-back. But Patrice Evra will be back, which gives us experience. David De Gea will learn from the experience of the games he’s had so far. We’ll also have Cleverley and Welbeck. “said Sir Alex Ferguson.
While United’s problems are in defence, Spurs’ worries are in midfield, with wantaway playmaker Luka Modric joined on the sidelines by Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios, Sandro and Steven Pienaar.
Peter Crouch will be monitored after missing Tottenham’s 5-0 drubbing of Hearts in the Europa league on Thursday with an ankle injury.
Ledley King, Alan Hutton and William Gallas are also unavailable for selection, with knee and calf injuries respectively.
United got the better of Spurs 2-0 in this fixture at Old Trafford last October, but the Londoners are confident ahead of the game.
“We played fantastic there last season, I hit the post and we were just a little unlucky,” says Rafael Van Der Vaart. “I think we have a good chance. Why not? It’s another big game, our first league game of the season, we’re ready and looking forward to it.
Of course it’s a tough game but we have a lot of confidence after the win at Hearts that we can get a positive result.”