Premier League Stats: Manchester United v Tottenham
Spurs face one of the league's toughest road trips when they go to Old Trafford on Saturday evening, but they take with them some of the division's hottest form, so what do BettorLogic make of it all? Best Bet: Back Draw/Man Utd @ [4.5].
While not quite at their impressive best on Wednesday night, United returned to the top of the table with their 2-0 win over Portsmouth, recording their first clean sheet in the league since their 16-game streak was ended by Blackburn. Spurs come in to this game with little left to play for, although they are one of only three teams unbeaten against the Big Four this season.
To continue that run, Tottenham will have to manage what only eight other sides have achieved since 06/07 and come away from Old Trafford with a point. In that time, United are W46-D4-L4 at home (W41-D3-L2 against non-Big Four sides), including the defeat to West Ham with the title already secured in 2006/07. They have faced similarly in-form teams in that time as well, recording nine victories in nine attempts against sides having taken nine points or more from their last five games.
Spurs are unquestionably one of the form sides of the division, going W6-D1-L1 in the last two months, but this clearly represents a step up. While they are unbeaten in six against the Big Four this season, only two of those have been on the road, with their last league victory at one of the Big Four coming shortly after Federico Macheda's second birthday (August 1993). They have lost only just over half of those games (W0-D8-L10) since the start of 2004/05, however it is impossible to look past United's home record and the home win ([1.49]), especially given the relative importance of the match for the two sides.
Spurs have lost five of their 18 games at the Big Four since 04/05 1-0 - including the last two versions of this fixture - making it easily the most common score in that sample. That score is also the most common for United at home to non-Big Four sides (4/14) this season, with that and the 2-0 (3/14) making up half of those results. 1-0 looks the best option here at [7.4].
Spurs have been a very strong first-half side of late, trailing at the break in only two of their last 20 league matches and the D/L is comfortably the standout (5/16) for them on the road this season. Similarly, since 04/05, they have a W0-D13-L5 half-time record at the Big Four, with seven D/Ds and six D/Ls (four L/Ls).
United have drawn as many first halves as they have won against non-Big Four sides at home this season, with only one more W/W (7/14) than D/W (6/14). The D/W ([4.5]) seems to offer significantly better value than the W/W ([2.32]) for United and would be our main selection.
Man Utd clean sheet
As mentioned earlier, United's clean sheet on Wednesday was their first in the league in over two months although, over the longer term, they have an excellent clean sheet record against non-Big Four sides - blanking over 60% (28/46) of visitors since the start of 06/07.
Spurs have scored in both of their games at Big Four sides - and in all but three of 16 against all teams on the road - this season but have failed to do so in 10 of 18 at the Big Four since 04/05. The longer term form suggests a home clean sheet is value at [2.12] but recent history means it is not strongly recommended.
Tottenham clean sheet
Despite their league-best home defensive record, Spurs have kept just one clean sheet on the road all season and haven't managed one at the Big Four since a goalless draw here in 2005. United have scored in 34 home games in a row and nothing suggests that run will end here.