English Premiership

United cannot afford Spurs slip

2015-03-12 09:36
Ryan Giggs and Louis van Gaal (AFP)

London - Out of the FA Cup and with Champions League qualification hanging in the balance, Manchester United's season reaches a pivotal stage in the Premier League on Sunday at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Read: FIVE reasons why LVG is to blame for United's poor season

United were knocked out of the Cup by Arsenal in the quarter-finals on Monday, a result which effectively ended their hopes of major silverware for the second season in a row.

Finishing in the top four and qualifying for Europe's top tier competition is now considered essential but United's 10-game run-in to the end of the season also includes matches against Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Fourth-placed United, who have 53 points from 28 matches, hold a slender two-point advantage over resurgent Liverpool, while Spurs are a further point back in sixth.

Spurs have won at Old Trafford in the last two seasons having not previously tasted victory there since 1989 and they are unbeaten against United in their last five meetings.

The Manchester side can ill-afford another loss to Mauricio Pochettino's team but, after defeat by Arsenal exposed their much-discussed flaws, manager Louis van Gaal knows his side must recover quickly with a top-four finish at stake.

"All the players are very disappointed and that's logical," the Dutchman said after the Arsenal defeat. "We have to see how we recover from that.

"I can't say the motivation of the team was bad -- it's always good. We showed fantastic fighting spirit again.

"This is a big blow for us but we are sportsmen, so we have to recover."

Champions Manchester City travel to relegation-threatened Burnley in Saturday's late kick-off knowing they must not allow leaders Chelsea to extend their five-point lead at the top.

Did you read: Keane urges United to give Van Gaal more time

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Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
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West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
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