United v Spurs: The stats that matter
It’s fair to say not many Premier League fixtures have produced as many sub-plots, thrilling goals and memorable moments as Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur.
Meetings between the Reds and the Lilywhites rarely disappoint and the importance of games between the two teams has only intensified in recent seasons.
As United prepare to take on Spurs at Old Trafford on Monday night, we present a statistical breakdown of how the Reds have fared against the north London outfit…
WHAT'S OUR OVERALL RECORD AGAINST SPURS LIKE?
United have encountered Tottenham 189 times in all competitions stretching back to 1899, when the sides met for the first time in an FA Cup first-round tie at Asplins Farm, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. The Reds have been on the winning side on 89 occasions, with a win ratio of 47 per cent, while there have been 49 draws and 51 defeats. Interestingly, we need just one more goal to reach the landmark of 300 goals against Spurs in all competitions, while Spurs have netted 243 times against United in total.
HOW ABOUT OUR PREMIER LEAGUE RECORD AGAINST THEM?
The Reds have a strong record against Spurs since the Premier League’s inception in 1992/93. Monday’s clash will be our 53rd such meeting with Tottenham and we have so far won an impressive 33 times, drawing 11 and losing just eight. In those games, we have scored twice as many goals (90) than we have conceded (45).
WHAT’S OUR BIGGEST WIN OVER SPURS?
The Reds have hit five goals on four occasions against Spurs – including the remarkable comeback wins at White Hart Lane in 2001 and Old Trafford in 2009. Nevertheless, you have to go back over 100 years for our biggest victory over the Lilywhites – a 5-0 success in the old First Division at Bank Street on 22 January 1910, when Charlie Roberts and Billy Meredith were among the scorers.
HOW ABOUT OUR HEAVIEST DEFEAT?
United’s biggest loss at the hands of Spurs was also by a five-goal margin and occurred some 86 years ago, when the Reds were beaten 6-1 in the old Second Division on 10 September 1932. William Ridding scored our consolation goal on what was a disappointing day at White Hart Lane.
WHO’S OUR TOP GOALSCORER AGAINST TOTTENHAM?
From Stan Pearson and Norman Whiteside to Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney, more than 100 Reds have found the net in competitive games against Spurs. Bobby Charlton and Denis Law lead the way, both tied on 15 goals apiece; however, Law achieved the total in half as many appearances (19) as Charlton (38).
WHICH CURRENT RED HAS THE MOST GOALS AGAINST SPURS?
Only five players in Jose Mourinho’s squad can claim to have scored against Tottenham, with Ashley Young leading the way with two goals – by virtue of his pair of stunning strikes in a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane in 2012. Marouane Fellaini scored in the 3-0 victory at Old Trafford in 2015, while Anthony Martial netted the winner in last season’s home win over Spurs. Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera were also both on target in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final success at Wembley last term.
HOW MANY HAT-TRICKS HAVE WE SCORED?
There are three United players who have struck three times in a single match against Spurs. Willie Bryant did so in only the second-ever meeting between the teams, but Spurs ran out 5-3 winners in the FA Cup first-round replay at Bank Street in February 1899. Denis Law notched a treble in a 4-1 triumph at Old Trafford in the old First Division in November 1963 and Andy Ritchie repeated the feat 17 years later when the Reds won another old First Division encounter by the same scoreline at the same venue.
WHICH RED HAS FACED SPURS THE MOST?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the fact he holds the club’s all-time record for most appearances with 963 to his name, Ryan Giggs has turned out more times against Tottenham than any other United player. The Welshman faced Spurs 42 times in his long playing career, scoring 10 goals. Charlton, whose appearance record he surpassed in 2008, is also a close second in terms of games played against Spurs with 38, and Bill Foulkes is third with 33.
HOW MANY RED CARDS HAVE THERE BEEN?
Remarkably, only four United players have been sent off in games against Spurs over the years – all of which have been at White Hart Lane. The first to be dismissed was Brian Kidd back in 1968, in a 1-0 defeat in an FA Cup third-round replay, while Gary Neville was also red-carded 30 years later in a 2-2 draw in the top flight. His long-standing team-mate Paul Scholes was given his marching orders in a 3-1 victory in the Premier League in 2009 and the most recent Red to see red against Spurs was Rafael da Silva, in a goalless draw in the league in 2011.
WHAT ABOUT OWN GOALS?
United have benefitted from seven own goals against Tottenham in the past – one more than Spurs. The most recent came in the last league meeting between the teams at Wembley in January, when Phil Jones was unfortunate to put through his own net in United’s 2-0 defeat. The last time the Reds profited from an own goal scored by a Spurs player was in August 2015, when Kyle Walker diverted a cross past Hugo Lloris to hand United a 1-0 victory on the opening day of the 2015/16 Premier League season.
WHICH SPURS MANAGER HAVE WE FACED THE MOST?
The Reds have come up against 28 different Tottenham managers but Bill Nicholson is out in front as the Spurs boss who has been in the opposing dugout the most – on 37 occasions in total. Keith Burkinshaw is second with 22 games against United and Peter McWilliam took charge of 16 matches against the Reds in the Spurs hotseat. Current boss Mauricio Pochettino has a mixed record against United as manager of both Tottenham and Southampton – winning three, drawing three and losing six of his 12 encounters against the Reds so far – but has only taken one solitary point from six previous league visits to Old Trafford.
IN HOW MANY MAJOR FINALS HAVE WE PLAYED SPURS?
There have been only two occasions when the Reds have faced Tottenham with silverware at stake. The first resulted in the Charity Shield being shared as the sides played out a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford in August 1967, in which Charlton netted twice for United and Spurs goalkeeper Pat Jennings scored directly from a goal-kick. More recently, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Reds came out on top in a penalty shoot-out to lift the League Cup at Tottenham’s expense in 2009, following a goalless draw in the final after 120 keenly-fought minutes at Wembley.