Man Utd fans at Leicester away

Why Spurs-Atalanta double-header is rare

Friday 29 October 2021 09:13

Travelling Manchester United supporters have the rare opportunity to visit two new grounds in quick succession, as we take on Tottenham on Saturday and Atalanta on Tuesday.

The Premier League trip to Spurs sees Reds finally able to experience the impressive Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, over two years since it was first opened on the site adjacent to the old White Hart Lane.

United have played two away games against the north Londoners at the venue since – a 1-1 draw in June 2020 and April’s marvellous 3-1 victory – but both came during the period when crowds were locked out of grounds due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Now thousands are expected to make the journey south to cheer the team on, as they have done superbly so far this season, despite recent difficult results.

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Three days later, those travelling to Italy will have the opportunity to tick off another continental ground, as we play Atalanta at their recently renovated Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo.

It will be the seventh different Italian venue we’ve played at and the fourth in 2021 alone, after visits to Turin’s Allianz Stadium, Milan’s San Siro and the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, although fans were not allowed in for those games either.

You’d have to go back to February 2016 for the last time Reds fans had the chance to attend back-to-back fixtures on unfamiliar territory.

Louis van Gaal’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat against Danish outfit FC Midtjylland at the MCH Arena in Herning, although we famously recovered to win that tie in the second leg at Old Trafford, partly thanks for Marcus Rashford’s debut double.

Sandwiched between those games was a fifth-round Emirates FA Cup clash with Shrewsbury Town, at the New Meadow venue they moved into in 2007.

Goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard ensured safe progress, with United going on to lift the trophy at Wembley.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring at Shrewsbury in 2016.

The only other example of a ‘debut double’ we could find in the 21st century came in September/October 2003.

United beat Leicester 4-1 at the Foxes’s new Walkers (now King Power) Stadium, before losing 2-1 to VfB Stuttgart in what is, to date, our only match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.