Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 18 News List

THE FA CUP: Cup specialists Spurs looking for Old Trafford win


Young Liverpool fan Jake Gale poses with his father Shaun, who is the manager of Havant and Waterlooville FC, at Westleigh Park in Havant, England, on Wednesday. The English non-league side face Premier League team Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield today.


Manchester United face their biggest game of the season so far when a revitalized Tottenham Hotspur arrive at Old Trafford this weekend for the pick of the fourth round ties in the FA Cup.

Refreshed by a mid-winter break in the heat of Saudi Arabia, Sir Alex Ferguson's team will seek to keep their bid to emulate the treble winners of 1999 alive against opponents riding a wave of confidence following their 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal in midweek.

That put Spurs into the League Cup final and the mood around White Hart Lane has been improved further by Dimitar Berbatov's subsequent revelation that he is happy to stay at a club whose fortunes have been turned around since new manager Juande Ramos took over earlier this season.

Berbatov is a player Ferguson would love to have on his payroll and the Scot knows his defense, the cornerstone of United's success this season, will have to be vigilant about the threat posed by the Bulgarian and the rest of a Tottenham side who displayed real verve in their attacking play on Tuesday.

Arsenal will attempt to rebound from their midweek trauma -- which was compounded by an on-the-pitch confrontation between their strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner -- when the newly reinstalled Kevin Keegan leads his Newcastle United side out at the Emirates Stadium today.

The third all-Premier League tie of the round sees Wigan Athletic entertain the other League Cup finalists, Chelsea, who have conceded just one goal in their last four games.

Wigan's chances of pulling off an upset have not been helped by the loss of England striker Emile Heskey to injury.

Lovers of FA Cup tradition will relish the visit of non-league Havant and Waterlooville to Liverpool.

Anything but a comfortable win for the home side would be a major upset and there seems little danger of Liverpool taking the tie lightly in the current context of boardroom strife at Anfield.

With his side's league title ambitions virtually quashed, Reds manager Rafael Benitez knows he cannot afford any embarrassing slip-ups against the part-timers and is likely to field his strongest possible side for the visit of the side from the Conference South.

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