Friday Facts: Spurs v United and a big one in Portugal

By James Nalton, Football Whispers

While most of the focus at this time of year is on the transfer window, it's good to get a reminder of why we're all here - to watch some soccer!

There are plenty of games taking place across the world this weekend, from America to Asia, and in Premier League we will witness a clash between two International Champions Cup sides at England's national stadium.

And this is where we begin Friday's look ahead to the action across the globe this week.

Stats behind Spurs vs Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur face Manchester United in what is, without doubt, the biggest game of the weekend.

The clash will be played at Wembley, Spurs’ temporary home, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to beat United home and away in a league season for the first time in 29 years!

United have not won at Spurs in six attempts and this includes the game there in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season. It’s their worst record away at any other Premier League side during the same period, thay have also lost their last three at Spurs.

However, the Red Devils have turned over a new leaf under new head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær and they will be looking to continue their winning run under their new boss and former player.

French World Cup winner Paul Pogba has scored four and assisted three in just four games since Solskjær’s arrival, bettering his record prior to that which stood at three goals and three assists in 14 games!

Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored 21 goals in 42 appearances against “big six” sides, but has scored only twice against United in nine games.

This is also Son Heung-min's last game before he departs for the Asian Cup* (see footnote), and though they'll miss him, the timing is such that they'll have him available for this important fixture.

Real good soccer

With Serie A and the Bundesliga still on their winter break, we look to La Liga for our fix from the continent this weekend.

Real Madrid lost at home to Real Sociedad last week, and this weekend they will face another Real in the shape of Betis.

Quique Setién’s side are one of the most entertaining in the league to watch, and may fancy their chances at home to Los Blancos on Sunday evening.

Elsewhere, Barcelona face Eibar — a team they have faced eight times and defeated eight times. The Blaugrana will remain top of the league even if they lose, but second place Atlético de Madrid will be looking to keep the pressure on the league leaders when they host Levante.

A heavyweight clash in Portugal

It may not be considered the Portuguese Classico, and neither is it a local rivalry, but meetings between Sporting and Porto are among the biggest games in the country.

They are part of Os Três Grandes, or The Big Three, along with Sporting’s Lisbon rivals Benfica.

Sporting may be the least successful of these three sides, but their ambition is no less, and they could have a big say in the title race this season.

Porto will travel to Lisbon on Saturday having won nine in a row, and they will be looking to make it ten.

But Sporting have a chance to derail the league leader's run, which will not only benefit themselves as they sit in fourth, but also third place Benfica and Braga who currently lie second.

It's Dragões vs Leões in Portugal, and it's worth looking out for.

No soccer in America? Think again

It may be the off-season for Major League Soccer sides, but that doesn’t mean there is no soccer taking place this weekend.

We discussed the US Open Cup in our cup competition special last week, and there is still one game to play in the third round of qualifying involving the various amateur clubs who have entered the competition for 2019.

Motagua New Orleans will face Dallas based NTX Rayados at the Pan-American Stadium in New Orleans. This will be the last game in the competition until the fourth round of qualifying begins in April.

There is also another tie, between California United FC II and Cal FC, being replayed next week (16th) because the original game was suspended in the 89th minute when stadium lights went out due to a local curfew!

Asian Cup fixtures


Palestine vs Australia
Philippines vs China
Kyrgyzstan vs South Korea


Vietnam vs Iran
Yemen vs Iraq
Lebanon vs Saudi Arabia


North Korea vs Qatar
Oman vs Japan
Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan


India vs Bahrain
United Arab Emirates vs Thailand