Spurs out to end wretched United record
They would have been even more surprised to learn that Spurs would be unable to find a way to beat them again in 19 attempts spanning the next decade.
That, though, is the London side's pitiful record against the team they face at home on Sunday and something they really need to turn round if they are to be considered top four material, let alone potential champions.
United lead the way with 44 points from 20 games, two points ahead of Manchester City from two fewer games.
Arsenal are third on 40, Spurs fourth on 36 and champions Chelsea fifth on 35, all from 21 games.
An emotional appearance against his old club by David Beckham, who missed the 2001 fixture, will not now happen as the former England captain's loan deal with Spurs looks ever-more likely to be more of an extended training session.
Scholes has an outside chance of featuring as he recovers from a groin problem that has sidelined him since November but Giggs is likely to play.
Also back should be Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic, the latter bringing some much-needed solidity to what has looked a slightly shaky central defence in recent weeks.
Rooney scored his first club goal in open play since March 2010 when the 24-year-old England striker broke his nine-month drought on New Years' Day but picked up an ankle injury and missed the next two games.
Spurs will be hoping this season's formlines are a better indicator than the last 10 years.
They have lost at home only once, to Wigan Athletic, while United have drawn seven and won only two of their away games.
That is a record Liverpool would love to have as their 2-1 reverse at Blackpool on Wednesday left them with a sorry record of eight defeats, two draws and a solitary win from 11 away games.
The Kenny Dalglish effect has yet to kick in but after he began with an FA Cup loss at Old Trafford but he could not have scripted a better first home game in charge than to be facing city rivals Everton.
Dalglish was the scourge of the blue side of the city as a player and manager and will be desperate to bring back those memories on Sunday.
Liverpool, who sacked Roy Hodgson last Saturday, are now 13th in the standings with 25 points four above the relegation zone.
Everton are one place above them on goal difference - a sorry state of affairs for two clubs who shared so much silverware in Dalglish's days in the city.
Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard, banned after his red card against United.
Everton miss their key player too as Tim Cahill, who scored in their 2-0 derby win at Goodison Park in October, is on international duty with Australia.
Right on time though Louis Saha has finally found his shooting boots with two goals in two games, including the opener in last week's 5-1 Cup thrashing of Scunthorpe.