Match Reaction: Spurs v Manchester United

Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw on a snowy afternoon in London thanks to another goal from signing of the season Robin van Persie, and a stoppage time equalizer from Tottenham’s Clint Dempsey.

Sir Alex made one change to the team that dispatched Liverpool without much effort last week, bringing Phil Jones into midfield for Ashley Young, pairing him in a diamond formation with Cleverley on the left, Carrick and Welbeck on the right. De Gea kept his run of league games going behind Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic and Rafael, whilst Kagawa played off Robin van Persie up front.

The sodden conditions made for an old fashioned game of football, full of difficult bounces and clashing challenges. It was Spurs who created the first real chance of the game as Lennon brought down a measured cross-field ball from Bale and drove inside towards goal. His long-range effort was saved by De Gea who got down well to his left, but pushed the ball into the path of Defoe who could only scuff his follow-up into the Spaniard’s hands. The save was impressive, but De Gea must get out of a habit he has of pushing the ball out to waiting attacker. He will learn as he gains more experience, but a split second judgement should be made as to whether he can gather the ball, or deflect it for a corner rather than back into the danger area.

United took the lead in the 25th minute with the fastest move of the game to that point. Kagawa fed Carrick who pushed the ball out wide to Welbeck who had just switched wings with Cleverley. Danny cut back across the box and slide the ball to Cleverley who whipped in a Beckham-esque cross from the right onto the head of Robin van Persie who had pealed off Kyle Walker at Tottenham’s back post to head past Lloris.

The Reds were good value for their lead with Carrick and Jones particularly effective in midfield. Jones had clearly been deployed deep and wide to restrict the running room given to Bale after his driving run and goal in the home leg of this fixture earlier in the year, and performed his duties almost flawlessly adding some weight to the argument that his best position may yet turn out to be defensive midfield. Carrick excelled himself once again in his role as ‘mop-up man/possession-recycler’.

De Gea made two further world class saves before half-time, the first resulting from a shot from an improbably angle by Defoe, and then a superb reaction stop as Bale drove a shot from the edge of the box through a crowd of bodies, leading to a deflection off Ferdinand just metres in front of De Gea.

Spurs pushed higher and higher up the field in the second half, looking for the equaliser. After 60 minutes, with his team under near constant assault, Sir Alex replaced Kagawa with Rooney who was almost instantly fouled by Steven Caulker inside Tottenham’s box. It was a clear penalty, and a bad mistake from linesman Simon Beck who some will remember as the idiot that failed to flag Didier Drogba offside when he was a good 3 yards off several years ago. So unlike the FA to reward incompetence with continued employment.. oh..

Sir Alex made a further change in the 74th minute bringing off Cleverley for Valencia who once again looked an absolute shell of the player he can be, and was noticeably off the pace with both his runs and passing for the 20 minutes he was on the field.

Spurs pushed on and on, whilst United shrank back into themselves, perhaps hoping to build on their sturdy defensive performance when Liverpool were pushing late on last weekend. However it was not meant to be. With just 7 seconds left of the three additional minutes, Benoit Assou-Ekotto hit a hopeful ball to the back post which De Gea came to punch away, but could only glance to Lennon who squared to Dempsey for the easy finish in the corner of the net.

Should De Gea have done better? Perhaps. He had had great command of his area for the rest of the game, under terrible conditions, so the idea of the punch was a good one, it just needed to go anywhere other than to Aaron Lennon. He’s not alone in the blame-stakes though, Lennon was allowed to be in a position to receive the ball, and Dempsey was un-marked on the penalty spot – both of which, could have prevented 3 points slipping to 1.

On the balance of play though, Spurs probably deserved at least a point, and had i been offered a guarenteed point this morning before the game was played i would have happily accepted it knowing it would result in a five point gap between United and City with a relatively easy run of games coming for the red half of Manchester, and some tricky away fixtures for the noisy neighbours.

 

 

About Sam 73 Articles
MUFC ST holder N2412. Sub Editor of RedMancunian.com - Follow the first team, home and away, and the reserves and youth teams. Edinburgh Uni graduate.

10 Comments

  1. I don’t think Fergie can justifiably drag up historic complaints about match officials. I don’t think anyone would really suggest that on balance Manchester Utd. have benefited from officials decisions.

  2. It’s not Dave pushing the ball out, it’s our defenders not reacting quicker. He made some pure class saves and kept us from losing. I could see them coming back in the last ten. We all know it’s lacking in our defence and be it consistency for our Dave to know who is reliable. Man of the match for the reds, decent game as well for the conditions. Lets hope the bitters lose some confidence through Feb.

  3. Well balanced article. Sir Alex is a god (i’m a Spurs fan btw). However, I do wish he wouldn’t denigrate sides by saying United’s short comings were all the ref’s fault.

    One could easily say that had the ref applied the laws of the game Kagawa would been have shown red for his constant, and indeed crucial, fouling of Spurs players. Oh, and yes, Rooney should have been awarded a penalty for Caulker’s poor tackle.

    I’m 49 years old, and have to search my memory rigorously to remember the last time i saw a United side work so hard for a point at the Lane.

    Excuse hunter’s may point to the weather, fools might blame the officials. The truth is that the Red Devils have declined in quality (having set a very high standard) over recent years, and that the Lillywhites have improved.

    In truth It was a fierce contest. Sir Alex’s assertion that all we did was throw the ball in the box all day was clearly mean’t to suggest we lacked a degree class. If you wan’t to be thought of as the United of old, don’t sit your own half hoping to catch the inferiors on the break. Come out, be United, dazzle us with your artistry; and if you can’t don’t blame anyone but yourselves. In truth its unbecoming of a club of your stature, and poor form for a knight of the realm.

  4. Sorry but i thought Spurs were better team over the90+ minutes.Spurs created more chances and never gave up.Spurs were a little unlucky to not be ahead when Van Persie scored.Good move and play from United,but felt Spurs could and perhaps should have been ahead.Fergie blames the officials for dropping points [when does,nt he].Pity he never acknowledged the many,many times United get the decisions that are wrong in their favour.United are a great club and Fergie is a great manager but he so lets himself down and the club in for scorn with his selective blindness.Spurs supporters saw today as points dropped and not a point gained such is the buzz around the club at present.Still look at the bright side the nomads got done by the Chelski cheque books today.Reasonable weekend i think.I had a few beers and Arsene Wenger got the hump.Hope you lot stay above the blue Mancs [sand wallahs playthings].

  5. The blatant penalty wasn’t so obvious really. One Rooney was going away from goal and made the most of it. And more importantly the ref had been letting tackles like that go all game due to the conditions. On another clear day maybe he would have given it. Maybe Rooney should have stayed on his feet, collected the ball and squared for the unmarked Van Persie running into the box
    No mention of the Dempsey run into the box only to ride a foul by Evra, stay on his feet, shoot and De Gea makes a wonder save!

    • Dermot Gallagher endorsed today on Sky what Pat Nevin was trying to explain to Hansen and that other moron on last nights Match of the day. Caulker was in front of Rooney, Rooneys left foot kicked Caulker which caused him to trip Fact.No penalty should be awarded.
      Didn’t hear Fergie complain much when Carrick dived over Gomes arm a few years ago to get a penalty ,even less when Nani’s catching of the ball ,dropping it and then scoring and as for the ball being 4 foot over the line with Carroll don’t even go there. Ironic that Fergie can remember the Drogba incident.

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