Manchester United kept up their 100% record in the newly formed Under 21s league with a 2-1 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Moss Lane.
United started new signing Alexander Büttner at left back, and brought Jonny Evans back into central defence after his long term injury to partner Michael Keane. Scott Wootton got the nod at right back. Sporting a 4-5-1 formation, Warren Joyce’s side was led by Kiko Macheda up top, with the wide men being an interchangeable combination of Robbie Brady and Josh King, and a midfield trio of Nick Powell, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Darren Fletcher.
United went 1-0 up almost immediately as Tunnicliffe set Kiko racing through on goal. The young Italian powered a low show at Archer, who then parried it back onto Kiko’s on-rushing chest sending the ball looping over the stricken keeper into his net.
United looked the brighter side for the rest of the first half, probing down both wings without posing too much danger. Büttner looked bright and energetic. He was constantly demanding the ball from his new team mates and looking to make attacking runs beyond his winger. Powell too showed dynamism in midfield, often arriving at the top of the box to provide an additional target for a cross from either King or Brady. Spurs carved out a few chances, but failed to sufficiently test Anders Lindegaard in United’s goal.
As Brian McClair and René Meulensteen watched from the terraces just behind us, the second half began much as the first had left off with United looking to spread the ball wide and were soon rewarded when a short pass from Macheda to Powell saw the ex-Crewe player bundled over in the box by Adam Smith leaving the referee in no doubt when awarding a penalty which Macheda cooly dispatched to give United a 2-0 lead.
Spurs then began to poor men forward looking for a way back into the game, and provoked a fantastic instinctive double save from close range by Lindegaard, the second attempt of which would have been offside. Lindegaard continues to stake his claim as the most capable ‘backup’ we’ve had at the club for sometime.
Joyce then made two substitutions firstly taking off Brady for Jesse Lingard and then a little while later, Kiko Macheda for Larnell Cole. Lingard stayed on the left, with Cole on the right, while Josh King moved up to fill Macheda’s vacated striker role.
Shortly afterwards, United conceded a penalty themselves when Scott Wootton bumped into Harry Kane in the box. Convinced as i was at the time that it was a legitimate penalty (i was stood directly behind the challenge, allbeit at the other end of the ground) RedMancunian’s @Andy_Thomo assures me that it was a soft penalty that shouldn’t have been given after watching numerous TV replays himself.
In the dying minutes of the game, Joyce made his final substitution, taking Josh King off and replacing him with Tom Thorpe in an effort to secure the victory. Spurs pressed but were unable to find the equaliser.
Team: Lindegaard, Wootton, Evans, Keane, Buttner; Fletcher, Tunnicliffe, Powell, King (Thorpe), Macheda (Cole), Brady (Lingard)
Scorer: Macheda (both goals)