Man United move into second with win over Spurs
To find the last time Tottenham overcame Manchester United in the league, one has to travel back to 2001.
A Willem Korsten brace and a strike from Les Ferdinand sealed a final day victory for Spurs over the Red Devils. It’s a feat the London side has been unable to replicate in 14 league games.
The recent rise of Harry Redknapp’s men to the summit of the Premier League suggested that this disappointing run could come to an end in the Premier League’s evening kick off.
Tottenham approached the game with a 100% record while United were looking to play catch-up after a surprise defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor.
Harry Redknapp persisted with Peter Crouch partnering Jermain Defoe upfront while Robbie Keane was assigned the graveyard shift on the left wing.
It was a tactical decision that contributed to Spurs’ failure to impose themselves on the United defence.
Jermain Defoe’s goal after 40 seconds proved a false dawn for the home side.
An immediate attack from Spurs saw the ball pumped into the away side’s box. Nemanja Vidic challenged Crouch in the air but only succeeded in knocking the ball down to the in-form Defoe.
The striker attempted an outrageous bicycle kick with his back to goal which dropped into the net past a stationary Ben Foster.
After the opener, tackles from Wilson Palacios and Paul Scholes ensured the tie reverted to a scrappy affair. Indeed a needless free kick conceded by Palacios allowed the mercurial left foot of Ryan Giggs a sight on goal.
The Welshman whipped a delightful free kick into the right corner of Carlo Cudicini’s net. The Italian powerless to prevent the United equaliser.
Despite the inevitable chorus of jeers, Dimitar Berbatov was enjoying one of his best performances in a red shirt. The Bulgarian displayed some of the guile and grace which had earned him rave reviews while at White Hart Lane.
An Evra cross found Rooney whose effort was blocked by Cudicini. The resulting rebound presented Berbatov with an empty net to aim at but Bassong cleared on the line before the Bulgarian blazed the resulting chance over the bar.
Manchester United did finally reap the rewards of a sustained period of pressure.
A speculative ‘Scholes special’ was cleared by King but only to the awaiting Anderson who rifled a low drive past a helpless Cudicini to edge the away side into the lead just before half time.
Redknapp decided to persevere with Crouch and Defoe up front as the second half commenced. Keane gradually drifted into the centre hoping to become more involved in the match.
Unfortunately for Spurs, the defensive duo of Ferdinand and Vidic were successfully able to numb the threat of the home side’s front pair.
Even the fortuitous sending off of Paul Scholes for a clash with Palacios could not inspire Tottenham to a revival. They resulted to long hopeful balls which were easily cleared.
The arrival of Kranjcar for Keane should have added an injection of flair into the Spurs side. But the Croatian proved largely ineffective.
Indeed it was the away side that looked more dangerous despite their one man disadvantage.
A decisive long range pass from the impressive Darren Fletcher found Rooney who easily left Alan Hutton in his wake, subsequently slotting the ball through the legs of Cuidicini and into the gaping net.
United professionally saw the match out, snuffing out any attacks. The result brought to an end Tottenham’s perfect start with United rising to second in the league.