Games between Tottenham and Manchester United are always full of entertainment. They are bright and lively and this one was no different. Here are the five talking points from this match:
1) Spurs’ Resilience: Tottenham Hotspur is markedly different under Andre Villas-Boas than they were under Harry Redknapp. They play a different style of football and a new weapon in their armour is resilience.
They were down 1-0 after 24 minutes but their body language was brilliant throughout. In the second- half, they kept at their task doggedly and they got their reward when Clint Dempsey scored in the 92nd minute to give them a point from this match.
They gave United a taste of their own medicine and are the only side this year (as of now) to have not been defeated by United over both legs. They’ve conceded more than one goal in a game only once since they were thrashed 5-2 by Arsenal and such solidity at the back coupled with their formidable attack would see them being strong contenders for the coveted fourth-spot come May.
2) Dempsey And Lennon The Stars For Spurs: Dempsey and Aaron Lennon worked their socks off in this game. All the pre-match hype was about Gareth Bale but he was markedly off-colour. It was Lennon who was a constant thorn in United’s backside with Patrice Evra clearly struggling to contain him.
Lennon’s been in good form this season and it showed with his swift, decisive movements and good crosses troubling the away side frequently. He showed good presence of mind to pick out Dempsey in the 92nd minute to turn the ball into the goal.
He could’ve gone for glory himself but his smart choice saw his side take a deserved point from the game. Dempsey deserved a goal for his efforts and was duly rewarded. The good form of these two bodes well for the Champions League hopes of Spurs.
3) Good Defensive Showing From Both Sides: United-Spurs games are known more for the brilliant goals and attacking prowess on display. This game bucked the trend with both sets of defences showing their class. United defended very well and didn’t look the side that had conceded 29 goals in the Premier League before the game.
David De Gea and the centre-backs were in good form and were rock solid throughout the game. Phil Jones and Micale Carrick did a great job screening the back four and their hard work saw Spurs finding it tough to get a goal in the game.
Nemanja Vidic's good showing would be a big boost to United what with the games against Real Madrid looming on the horizon and other games starting to come thick and fast. All in all, it was a good defensive showing from United and they should look to continue like this in the other games.
Tottenham were great here as well with Michael Dawson being the stand out performer. He was a rock at the back and the agility and awareness of the Spurs defenders saw United get only 5 shots at goal. Scott Parker did a great job as well. Such a strong showing would have gladdened their manager and fans alike.
4) Title Race And Fourth Sport: The title race took a new twist with United seeing their lead cut to five points. The collapse at the fag end of last season would be fresh in their minds and the players and the manager alike would be loath to let Manchester City into the game again.
However, the performance by United was disciplined and smart and they almost came away with the three points. All in all, it was a good showing and if they were to continue in this vein for the remaining fifteen matches, they ought to win their 20th title easily.
Their fixture list is pretty simple but what’s on paper needn’t necessarily be so in reality. Guarding against complacency would be the foremost concern for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Tottenham are 4th at the moment and are doing pretty well. They are in good form and if they continue to perform this well then it would be very hard for sides like Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton to take the 4th spot away from them.
5) United’s Pragmatic Approach: The team selection left a lot of fans (including yours truly) quite puzzled. No wingers, Jones as CDM and the absence of Wayne Rooney from the starting line-up were the main pieces of news with regards to the starting line-up.
But the way the team adjusted itself was amazing. Danny Welbeck was put on the right wing and he performed very well, continuing from his good show vs. Liverpool last weekend. Tom Cleverley was played wide left and he made his presence felt when he drifted over to the right unmarked and provided a perfect cross for Robin van Persie to head into the net.
The main aim was to stop the rampaging Gareth Bale and United by and large kept him quiet. Shinji Kagawa was played in the CAM role and his performance, though not spectacular, showed someone who is slowly but surely coming into form.
United did not go in with their all too familiar 4-4-2 and the pragmatism almost paid off. It was a team set out to get a 1-0 away win and had it not been for the brilliance of Lennon and Dempsey, their objective would have been met.
Overall this game was a good match with both sides going with the intent of winning. It ended with a fair 1-1 draw and both sides would be happy with the performance they displayed. They did their respective ambitions no harm at all.
By Yashasvee Prasad @yash647