A match up of two Champions League hopefuls who haven’t had the first half of the season that they wanted. Tottenham Hotspur went to Old Trafford in improved form since they replaced Andre Villas-Boas with Tim Sherwood, who is determined to unleash his side’s attacking nature. It was the perfect start to the new year for the new manager, with the achievement being the first time they have had back to back wins at Old Trafford since the 70s. At the other end, Manchester United are still trying to find the way under David Moyes and this result will be a huge set back for the Red Devils.
The first half panned out as many would have expected, the home side dominated possession while Spurs held strong and attempted to hit Moyes’s side on the break. For the most part, Manchester United had the better of the half, with their possession creating some decent chances.
Danny Welbeck showed his blistering pace when he skinned past Michael Dawson only for Hugo Lloris to get his captain out of trouble. Some decent passing got Chris Smalling into the box on the right and the England defender hit his shot hard and low, but Lloris was well placed to deal with it.
Tottenham finally had an attack on the 15 minute mark when Roberto Soldado played a perfectly weighted ball to Aaron Lennon running into the right side of the box. Tottenham’s winger did force a save out of David de Gea, but his shot was hit at the Spanish stopper.
Despite only seeing the ball on sporadic occasions, Tim Sherwood’s side took the lead through their man of the moment Emmanuel Adebayor when Roberto Soldado played a through ball down the right to Christian Eriksen. The Danish play-maker then chipped a cross to Adebayor who out jumped Chris Smalling inside the box to guide the ball into the bottom right corner with a cushioned header.
Tottenham had a great opportunity to double their lead when Aaron Lennon played a brilliantly pacy ball across the six yard box, but Roberto Soldado unfortunately didn’t make the correct contact when sliding in and saw his attempt go far and wide.
The second half was almost end to end with both sides forcing opportunities in the attacking third. Danny Welbeck directed a lofted ball into the box at Hugo Lloris. Danny Welbeck then attempted a simulation when he thought Tottenham defender Vlad Chiricheș stuck his leg out inside the box. There was minimal contact, but not enough for Howard Webb to give the spot kick.
Shortly after Tottenham got their second of the match when they once again counter attacked with speed and precision. Lennon drove into the right side of the box and his deflected cross into the box was headed home by Eriksen, who just beat everyone else to the ball. Seconds later, Manchester United pulled a goal back when Danny Welbeck superbly chipped Lloris inside the box after Adnan Januzaj played him in.
The home side applied pressure from every angle after their goal, with Adnan Januzaj and Rooney having chances from the edge of the box go close. Lloris and Ashley Young where at the centre of another potential penalty shout when Young beat Spurs’ goalkeeper to the ball and appeared to go down from the contact. Howard Webb waved it on and replay suggests he was right to do so.
A scramble in Tottenham’s box forced them to saves and last ditched tackles while Aaron Lennon kept United’s defenders honest when he used his dribbling skills to force a shooting opportunity comfortably saved by de Gea. Hugo Lloris was forced into more great saves, one from Nemanja Vidić’s header from a corner down to his right and another from a Rooney shot.
In the end Manchester United couldn’t find the goal to go on level terms and the way Tottenham attempted to attack the home side, the result was justified. Moyes still has work to do, while Sherwood is off to a flyer with Arsenal to come up next in the FA Cup.