BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER, 2012
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2)
Man Utd scorers:-
Evans (o.g), 2
Referee:- Mr. Chris Foy
Assistants:- Mr. A. Garratt & Mr. H. Lennard
Fourth official:- Mr. M. Clattenburg
Man Utd (4-4-1-1):- Lindegaard; Rafael, Ferdinand (sub Hernandez, 90), Evans, Evra (Capt.); Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs (sub Rooney, 46); Kagawa (sub Welbeck, 78); Van Persie
Subs not used:- De Gea; Wootton; Anderson, Cleverley
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Friedel; Walker, Gallas (Capt.), Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro, Dembele (sub Huddlestone, 83); Lennon, Dempsey (sub Sigurdsson, 69), Bale; Defoe (sub Dawson, 90)
Subs not used:- Lloris; Mason, Falque, Townsend
The new History boys!
Step aside Gary Lineker! Three different players have taken your place in the annals of Spurs history by being the scorers the last time Spurs won a game at Old Trafford! New star Jan Vertonghen(since deemed an OG by Evans), Gareth Bale, and Clint Dempsey were the Spurs scorers in this magnificent first win in 23 years, and only Spurs fourth ever win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s team in the Premier League. Those of us fortunate enough to have been there, and those of you who watched a fantastic game of football that lived up to all the old glamorous words associated with this match, experienced one of the greatest results in our memories. This result ranks alongside beating Arsenal at The Emirates, beating Man City to qualify for The Champions League, and beating AC Milan in the San Siro. I shall never forget this day!
Andre Villas Boas has achieved in one stroke what Harry Redknapp, Martin Jol, and a long preceding chain of Spurs managers failed to do. In doing so, he has surely sent the negative media hacks skulking after another story of alleged doom. The Spurs team has achieved the most fantastic confidence and morale boosting victory they could hope for. They’ve climbed to fifth place overnight, and have been unbeaten since Day One of this season. Contrary to one of two dodgy reports seen today, the players seem to be relishing the new playing style and strategy.
AVB reverted to his best available players for this game, giving a great display of confidence to Steven Caulker, appearing in his fourth consecutive game. Caulker has responded to that faith and already has the memory of playing well against Lazio, and now at Old Trafford in front of a full house and in a winning team at Old Trafford. Jan Vertonghen took on the left back role once again.
United fielded Van Persie up front supported by the excellent Kagawa, with Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez on the bench held in reserve. Ultimately, all would be deployed, and by the time Hernandez appeared in added time, it was a last throw of the dice for Fergie, who withdrew Rio Ferdinand at that point. Fergie has players missing, but perhaps relied too much on old legs today.
Spurs had a dream start, and perhaps their fastest ever goal scored at Old Trafford, when Vertonghen powered forward down the left channel, had a one-two with Gareth Bale on his left, then made a bee-line towards goal, beating one player and hitting a shot that took a touch off Evans to beat Lindegaard, replacing De Gea today. It was a sensational start, celebrated raucously by the travelling fans, who sang their hearts out throughout this game.(This goal was subsequently adjudged by the Dubious goals panel as an Evans own goal)
Spurs were the superior team in that first half, with Vertonghen getting forward often, and to good effect. He also brought cheers with another one of the bust-a gut tackles that so excite the fans. Sandro was a bit special too, winning almost every ball that came his way, then carrying it forward with good intent and a good measure of passing success. Bale and Lennon constantly worried the full backs. Dempsey received a ball after 7 minutes and hit a good shot just outside the post. Lennon made a good run and hit a cross/shot that won a corner.
Van Persie did have a half chance from the left side of goal, but under challenge from Gallas, hit his shot wide across Friedel. Van Persie crumpled under the challenge, and was waiting for treatment, whilst the Spurs fans chanted “She said No”. Walker won a free kick on the right, which was taken by Bale, and headed over the bar by Vertonghen. Then, in the 32nd minute, Sandro won the ball just outside the Spurs area, passing it to Dembele, who passed Scholes, carried the ball and fed it to Bale, who had advanced ahead of Dembele, and then raced towards the right side of goal, beating Lindegaard with his right footed shot to the far corner for a 2-0 lead.
Spurs had taken a two goal lead here in April 2009, and have held leads on other occasions against United, so we all knew that there was plenty of work left to be done. Rooney could be seen warming up, as Nani first of all sought a penalty, which was denied, but subsequently hit a shot which Friedel held cleanly.
That Rooney substitution did indeed take place immediately after the interval, when he replaced Giggs. Rooney moved up beside Van Persie and Kagawa nominally played from the left, but could surface all over the place in the same way as we often see with Bale. United controlled possession now, but the tempo was moderate at this stage, and Spurs were happy to keep batting the home side away, without keeping possession and attacking with the same vigour as they had shown in the first half.
Gradually United built the tempo, and there was a mad two minutes when three goals were scored. Firstly in the 51st minute, Nani got on the end of Rooney’s cross from the right. Spurs responded immediately to restore their two goal lead, when Defoe sent Bale away. Bale hit a left footed shot that Lindegaard could only parry to the feet of Clint Dempsey who made no mistake and celebrated with gusto in front of the away support. There was no time to take breath before Kagawa was put through by Van Persie on the left side of the box. The Japanese player fired home with glee. I don’t think I have ever heard so much noise in a Man Utd v Tottenham game at Old Trafford, and for much of the remaining time, it was edge of the seat stuff for Spurs. Van Persie even had the ball in the net on one occasion, but had clearly been flagged offside before he struck home.
The officials, led by Chris Foy (not Hoy) had a good game, showing the strength to resist the ever increasing crowd pressure for decisions, including three or four penalty shouts. Rooney tried a right footed shot from 22 yards, which Friedel held cleanly. After a foul on Kagawa, Rooney beat the wall and Friedel with a free kick which rebounded off Friedel’s right post. Rooney hit another shot wide after Nani’s cross from the right, following another free kick. Van Persie hit another shot wide from the left side of goal.
Dempsey was replaced by Sigurdsson, but Spurs looked as if they needed re-inforcements in defence. They got forward occasionally, with half-chances falling to Lennon and Defoe, but it was mostly backs to the wall stuff from a resolute Spurs defence. Friedel made a good save from a low shot by Scholes, and then following a corner it looked as if Carrick’s header had hit the post and come back out. Friedel was equal to Evra’s headed effort.
Huddlestone had replaced Dembele and sent Defoe clear with a good pass out of defence. Defoe wanted to take the ball to his right, instead of shooting earlier, and united managed to clear. We got four minutes of “Fergie time” and although Sir Alex has complained about the lack of added time, the referee actually played nearly five extra minutes. Spurs saw that time out, and there were of course great celebrations at the end, with the players rightfully acknowledging the fans’ support.
It is a little early to be drawing final conclusions as I write, but Jan Vertonghen is leading the Spurs Odyssey vote for man of the match, which would give him that title for the fifth time in his seven games so far this season. “Super Jan Vertonghen” has won the hearts of Spurs fans, who also sang “He came from Amsterdam, to play for Tottenham”.
In truth, words cannot truly convey the experience of “being there” today, but bearing in mind my preview, it is great to be writing not “This time next year it will be different”, but “This time next year, let’s do it again!”
COME ON YOU SPURS, AND COME ON AVB! It’s your blue and white army now, you know.
P.S – We’ve gone into fifth place, and we are above the gooners too:)
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