BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 10TH APRIL, 2016
(4.30pm - 4pm kick-off delayed due to United coach being stuck in traffic)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(0) MANCHESTER UNITED 0(0)
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- S. Burt & E. Smart
Fourth official:- J. Moss
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Lamela (sub Chadli, 87), Alli (sub Mason, 90+3), Eriksen; Kane (sub Son, 89)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Wimmer; Carroll
Booked:- Rose (foul on Darmian), Walker (unsporting conduct), Alli (simulation)
Man Utd(4-2-3-1):- De Gea; Fosu-Mensah (sub Darmian, 68), Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Carrick (Capt.); Mata (sub Memphis, 76), Lingard, Martial; Rashford (sub Young, 46)
Subs not used:- Romero; Valencia; Herrera, Fellaini
Booked:- Darmian (foul on Kane), Memphis (unsporting conduct), Young (foul on Rose)
The fat lady is not singing yet!
Spurs' Premier League title hopes had been blunted, if not totally destroyed in the early game today, when Leicester did something other than win 1-0 (they made it 2-0 in added time) when they beat Sunderland at The Stadium of Light. Manchester United, who as we all know, are not the team they used to be, did a good job of nullifying Spurs efforts to score until Pochettino's boys took the game by storm and scored three goals in six sensational second half minutes. The fat lady is back in the dressing room, and it is not time for her to sing yet!
Today's three points puts us 12 points above United, and a further one point above sixth placed West Ham. Both those teams have six games to play, but surely the gap is too big for them to make up now, isn't it? Mind you, we will have to hope that West Ham can take something off Leicester next week.
The Spurs crowd was not deflated by the earlier result, and despite the chants of United fans of "Now you're gonna believe us, you nearly won the league", Spurs had the last laugh by singing "Champions League, you're having a laugh". Many United fans left well before the final whistle, and they know they have a big challenge to try and catch Man City in the Champions' League places.
Mauricio Pochettino sprung a little surprise by selecting Jan Vertonghen for a return to action, after three months' absence, which is hard on Kevin Wimmer, who has been an excellent stand-in. Erik Lamela replaced Son, and this was definitely Pochettino's first choice team.
On the other hand, Louis van Gaal maintained his confidence in Marcus Rashford up front (although he replaced the striker with a winger at half-time). Van Gaal also gave 18 year old Tomothy Fosu-Mensah (a Dutch under 19 international) a start at right back. The likes of Rooney and Schweinsteiger are known injury absentees. Former Spur Michael Carrick captained the United team, who kicked off, playing towards the Paxton Road Stand.
Anthony Martial, playing from the left of midfield, made a run into the edge of the Spurs area after 4 minutes, and after his shot was blocked, Lingard's follow-up was also cleared. United dominated the early possession, and won two corners, both taken by Daley Blind, but competently dealt with by the Tottenham defence. The game was being tightly contested in the midfield, but Spurs made more progress after the opening 15 minutes.
In tight situations, Spurs moved the ball forward well. Firstly, Harry Kane had the ball up well and passed to Lamela, who moved the ball to Eriksen in a central position. Eriksen quickly switched the play to Danny Rose on the left, whose cross won a corner. From that corner, Lamela tried to put in Harry Kane, but Harry was flagged offside.
After 18 minutes, Mousa Dembele fed Rose on the left, and Danny's shot was just wide across De Gea's goal. Dembele did well again, this time towards the right hand side in a central position, passing inside to Eriksen, who again passed to Rose, whose cross was held this time by De Gea.
Rose then hit a great cross-field ball to Kyle Walker, who got almost to the bye-line, passing back to Eriksen, who tried a right footed shot which went just wide. Eriksen had an effort saved after hard work by both Lamela and Rose on the left, with a final assist by Dele Alli. Lamela was the guilty of heading wide from an Eriksen cross, when to score looked easier.
United had not posed any threat at all after that opening foray, but they generally nullified any Spurs attacks. Alderweireld cleared the ball to Eriksen, who sent a good ball down the right to Walker. Kyle got into the box, but his shot was cleared.
Lamela sent a long ball down the left for Danny Rose, and go into the box to receive the final pass from Dele Alli, but United cleared. Just before the break, Harry Kane was fouled and Eriksen took the kick, which passed through the defence and out for a goal-kick.
It was Ashley Young who replaced Rashford, but to no good effect for United. Spurs manage to out the visitors under some pressure five minutes into the second half, with Eriksen having a shot punched out by De Gea, who then saved Eric Dier's drive from outside the box in the follow-up play. Another good result for Spurs' Champions' League prospects was the fact that Dier avoided that dreaded tenth booking before the amnesty which comes into force before our next game, thus lifting the threat of a two-match suspension.
Harry Kane had a good effort saved after turning following Dembele's ball, and testing the United keeper. Rose again had been the initial instigator of the attack.
Lingard had a rare United shot which passed wide, after Martial had passed inside from the left. Lingard had another effort three minutes later which was blocked, and his attempted follow-up was easy for Hugo Lloris.
Danny Rose had a powerful cross deflected and saved by De Gea after 65 minutes. On the other side, Kyle Walker chased a ball to the line and his cross could only be parried by De Gea. Eriksen fired over.
The United right back Fosu-Mensah needed treatment and was replaced by Darmian.
Now we saw the Tottenham storm, where three goals were scored in the space of 6 minutes. Two of them were scored in quick-fire fashion too! Firstly Eriksen received the ball on the left, and quickly passed inside to Dele Alli, who had got goal-side of the defence, firing home past the helpless keeper.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. Harry Kane was fouled out on the 'effort and it was Lamela, not Eriksen, who took the kick and swung it to the back post where Toby Alderweireld met the cross with the perfect header just inside De Gea's left post.
Two minutes later, United's misery and Spurs' victory was complete when Danny Rose crossed low and hard, and Lamela side-footed the ball past the goalkeeper for a convincing 3-0.
Spurs weren't easing up either. Harry Kane had a header tipped over from another Lamela free kick. Then Vertonghen's header from an Eriksen corner was punched out by the busy United keeper. Lamela, Alli and Kane were all close together as Lamela advanced upon the right side of the box. Lamela took on the chance but pushed his shot outside the post.
There was a melee deep in the Spurs half when Kyke Walker and Memphis Depay contested a throw-in. Both players went into referee Mike Dean's book.
Both Lamela and Kane attacked the back post for a cross by Dele Alli, and The ball actually hit the outside of the post but had already gone out of play.
There were three late substitutions for Spurs, including that of Harry Kane who had been hobbling a bit, and of Dele Alli, who got a booking for diving when trying to reach Dembele's chance in the box.
At the end of the day, we have no control over the success or failures of Leicester City now, and just have to do our job as best we can to prolong the title chase, which is not yet over.
This was a welcome first home win over United in 15 years, and our first home win against them "in anger" for even longer. A Ginola-inspired 3-1 League Cup win in 98-99, and a New Year's Day 4-1 win in the mid nineties come to mind.
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