Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey Match Report - Man Utd v Spurs - Carling Cup 5th Round - 01.12.09
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Man Utd v Spurs, 01.12.09


Gibson, 16, 38

Attendance:- 57,212

Referee:- Mark Clattenburg

Man Utd (4-4-2):- Kuszczak; Neville (Capt.), Brown, Vidic, De Laet; Obertan (sub Carrick, 62), Gibson, Anderson (sub Tosic, 82), Park; Wellbeck, Berbatov (sub Macheda, 62)

Subs not used:- Amos; Giggs, Fletcher; Owen

Booked:- De Laet (foul on Lennon), Gibson (foul on Lennon)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Bassong, Bale; Bentley, Palacios (sub Huddlestone, 46), Jenas, Lennon; Defoe, Keane (Capt.) (sub Crouch, 66) (Armband to Dawson)
Subs not used:- Walker; Corluka, Naughton; Rose; Pavlyuchenko

Booked:- Hutton

Out of tune Spurs stunned by Gibson

Spurs suffered their third Cup defeat of 2009 against Manchester United last night and it was inflicted by probably the weakest of the three teams they have faced in those games. Double goal-scorer Darron Gibson, who did play at Wembley in last season’s Carling Cup Final has appeared just three times for United so far this season, and yet hardly celebrated either of his goals. Spurs fielded a stronger side than expected but played Lennon on the left to accommodate Bentley, but despite early domination of possession in front of a relatively low crowd of 57,212, Spurs had little sting. The game was flat a lot of the time and had the air of a practice match.

A lot of the empty seats were down to Spurs not taking their full allocation, and the usual away area was empty, whilst we were placed in the more expensive upper tier, which did afford an excellent view of the game. Perhaps Spurs had been instructed to take Harry Redknapp’s words to heart, where he had been quoted as wanting to concentrate on the league, and take what comes regarding any cup run. Only Hutton, Bale and Bentley can truly be regarded as Spurs players needing to make an impression, whereas the United team was far better motivated, playing a zippy passing game, despite the greater proportion of inexperience on display.

Even Berbatov demonstrated far more desire than he ever did at Tottenham, playing the deeper of the two strikers, and acting as provider for Wellbeck and the runs of Obertan on the right wing, Gibson and Anderson in the middle, and Ji-Sung Park on the United left. Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson’s master card was the presence and domination of Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic at the back, neutralising most of Spurs efforts when they got near the box.

It was so depressing that I even heard more from the United crowd than Spurs as the game progressed, and had been lost! Maybe because of the nature of the game more of their real fans made it to the game, rather than the “prawn sandwich brigade”

United threatened within a minute as a below par Wilson Palacios gifted the ball to Anderson, who made a central run before releasing a good low shot, just outside Gomes’ right post. Next it was Park providing for Gibson to try an early shot, which again passed Gomes’ right post. Lennon won a Spurs corner, and after it was taken he sent in a good cross that was just too far in front of Keane. Defoe had a shot on target which Kuszczak saved going to hiss right. Bale demonstrated pace and skill in getting to the bye line and winning a corner, but sadly the kick was not good by Bentley, who for some reason (presumably instructions) was not often to be found in front of Hutton, but working down the right channel.

Palacios made another bad error after 11 minutes and gave the ball away to Berbatov, who fed Wellbeck, who was dispossessed by Hutton. United’s first goal came somewhat out of the blue (as did the second really), when Anderson passed inside and Gibson was afforded too much space in which to fire a shot past Gomes into his right corner. Spurs tried to respond through good work by Jenas and Lennon, whose cross reached Defoe. Defoe’s shot was well blocked by De Laet, a 21 year old Belgian who found his way to United via Stoke last season.

Lennon got another good ball in after half an hour and Robbie Keane had several touches taking the ball across the area looking for a shot, but well thwarted by Vidic. Berbatov was providing again, and this time it was Park who got a shot, but wide. Gibson put United two up with a similar goal, in too much space with too much time, after Wellbeck’s pass. This time he planted the shot to the left of Gomes. That was game over surely, as Spurs haven’t scored three at Old Trafford for 20 years.

Huddlestone replaced Palacios at half-time, but to be honest United now had more of the possession and were on top without over-stretching. Kuszczak did have a shot from Bentley to deal with, after Bale’s pass, but the level of desire on Spurs’ part was not what we wanted to see. The Bale-Bentley combination was in action again after 64 minutes, but this time Bentley’s header did not bother the keeper. Spurs improved a bit with Lennon now playing down the right hand side, but despite the arrival of Crouch for Keane, they managed no meaningful attempts on goal.

We can only hope to see our team properly fired up on Sunday at Goodison Park, where three points are very much on the agenda. I certainly hope to see consistent desire for a Champions League place from here on in.

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