Manchester United looked like in buoyant mood when Spurs travelled to Old Trafford. United have won their last four league games after losing the opening match of the season to Everton and Sir Alex seemed like he has sent out a team with intent after a mid week win over Galatasaray in the Champions League.
United started with Lindegaard in goal, a sight that is familiar to United fans now in the league after De Gea has been relegated to Champions League and Capital One Cup outings.
Vidic is still out for United so Evans keeps his spot along side Ferdinand, Evra and Rafael in defence.
There was a surprise start in midfield for veteran Ryan Giggs on the left wing, with Nani moving to the right. Scholes partnered Carrick in midfield with Kagawa starting over Rooney to support van Persie in attack.
Spurs were not pushovers though, with new signings Dembele and Dempsey both playing giving them a huge physical presence over United in midfield. Spurs are most effective going down the wings with pacy players like Lennon, Bale and Walker looking to create problems for United’s fullbacks.
And indeed it was another new Spurs signing, Vertonghen, playing as a left back that started the ball rolling by scoring in the second minute. The Belgian international picked up the ball in his own half and want on a marauding run past Nani and Carrick before escaping the attention of Rafael and slotting the ball past Lindegaard.
Sir Alex must have hoped that United would come out of their slumber with a response but things got worse in the half hour mark.
Scholes lost the ball in the middle of the park to Dembele and the midfielder laid the ball off to Bale who out paced Ferdinand to run straight into the heart of the United defence and calmly placed the ball past Lindegaard with his right foot.
United struggled to create anymore chances in the first half and went into the half 2-0 down.
Sir Alex must have wished that he started Rooney instead because when the Englishman came on at half time replacing the ineffective Giggs, it sparked an amazing turn of events that almost went United’s way.
Six minutes into the second half, Rooney collected the ball on the right wing and sent a delicious cross for Nani to poke the ball home past Spurs keeper Friedel.
It seemed like an amazing come back was on the cards with that game in 2001 still seemingly so fresh in everyone’s mind.
But it all started to backfire for United when they started to pour players upfront to find the equalizer. A minute after Nani scored United’s first goal, Defoe broke free and fed Bale who fired a shot that was well saved by Lindegaard only for him to parry it into the path of an unmarked Clint Dempsey. The American international could not miss and put Spurs 3-1 up.
Spur’s third goal failed to knock the wind out of United and they capped off an amazing three minutes of football by scoring a minute after Dempsey’s goal. van Persie found Kagawa at the edge of Spurs box and the Japanese knocked home United’s second goal of the night.
United and especially Rooney weren’t going to give up without a fight though. The second half was almost played entirely in the Spur’s half and Rooney struck a freekick which came off the post. Soon after, Carrick put van Persie through only for him to scuff his shot with his favoured left foot.
Scholes managed a shot from the edge of the box which was well saved by Friedel and late on, Carrick had a looping header that came off the crossbar from a van Persie corner.
In the end, United couldn’t find the goals they need past the well marshalled Spurs defence and it marked a first win at Old Trafford for the North London team in 23 years.
Has seemingly made the Premier League games starting spot his over de Gea. Wasn’t really tested during the game besides picking the ball out of his net three times. Was on hand to block Bale’s shot in the second half but only manage to knock the ball down to Dempsey for Spur’s third goal. Defence really need to protect him better.
Had a torrid time marking Bale and Vertonghan and had trouble tracking back against Vertonghan for Spur’s first goal. He was out of position when Defoe broke free in the second half and Ferdinand had to cover him thus exposing space for Dempsey to capitalize.
Continue to start alongside Ferdinand as Vidic is out for two months. Did well in most instances but could have done better covering his keeper for Spur’s first goal. Was tricked by a Defoe with a deceiving run to allow Bale to run free in United’s box. Needs to improve communication and play with Ferdinand to marshall the defence better.
Was horribly exposed by Spur’s pacy players, especially Bale when he literally ran past Ferdinand to score. Had a decent second half but couldn’t be blamed for going out of position for Spur’s third goal. He is strong with reading the game but it’s useless when faster players like Lennon and Bale just skips past him with ease.
Had a decent game and even though Lennnon is very quick winger and probably hard to mark, Evra kept him in bay and made sure that most of the danger came from Spur’s left side of the field.
Played a much better game compared to his disastrous performance against Liverpool the previous week. Polished up on his crossing and even though still had a tendency to take on defenders instead of making a pass, his decisions in this game are a huge improvement. Managed to score a goal in the second and this should do his confidence no harm.
Was largely disappointingly in the first half with physical players like Dembele and Dempsey running the show for Spurs. Had a better second half dictating the play in midfield, spraying the passes with laser like accuracy and even managed a classic half volley shot on goal which was well blocked by Friedel. Have no idea how we’re going to replace Scholes.
Was largely anonymous like Scholes in the first half and picked up his game in the second half. Was unlucky to have a corner came off the crossbar late in the game.
Another quiet game for the Japanese. Played most of the match with his back to goal and play simple effective passes. When he did try to make runs with the ball, he was easily bundled over by the bigger and stronger opponents. Did well to score a goal though but it seems Kagawa needs to find a more effective way around stronger opponents.
Simply doesn’t have the pace to play along the left wing anymore and was ineffective through the first half. Kyle Walker had an easy job keeping Giggs quiet in the first half and it seems that the Welshman would be much more effective in the middle of the park for United.
Robin van Persie
Was isolated in the first half of the game and couldn’t really do much and had to drop deep to get the ball. Had a couple of chances in the second half after Rooney came on but had one effort ruled out for offside and he missed horribly when put through by Carrick.
Wayne Rooney for Ryan Giggs
Danny Welbeck for Shinji Kagawa
Javier Hernandez for Rio Ferdinand