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Reds resolve tested at the Lane

Posted on 16 January 2011  - 12:00

Manchester United’s unbeaten league run this season remains intact following their visit to the Lane – but the Reds cannot say they were not tested to the maximum by Harry Redknapp’s men.

Reds resolve tested at the Lane

Manchester United’s unbeaten league run this season remains intact following their visit to the Lane – but the Reds cannot say they were not tested to the maximum by Harry Redknapp’s men.

An entertaining clash did not yield a winner but for long spells it looked likely that we would be the team to break the deadlock – especially after Rafael Da Silva was sent off for the visitors 15 minutes from time.

But as it is, United reclaim their place at the top of the Premier League table on goal difference from Manchester City, while the point was not quite good enough to see us back into the top four on this occasion.

Redknapp made just one change from the defeat at Everton in our last league game 10 days ago with Wilson Palacios returning to the starting line-up in place of Jermaine Jenas.

Gareth Bale, who went off injured at Goodison Park, was deemed fit to start this one, while there was no place for Jermain Defoe despite his brace against Charlton in the FA Cup last weekend.

It meant Peter Crouch kept his place up top with Rafael van der Vaart playing the supporting role.

The game promised to be a cracker and it was played at 100 miles per hour from the first whistle. Bale breaking away for the game’s first attack but crossing straight into the arms of Edwin van der Sar.

The first big chance fell to the visitors as Dimitar Berbatov slid in Wayne Rooney, who sidestepped the challenge of William Gallas but fired wide.

But we didn’t have to wait long before we gave United a scare at the other end. Alan Hutton got forward on the right and crossed to the near post where Crouch had got in front of Nemanja Vidic but could only poke wide.

From that point on it was end-to-end stuff. A frantic half of entertainment and a few feisty encounters across the park – particularly between Rafael and Palacios, who both earned bookings for their troubles.

Heurelho Gomes made two decent saves from Rooney while Van der Sar was forced to block from Luka Modric at the near post before we registered another big chance three minutes before the break.

Van der Vaart headed into the side-netting at the near post after great work from Bale who overall seemed to have the better of his full-back Rafael.

United started the second half the stronger with Michael Carrick looping a header wide from Ryan Giggs’ cross and Rooney forcing a fine low save out of Gomes during the first five minutes.

But we soon got back into our stride and forced the visitors onto the back foot without really getting in behind. The best opportunities fell to Palacios from distance but his shooting was wayward at best.

The game swung further towards our advantage when United were reduced to 10 men on 73 minutes thanks to Rafael receiving his second booking of the afternoon for a foul on Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

It gave us added impetus and Redknapp made an attacking gamble five minutes later by introducing Defoe for Palacios.

But although Van der Vaart curled inches over and it took some excellent aerial defending from Vidic to deny Gallas, we couldn’t break the deadlock.

United had one final surge in stoppage time but Gomes came off his line well to thwart Giggs while Assou-Ekotto did well to track back and deny Rooney following a Javier Hernandez breakaway.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios (Defoe, 78), Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Jenas, Kranjcar, Pavlyuchenko

United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani (Anderson, 61), Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs; Berbatov (Hernandez, 78), Rooney
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Evans, Smalling, Scholes, Owen

Attendance: 35.828.

Referee:Mr M Dean.