Spurs 0-0 United
Report from the Lane
28 December 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
It was honours even at the Lane on Sunday afternoon as we played out a highly entertaining goalless draw against Manchester United.
Both sides had good opportunities throughout the game to take the points, United enjoying the better of the first half as our goal lead a somewhat charmed life at times, but we were much the better team in the second period and came close to breaking the deadlock as we finished the contest strongly.
In the end though, both sides had to settle for the draw as the curtain came down on our 2014.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino made four changes to the side which beat Leicester City on Boxing Day. Vlad Chiriches, Ryan Mason and Ben Davies were back in the side while Andros Townsend returned to the starting line-up for the first time since our game here against Stoke City in early November.
Before kick-off, there was a minute’s applause for Ron Henry, our Double-winning full-back who sadly passed away yesterday... and it was fitting that our opponents were Manchester United since that was the team Ron scored his one and only Spurs goal against.
There was a good tempo to the early exchanges and the first opening came after seven minutes when Harry Kane showed typical endeavour to win possession 30 yards from goal and threaded a pass through to Mason, who was under pressure from Jones and couldn’t get a clean shot away.
On 19 minutes, Juan Mata found Radamel Falcao who shot straight at Hugo Lloris, while at the other end we went close twice within a minute. First, lovely skill from Nacer Chadli took him away from Jones down the left flank, his clipped cross fell to Townsend who in turn delivered a centre which Kane touched goalwards at the near post but David De Gea saved. Just moments later, Townsend tested the Spanish keeper again but he was equal to his effort.
United were always a threat going forwards and it needed some last-ditch defending to keep them out on 23 minutes. Mata’s 25-yard free-kick flicked off Mason in the wall, hit the post and bounced down inside the six yard box. Lloris flicked the ball away as Robin van Persie and Falcao tried to bundle it over, and the loose ball was scrambled clear by Chiriches on the line as van Persie went to tap home.
Shortly after, another scramble this time saw Jan Vertonghen scooping the ball off the line but the flag was up for offside anyway.
The visitors finished the half strongly and had good opportunities but Lloris denied Falcao and Wayne Rooney, while he also prevented van Persie from scoring the opener as he saved his close range effort after the Dutch striker latched onto a ball over the top.
And in stoppage time, our French keeper was there again to tip away Ashley Young’s curling effort as the teams went in goalless at the break.
Once again we had the first sight of goal of the half when Benji Stambouli found Kane down the right channel of the area, his low cross was attacked by Federico Fazio but Jonny Evans cleared for a corner.
That came to nothing, while at the other end Van Persie connected with Mata’s cross but could only send his shot over the bar.
There was plenty of midfield action without too many opportunities being created, but Christian Eriksen almost found Kane with a clever pass on 65 minutes, the ball just running through to De Gea, before Townsend then tested United’s stopper with a fierce 25-yard drive.
United were soon on the front foot again though and Mata should have done better when substitute Rafael’s cross fell to him 10 yards out but he blazed high and wide.
The unlikely left boot of Fazio almost found the target on 72 minutes as he latched on to Vertonghen’s centre and fired goalwards from 15 yards, having been up for a previous free-kick, and it needed a smart save from De Gea to deny him.
We were enjoying a good spell in the game and almost broke clear when Chiriches sent an early ball through the middle of the United defence but Chadli just couldn’t get on the end of it as De Gea whacked clear. And the visitors’ keeper was there again shortly after, diving to his right to palm away Eriksen’s 25-yard free-kick.
With eight minutes remaining we went close again, Kane leading the breakaway before finding the supporting Mason with an excellent reverse pass but he could only fire over from 12 yards out, left of centre.
There was more late pressure but we just couldn’t find that one clear opening and we had to settle for the point.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“The second half was very good and we played better than United but at the end, after 90 minutes, I think the result was fair,” said Mauricio.
“The most important thing is the feeling we got from the performance. The point is good but I think it’s better to get that feeling from today because the team had a very good performance.
“Our fitness level was very good and that showed we’re in a good moment.
“The idea was to believe in our skill and get the three points but we showed that we were solid. We made a big effort and for that, congratulations to the players.
“We need to keep this feeling and this momentum because we have a lot of games ahead and the next game is tough.”
Spurs: Lloris, Chiriches, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli, Mason, Townsend (Dembele 79), Eriksen, Chadli (Lamela 79), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Walker, Dier, Paulinho, Soldado.
United: De Gea, Valencia (Rafael 46), Jones, McNair (Shaw 76), Evans (Smalling 73), Young, Carrick, Mata, Rooney, Falcao, Van Persie. Substitutes (not used): Lindegaard, Fletcher, Pereira, Wilson.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Stambouli, Townsend; United – Young, McNair, Falcao, Rafael.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.