10 for 10: Our games of the decade – 2012
Sat 21 December 2019, 08:30|Tottenham Hotspur
What a decade! Book-ended by incredible performances and hat-tricks in the Champions League, it’s been an amazing 10 years for the Club we all love – all culminating in the historic move to our world-class new stadium and the Champions League Final in 2019.
What games have defined the decade? There are too many to mention, from that triumphant night at the Etihad in May, 2010, to walking out at the Wanda Metropolitana in Madrid in June, 2019, via that night at the Amsterdam Arena and the opening of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It’s a decade that has seen it all at Spurs and in this special festive feature over 10 parts, we’ve selected our matches of the past 10 years. It’s not a definitive list – as we all know, the game is about opinions – but here’s our take on the 2010s. Here’s to the 2020s!
10 for 10 - 2012
Manchester United 2-3 Spurs (OG 2, Bale 32, Dempsey 52)
Old Trafford, 29 September, 2012
We'd beaten Arsenal at the Emirates and Liverpool at Anfield. As we began to regularly compete for Champions League qualification in the first half of the decade, could we pick up another statement win at Old Trafford?
It had been 23 years since Gary Lineker had secured victory at the Theatre of Dreams. That was in the old First Division in 1989. We'd finished fourth in 2010/11 and fifth in 2011/12 and now, under the leadership of Andre Villas-Boas, we were knocking on the door again.
We travelled up the M6 sitting eighth but with back-to-back wins under our belt. United were second.
It took two minutes for us to get in front as Jan Vertonghen broke into the box, held off two challenges and fired home off Jonny Evans. Gareth Bale sped through the home defence to double the lead on 32 minutes, a 30-yard burst that left Rio Ferdinand in his wake, as we took a grip on the game.
Then three goals in as many minutes in the second half. Nani pulled one back on 51 only for Clint Dempsey to tap home after Anders Lingaard saved from Bale on 52. Seconds later, Shinji Kagawa rolled home for 3-2, ensuring a nervy end to the game. As expected, United piled it on, Michael Carrick struck the woodwork, but we held on.
We went on to finish fifth again in 2012/13, agonisingly a point away from the top four. And United? They went on to win the league by 11 points in Sir Alex Ferguson's final season.
Andre celebrated a famous victory post-match: "Winning at Old Trafford is very, very difficult," he said. "This was a team victory. Our work rate was immense and our confidence in the first half... we went 2-0 up and deserved it. In the second half we showed our spirit. We've moved up the table to where we belong. It's a special feeling for everyone."
Team: Friedel, Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Lennon, Dembele (Huddlestone 83), Sandro, Bale, Dempsey (Sigurdsson 69), Defoe (Dawson 90+2).
11/2/12 - Spurs 5-0 Newcastle - 4-0 up at half-time and one of the best displays under Harry Redknapp.
26/12/12 - Villa 0-4 Spurs - A masterclass from Bale and a hat-trick in this convincing display.