Seeking revenge from the September home loss, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United squad walked onto Tottenham’s snow-covered pitch with confidence, and with history in mind. This game matched up the Premier League’s number 1 team (United) with the number four team (Spurs) for this second game in the PL’s home-away matches.
The defeat this past autumn happened to be the first home loss for United against Tottenham in 23 years. The team statistics (United had 74 percent possession) didn’t match up with the score line (Sky Sports Match Report), as the game ended 3-2, Spurs, with Jan Vertonghen, Gareth Bale, and the American, Clint Dempsey (grabbing the third goal, and ultimate game winner) claiming goals for the London-based club with Shinji Kagawa and Nani scoring for United. The historic win for Tottenham was also a historic game for Dempsey as he netted his first ever goal for the club. The game, played on the 29th of September (of 2012), was livelier and had a more electric atmosphere because of the significance riding on the match that had been played up in the media. The last home-away series between Tottenham and Manchester United that United had not won a game was in 1989-1990, which was when Spurs favorite Gary Lineker played for the club. (Lineker also had a goal in each game.)
However, fast-forward to January to this match where the league leaders, United, play consistent performers, Tottenham, at White Hart Lane.
The match was fairly boring on Manchester United’s part, while Tottenham had the better match with more chances, and more creativity in the midfield and offensive third. Aaron Lennon usurped the role of workhorse, at least for this match, from the usually impressive Scott Parker, who, granted, is only a few matches back from being sidelined by injury during the first part of the season. Lennon fluidly moved through the midfield and had shot after shot blocked by United’s keeper, David de Gea.
Also being substituted into the match, and also back from injury, Benoit Assou-Ekotto supplied the defense with extra grit to deter any late goals being award to United. Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand had a fantastic defensive display as he brilliantly helped keep the United lead at 1-nil. But the man who will become a Spurs legend, if only because of his two goals against Manchester United – one at Old Trafford, one at the Lane – will be the native-Texan, Clint Dempsey. Deuce, as supporters ever so lovingly call him, also had a match full of effort.
In the third minute of stoppage time, after crisp, threaded passing from Walker to Huddlestone to Dembele, the ball made it’s way to the feet of Gareth Bale who tried to shoot, only to be denied. The ball bounced out from United’s defensive block to BAE on the left side of the pitch, who then hit a clean cross over to Lennon. Then all it took was a quick, decisive pass from Lennon to Dempsey, who squared up and hit the clean ball through to the back of the net, which ultimately ended the game as a draw, 1-1. (Start watching at 10:40 for the Spurs goal.)
With a total of 6 points possible out of two games, Tottenham comes out the victor with four points, while United hold onto the one point from this January draw.
As Andre Villas-Boas’ squad continues its form from the holiday season, keep looking for Tottenham to gain, slowly, surely and steadily, into one of the four spots for Champions League position for next season. I’m certainly looking forward to it. And I’m also looking forward to BAE’s fro being back in action. (BAE hair to win ratio).