Tottenham made the perfect start to 2014 with a spectacular 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. This was the second time in two years that Spurs had done so and made sure for the second year they were unbeaten against the Champions after drawing at the Lane in 2013.
The game began poorly for Tottenham. They were shakey, nervous and panicked throughout the opening minutes as Dawson failed to keep up with Danny Welbeck as the young Englishman skipped past the Spurs captain as if he wasn’t even there. Lloris could have given away an early penalty as Welbeck rounded Dawson to attempt to win the descending ball, the Frenchman managed to clear whilst bringing down the striker but a the referee waved away claims. Tottenham’s passing was gradually getting worse as they even attempted some no-look passes in their own area, as if to tempt United. Capoue gave away a freekick outside the Spurs area to gift Rooney a chance at goal however the effort was for nothing as it sailed over.
Around the 25 minute mark however, things began to look up for the away side. Soldado did well in the United box as he attempted a double shot on goal and won a few corners. Adebayor had his own shot on goal as he intercepted a Soldado pass to volley the ball just over the bar, an effort on the other side may have dipped enough to go in. But the forward redeemed himself not long after. Lennon found Eriksen outside the area and the Dane took it wide and held the ball up. As others gathered to join the attack, Eriksen curled a cross into the box and Adebayor leapt like a Salmon to head the ball into the net and put Spurs 1-0 up.
Spurs had a chance to double their lead not long after. A drunk Danny Rose was slipping and sliding all over the place but was sober enough to pick out Aaron Lennon who curled in a cross to pick out Roberto Soldado, but the Spaniard couldn’t handle the cross’ height and the effort hit his knee and went over the bar. The half teetered out and Spurs were ahead.
The second half proved utterly unbearable for Spurs fans. The anxiety in the air was too much as they entered the make or break part of the game. Emmanuel Adebayor showed incredible athleticism to power through the United half pushing all challenges to aside and continued to drive into the corner and keep possession for Spurs. It was clear the Adebayor of last season was well and truly gone. Not long after, Spurs doubled their lead. Aaron Lennon sprinted into the home side’s box to hit a deflected cross into the middle for Christian Eriksen to beat his marker and head home. Tottenham were 2-0 up and flying.
But after a second’s rest, United got themselves a goal. From the kick off they managed to play the ball right through the Spurs half only for Welbeck to intercept the ball and chip Hugo Lloris inside the area. It was 2-1 and Spurs were in for a nervous final 20 minutes. Emmanuel Adebayor was stretchered off after the goal after collapsing in a heap. It was later confirmed that the manager Tim Sherwood had no clue what was wrong with his striker as he’d run himself so ragged, it was unclear what was hurting.
Just as Adebayor was feeling pain, the supporters were too. It was a nail-biting, brick-shitting, terrifying affair that we couldn’t wait to end, much like the same fixture last season. United threw everything at us and were helped on by the return of Fergie time as the fourth official showed 5 minutes would be played after the injury to Adebayor persisted for so long. But the boys held on to claim their second win at Old Trafford in two years and continue their unbeaten spell against David Moyes’ side. Special mention to Harry Kane for his excellent super sub strength to tick down the clock.
Player Ratings –
Lloris – “Some crucial, crucial saves.” (Excellent)
Walker – “The boy is back and put in a good shift.” (Good)
Chiriches – “Top draw throughout, possibly our best signing of the summer.” (Excellent)
Dawson – “You’re such a pillock but do the job.” (Average)
Rose – “Still hanging from last night’s booze up.” (Average – Good)
Capoue – “Didn’t play the full game but did well.” (Average)
Dembélé – “Fouled a lot but wasted time to perfection.” (Good)
Eriksen – “I’m so glad he’s flourishing, so good to watch.” (Excellent)
Lennon – “Very strong performance. Strong MOTM contender.” (Excellent)
Soldado – “Didn’t do as much as I would have liked.” (Good)
Adebayor – “A new man.” (Excellent)
MOTM: So difficult. How on earth can you choose. Leave a comment for yours.