Game in a sentence
Spurs win for the first time in 23 years at Old Trafford in what is the early front-runner for game of the year.
- Winless in 26 fixtures at Old Trafford, Spurs destroyed some old demons while forging a new identity in a game that became an instant classic. Jan Vertonghen’s second minute strike was telling. Defensively, Manchester United are incredibly poor. Fergie’s reputation is well deserved – cannot argue with his record – but I’m shocked no additions were made to the back line in the summer. Ed’s note: H/t to Charlie for reminding me about Alexander Büttner.
- Vertonghen is the type of defender I love to watch. Probing runs forward with a devil may care attitude is great for a neutral – though I’m guessing AVB and the coaching staff would rather he play it safe at times. In this sense William Gallas is the perfect partner for a player with the Belgian’s attacking verve.
- Man did United miss Antonio Valencia on this day. Nani’s lack of effort on the Vertonghen goal may result in his final start for Ferguson. It should, anyways. At least pretend like you care.
- Gareth Bale’s great run/goal combo was the product of excellent work from Sandro and Jermain Defoe. Oh, and Rio Ferdinand’s inability to compensate for the Welshman’s incredible pace. It was the ultimate revenge for Bale – Ferguson referred to him as Christian Bale before the game. Two equally talented cats, so it could be worse Gareth.
- The narrative was set. Spurs depart on their road to the top four while United must do some soul searching. And then the game went off the freaking rails. Three goals in just under three minutes, Clint Dempsey’s first for his new squad and some brilliance from Rooney, Kagawa and company just for kicks. Can these teams play every week?
- The worst thing about a player like Nani – when you see the effort, you expect it to be consistent. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.
- Glad to see Wayne Rooney healthy. The game is better off with him playing and his 61st minute free kick nearly provided a goal of the year candidate. Going forward Van Persie and Rooney should play together. Doesn’t matter who will play the deeper role – they both can do it. It looks like this team will need all the goals they can get, playing your two best players together should be a given – formations be damned.
- The second half was insane. Tactically Tottenham sat way to far back for my liking. United dominated the central midfield for large portions of the game. Kagawa was immense – though his penchant for going down easily is disconcerting.
- Cherish the opportunity to watch Paul Scholes play football. He’s a pleasure to watch.
- In the end United were unlucky. Robin Van Persie missed chances he usually cashes with little problem. Rooney and Carrick hit the woodwork and in general, it felt like an equalizer was inevitable. Fortunately for Spurs supporters that wasn’t the case. AVB – loved the tie – can relax, slightly. What. A. Game.
1. Shinji Kagawa
2. William Gallas
3. Paul Scholes