Tottenham 0 – 0 Man Utd: 9 men & Vidic Keep out Spurs
Tottenham huffed and puffed against Manchester United, but were unable to blow the mighty Vidic’s defence down as the Red Devils just about made sure that their unbeaten run continues for another week. It was defence against attack as the midfield of Tottenham really controlled most of the play with Luka Modric spraying the ball around to his team mates in search of the killer pass, but it was just out of reach, largely due to the magnificent defence of United.
The two wide players for Tottenham, Bale and Lennon, who were expected to be the difference between the two sides didn’t have the best of games, and were unable to make much of an impact. Only a couple of their crosses managed to find a Tottenham players waiting head, but no finish could be found. That was the problem for Tottenham really, they had most of the offensive possession, but just couldn’t slice open the organised solidity of the defence, even when Unite went man down.
Rafael da Silva was sent off in the 74th minute for a second “bookable” offence. I say “bookable” in inverted commas because the decision to give him that second yellow was, although seemingly inevitable, questionable. When the Brazilian defender picked up his first yellow card early on, I had a strong feeling that with his passion, commitment and refusal to back out of any tackle, the likely possibility was that he would get another. He did, but it wasn’t from a malicious, dangerous or cynical tackle – it was a clip on the back of Assou-Ekkoto’s heel as hey both ran for the ball. It was obvious that it was an accident – even the sometimes naive Rafael wouldn’t have been stupid enough to purposely trip the opponent on a yellow card – but the referee, Mike Dean was his usual, unsympathetic or understanding self and harshly brandished the red.
As it happened, Bale wasn’t able to exploit the left wing in the absence of Rafael, and the game ended with United on the attack -despite being under pressure from Tottenham ever since the dismissal.
Overall, United’s play was pretty poor. It was clear they wanted to win, and definitely could have won, but the passing was bad. The final ball was disappointing. The attacking was almost non existent apart from a couple of good attacks which led to a few chances, but not as much as United would have liked. Perhaps the only real positive to be taken was the outstanding performance from the defenders, and come to think of it, the togetherness of the team when they went a man down.
While earlier in the season United may have conceded a clumsy goal late on, they were resilient, as the best centre back partnership in the League, Ferdinand and Vidic proved their worth to the United team with some invaluable tackles, headers away and clearance.
Manchester United go back to top spot, ahead of Manchester rivals City on goal difference while Tottenham move to within a point of furth place Chelsea. It was, in the end, another clash of two strong teams that was, although entertaining, over hyped.
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Watch match highlights of Tottenham 0-0 Manchester United
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