Spurs brush past Manchester United with impressive display thanks to Christian Eriksen’s 11-second goal
PUBLISHED: 22:00 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 22:00 31 January 2018
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Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester United 0
Tottenham Hotspur secured their 14th win of the Premier League season thanks to a superb performance of intensity and quality against Manchester United.
Christian Eriksen scored after 11 seconds, only just missing out on the quickest goal for the club to former captain Ledley King, and Phil Jones put through his own net 27 minutes later.
Spurs and their boss Mauricio Pochettino had to settle for only two goals, but it really could have been a lot more had they been less wasteful with their finishing.
Jose Mourinho would not have been happy with what he saw from his team and despite initially responding well to Eriksen’s opener, they couldn’t leave with the high-energy of the hosts.
In front of a record Premier League attendance of 81,978, Tottenham put on a show to reignite their top-four hopes once again.
There was plenty of excitement in the build-up to the match and it was increased when Spurs finally announced the signing of Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain just under 90 minutes before the kick-off.
It was too late for him to be involved in the starting XI against United as Pochettino made six changes to the team which could only draw 1-1 at Newport County.
Hugo Lloris returned in goal while Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies slotted into the back four with Michel Vorm and Kyle Walker-Peters on the bench and Juan Foyth not part of the matchday squad.
Victor Wanyama, Moussa Sissoko and Fernando Llorente were also among the substitutes as Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son all started at Wembley.
United included Alexis Sanchez in their Premier League team for the first time since his signing from Arsenal, though this wasn’t his debut after he played in the 4-0 win at Yeovil Town last Friday.
There was plenty riding on the fixture under the arch with both clubs in need of the points for differing reasons.
Spurs were looking to close the gap on Liverpool in fourth while the Red Devils wanted to ensure their three-point advantage over third-placed Chelsea remained.
It was the home side who got proceedings under play and it took just 11 seconds for the opener to occur.
Jan Vertonghen fired the ball forward towards Harry Kane and it dropped for Alli, his shot was blocked by Chris Smalling, but rolled perfectly for Eriksen to slot home from eight-yards.
The noise inside Wembley was deafening after Tottenham had taken the lead with the second fastest Premier League goal.
It was end-to-end in the opening exchanges with United threatening in the third minute on two occasions.
First Romelu Lukaku came close to getting a touch on Ashley Young’s cross, though he would have been offside anyway.
Then Paul Pogba looked to find Jesse Lingard, Vertonghen got the faintest of touches to the ball and it was enough to allow Lloris to come out and deny the England man.
Ex-Arsenal forward Sanchez was booed when his name was called out before the game and it didn’t take long for the home fans to do the same when he touched the ball for the first time – minutes into the contest.
Spurs were looking shaky at the back, but they settled with 10 on the clock and won their first corner of the game in the 12th minute.
It came to nothing though, and United tried to get into their rhythm again of moving the ball around with pace and unsettling the Tottenham defence.
Both sides appeared to lack composure in the opening quarter of an hour with various passes going astray and a number of needless fouls committed.
Mousa Dembele was one of the players to tackle an opponent illegally and it resulted in him entering the book of referee Andre Marriner.
United went on the attack again in the 21st minute as Anthony Martial cut inside from the right, but blazed high and wide from a good position.
Tottenham threatened themselves two minutes later when Alli and Eriksen combined to find Kane inside the area, but he couldn’t get enough power on his effort and de Gea saved with ease.
After a slight lull period, the end-to-end nature of the game was back as Lingard saw a cross deflected into Martial’s path, but Davies, on his 200th club appearance, slide in to make a timely intervention.
Spurs countered from the United attack and Kane played Alli through on the right, Son made the supporting run on the left, but the pass from the England man took a touch off Smalling and the visitors surived.
It was only brief respite for the Old Trafford club though, as in the 28th minute the hosts doubled their lead.
Tottenham moved the ball around wonderfully before Alli nutmegged Sanchez and Eriksen found Trippier on the right, he crossed first-time into the area and Jones could only comically slice past de Gea.
Mourinho’s side looked for an immediate response and nearly silenced the buoyant home faithful on the half an hour mark.
With the Tottenham fans singing ‘oh when the Spurs go marching in’ the visitors attacked down the right again and Lloris had to push an effort from Martial into the side-netting.
Pogba stabbed a shot over from the resulting corner before the majority of the crowd inside Wembley were calling for a penalty kick.
Trippier got forward impressively again and beat a couple of opponents, and then slide the ball into Alli.
Valencia came across and went to ground, bringing the Tottenham number 20 down, but Marriner waved away appeals for a penalty and played continued despite replays showing Spurs had every right to call for a spot-kick.
The man in the middle continued to be an unpopular figure for the home supporters despite Pochettino’s men appearing in control.
As half-time approaching, Jones’ night took another blow as he was booked for a foul on Kane.
Eric Dier, who was courted by United during the summer, nearly made it 3-0 with a header in the 40th minute, but he could only nod Eriksen’s free kick over.
Mourinho had seen enough and made his way to the dressing room with two minutes of the half remaining.
There was a stoppage almost straight away after when Son was caught late by United captain Valencia, but he was able to continue and two minutes were added on at the end of the 45, which went by without note, as it ended 2-0 at the break.
It had been a fantastic half for Tottenham, but with the away side still posing a threat, there was plenty of work to be done.
Like the first-half, both teams went for it after the restart with Kane testing de Gea, albeit from an offside position before United attacked.
Pogba saw a shot blocked and the Red Devils kept the ball for a significant period of time, but Spurs defended resolutely
Alli, who had been magnificent, soon began to turn it on again as he nutmegged Nemanja Matic, but couldn’t quite find Son at the back post.
The ex-MK Dons midfielder was involved in the next Tottenham attack, in the 49th minute, as his pass was flicked on by Kane and Son twisted and turned away from Young, but dragged his effort wide from 16-yards.
It was the United fans who vented their frustration at Mariner two minutes later when Sanchez’s header looked to have hit Son’s arm, but the referee ignored the calls for a penalty despite the remonstrations from the visitors.
Lloris was called into action with 56 on the clock when Pogba picked out Lukaku and he held off Davies before smashing towards goal from eight-yards.
Tottenham’s captain brilliantly pushed his effort over the crossbar though, before he punched the resulting corner kick away to safety.
Spurs moved up the gears after with Alli and Eriksen at their influential best and it forced Mourinho to introduce Marouane Fellani and Juan Mata with Lingard and Pogba making way.
It failed to halt Tottenham’s momentum, however, as Eriksen went close from range and Davies and Kane testing de Gea with efforts.
Then in the 69th minute Spurs should have made it three when Eriksen wonderfully played through Son.
Son had Kane to his left waiting for a tap-in, but went alone and saw de Gea save his fierce effort from point-blank range.
Mourinho then made another change with 20 minutes to go and bizarrely it was his number 27 – Fellaini – who made way just seven minutes after his introduction.
He went straight down the tunnel, but it didn’t affect Tottenham’s focus as they went in search of more goals.
With the fans on their feet both Vertonghen and Sanchez took turns to bring the ball out of defence and set up chances.
You could sense Kane was desperate for a goal with his next in the Premier League being his hundredth.
It continued to allude him though, as Dier was the next person to go close with 77 played before Erik Lamela replaced Son.
Alli maintained his grip on the game with some skill near the United penalty area before he won the ball back brilliantly off Sanchez, much to the delight of the home faithful.
It led to more chants from the Spurs supporters for the England international, but he received a booking for a late tackle on the former Arsenal man moments later.
Pochettino withdrew Alli with three minutes to go, allowing him to drink in a standing ovation for an excellent display.
Sissoko replaced him as Tottenham began to play with the Red Devils, passing the ball around with ease.
Three minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the 90 and Pochettino brought off Dembele with seconds to play as Wanyama came on.
Referee Marriner ended the game soon after as Spurs bounced back to winning ways after consecutive 1-1 draws at Newport and Southampton.
Ahead of Sunday’s tough trip to Liverpool, the north Londoners appear to be back in the groove again and full of confidence after this evening.
With the club announcing the signing of Moura before kick-off, transfer deadline day has turned into an excellent one for Spurs.
Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat at home to AFC Bournemouth has also brought them closer to Tottenham again and suddenly everything seems well again for Pochettino and co.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Trippier, D.Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 90); Eriksen, Alli (Sissoko 87), Son (Lamela 80); Kane.
Unused substitutes: Vorm, Rose, Walker-Peters, Llorente.
Manchester United: de Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Pogba (Mata 63); A.Sanchez, Lingard (Fellani 63, Herrera 70), Martial; Lukaku.
Unused substitutes: Romero, Rojo, Rashford, Shaw.