Toothless Tottenham are defeated by Manchester United at Old Trafford
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Tottenham suffered their second Premier League defeat of the season and are now just three points ahead of Manchester United after losing 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s side at Old Trafford for the second successive season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the decisive goal just before the half-hour mark as a Spurs side that lacked creativity and a cutting edge missed the chance to overtake fourth-placed Manchester City.
United had the first opportunity but Hugo Lloris reacted brilliantly to prevent his France team-mate Paul Pogba from ending a team move involving Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic inside 90 seconds.
Heung-Min Son curled over when Spurs managed to rid themselves of United’s shackles, and Christian Eriksen forced David de Gea into his first save with a dangerous free kick that skipped off the surface.
But Mkhitaryan was looking dangerous and saw a fizzing shot blocked by Jan Vertonghen, with Phil Jones thwarted from the resulting corner before Ander Herrera’s long-range follow-up was dealt with by Lloris.
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Michael Carrick tried his own effort from distance as United began to increase the pressure, which Spurs succumbed to in the 29th minute.
A sloppy pass from Harry Kane was intercepted by Herrera and the Spain midfielder threaded through Mkhitaryan, who beat the offside trap and then Lloris with a rising shot.
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Mkhitaryan’s decision to shoot rather than simply lay off to Ibrahimovic underlined his growing confidence, but the veteran Swede did not have to wait long for a chance of his own as he forced Lloris into a stop at his near post.
It was far from one-way traffic as the first half came to a close, with De Gea clawing over a fine Son effort, Kane striking wide from distance and Victor Wanyama appealing for a penalty after having his shirt tugged by Marcos Rojo.
Spurs continued strongly when play resumed after half-time, with a fine team move ending with De Gea punching away an Eriksen drive.
The United goalkeeper was apoplectic with his team-mates in the 55th minute as Wanyama was allowed to roam free at a set piece, getting away a close-range header that was inexplicably wasted, much to the home side’s relief, in particular Antonio Valencia.
Substitute Moussa Sissoko’s introduction added an extra dimension to Tottenham’s attack, but United continued to have the better chances and Pogba twice went close.
The world’s most expensive player left Lloris watching on helplessly with a free kick that rattled the frame of the goal, and the Spurs goalkeeper denied the midfielder soon after.
Both chances were followed by penalty claims from Herrera, but appeals against Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen were both ignored to the chagrin of those inside Old Trafford.
De Gea did well to keep out another Eriksen free kick but the hosts ended proceedings on top, with Marcus Rashford’s introduction and Mkhitaryan’s continued threat causing havoc.
Rose was booked for the challenge that left Mkhitaryan in serious discomfort, leading to his exit from the field on a stretcher, but the Armenian ended up being the matchwinner as Spurs failed to find an equaliser.