|Manchester United||3-0||Tottenham Hotspur|
Manchester United joined their neighbours Manchester City on 6 points at the top of the Barclays Premier League 2011/12 table after two games, in fine style, by recording an impressive 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on the evening of Monday 22nd August 2011.
The result, which came despite Spurs shutting United out for a 0-0 first half, means that Man Utd are one of only three teams with a 100% win record after the first couple of Premier League 11/12 matches have been played – they end the match lying in second place owing to City’s +1 goal difference superiority.
On an evening where United dominated possession, keeping 60% of the ball, it took a 61st minute goal from Danny Welbeck to break the deadlock and put the hosts in front, when he headed home a cross from another new addition to the first team ranks – who has been playing most of his football on loan until this season – Tom Cleverley.
Welbeck seemed to grow inside his United shirt after that goal, and produced a stunning back-heel following some interplay with Anderson 15 minutes later which tee-ed up the latter to sweep home for the all-important second goal on 76 minutes.
Wayne Rooney had time to get himself on the score-sheet for the second match in succession, though, as the England striker added a third on 87 minutes.
Spurs could, and perhaps should, have scored after United went 2-0 up, when Jermain Defoe hit a post following a David De Gea mishap – the new ‘keeper dropped a catchable cross – but, even had that goal gone in, Tottenham had never looked like getting a result from the match once United were off and running.
In an open match – which saw an incredible 33 shots on target from both sides (United hording 22 shots at Brad Friedel in the Spurs goal to themselves) – Tottenham came off distinctly second best.
Spurs were without Luka Modric as the will-he-won’t-he transfer saga continues, though Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, did report after the match that the midfielder is likely to stay at White Hart Lane. They will need him, for they looked a little short of options going forwards, despite having good periods of possession, at times, at the back: a connection between the able defence and their impressive centre forwards, such as Modric can provide, will be key for the remainder of the season.
United, despite drafting in one or two more youngsters in one summer than Sir Alex Ferguson might have hoped, look for all the world like repeating last year’s successes. At present, only Manchester City stand between United and the top of the table. From the signs of the first two opening weekends, that could be the story of the season: the best team in Manchester might well be the best team in the EPL for 2011/12.
Some interesting derby games await.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Barclays Premier League 2011/12, Monday 22nd August 20011 – Squads
Substitutions made in brackets; YS = Yellow Card; RC = Red Card.
|Manchester United||Tottenham Hotspur|
|01 De Gea||24 Friedel|
|03 Evra||03 Bale|
|04 Jones||04 Kaboul|
|06 Evans YC||20 Dawson YC|
|12 Smalling||28 Walker (Corluka 46)|
|08 Anderson||32 Assou-Ekotto|
|17 Nani||07 Lennon|
|18 Young (Park Ji-Sung 81)||11 Van der Vaart|
|23 Cleverley (Giggs 81)||21 Kranjcar (Pavlyuchenko 74)|
|10 Rooney||29 Livermore (Huddlestone 74)|
|19 Welbeck (Hernandez 81)||18 Defoe YC|
|34 Lindegaard||01 Gomes|
|20 Fabio Da Silva||19 Bassong|
|11 Giggs||22 Corluka|
|13 Park Ji-Sung||06 Huddlestone|
|16 Carrick||08 Jenas|
|09 Berbatov||31 Townsend|
|14 Hernandez||09 Pavlyuchenko|