United storm past Spurs
Manchester United produced a wonderful second-half performance to beat Tottenham 3-0 and move joint top of the Premier League table.
Last Updated: 23/08/11 8:14am
Manchester United produced a wonderful second-half performance to overcome Tottenham 3-0 and move joint top of the Premier League table.
Spurs had not won at Old Trafford since 1989 but competed well in an even opening 45 minutes before United turned on the style after the interval.
Danny Welbeck broke the deadlock just after the hour mark with an expertly-taken header from Tom Cleverley's sumptuous right-wing cross, before turning provider for Anderson to make it 2-0 on 76 minutes.
Wayne Rooney then nodded home a Ryan Giggs delivery to complete the scoring and lift United level with Manchester City and Wolves on six points after two games.
Tottenham, playing their first match of the campaign, threatened occasionally but could find no way past a youthful-looking United backline and more assured David De Gea.
With Sir Alex Ferguson sticking to his pledge of naming Phil Jones and Jonny Evans as the replacements for injured duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, United's major surprise came on the bench, where Javier Hernandez was included two weeks earlier than expected after a bout of concussion.
Missing Luka Modric - who was not in the right frame of mind to play -Tottenham began with a hesitancy which United came close to exposing through Cleverley as Brad Friedel pulled off a stunning early save.
However, as the half wore on, United's attacks reduced in potency, their approach play lacked direction and Spurs grew in confidence.
Rafael van der Vaart and Niko Kranjcar started to get hold of the ball in areas of some concern so, after a difficult start to his time in England, De Gea picked the perfect time to show off the ability that persuaded Ferguson to pay £18million to sign him from Atletico Madrid.
There was a kamikaze element to his first intervention, as he tried to skip past Van der Vaart inside his own area.
In giving the home fans a heart scare, the 20-year-old was also showing off footwork of which the watching Edwin van der Sar would be proud.
De Gea made decent stops from Van der Vaart look routine rather than spectacular and with Tottenham opting against peppering him with high balls, as was the case at West Brom last week, De Gea was able to perform with a composure so obvious in his opposite number Friedel.
Now 40, the American was handed a contract by Harry Redknapp in the summer and was promptly allowed to extend his record for consecutive Premier League appearances to 276 matches.
Either side of half-time, Friedel denied former Aston Villa team-mate Ashley Young with smart stops as United, who dropped just two points on home soil throughout last season, struggled to impose themselves.
Part of the problem was that the most experienced member of their back four, Patrice Evra, has never found Aaron Lennon an easy opponent to subdue.
Unfortunately for Spurs, what Lennon possesses in pace, he lacks in awareness.
After skipping clear of a stumbling Evra, Lennon could have rolled a pass to an unmarked Van der Vaart, who was screaming on his inside.
Instead, he attempted to drill a cross through a crowded penalty area to Gareth Bale and succeeded only in blasting straight at Evans.
It was one of those times when a manager must feel like screaming. Another came moments later when Van der Vaart went for goal from 35 yards without ever looking like getting anywhere near it.
After the frustration came that familiar sinking feeling for Spurs.
Appearing to run down a blind alley, Cleverley rescued the situation by whipping over a superb cross for Welbeck, who rose majestically between Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul to glance a fine header into the corner.
Tottenham had Friedel to thank for not being blown away. Twice the veteran denied Welbeck, the second occasion following a Nani shot he had also saved, and then Evans, who had launched a fizzing volley from his far post station.
United were worthy of their second though, which came thanks to a brilliant piece of skill from Welbeck, who returned Anderson's pass with an impudent backheel that the Brazilian coolly finished into the bottom corner.
It was not quite plain sailing as De Gea's struggles under the high ball returned to present Jermain Defoe with a chance that he smacked against the post.
But with Friedel saving from Nani and Rooney scooping over from three yards, United remained on top. Rooney's late header merely emphasised their superiority.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|14||Shots on Target||9|
|5||Shots off Target||7|