Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Score, Analysis and Grades

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IISeptember 29, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur is closed down by Rafael Da Silva of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on September 29, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

English Premier League fans were offered an exciting matchup when Tottenham Hotspur traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. The two sides delivered no shortage of thrills as Spurs upset United 3-2. 

There were significantly more smiles in North London than in Manchester after Spurs dominated the first 45 minutes of play.

Jan Vertonghen took advantage of a slow-starting United back line in just the second minute. He cruised through the defense and his shot deflected off of Jonny Evans into the goal. The defense did not tighten after the early strike, and Gareth Bale put Tottenham two goals up in the 32nd minute when he too ran by several Red Devils. 

To spark his team, Sir Alex Ferguson put Wayne Rooney in the match. This caused the contest to become significantly more open. 

Rooney's cross found Nani in the 51st minute to cut Tottenham's lead in half, but Clint Dempsey cleaned up a loose ball in the box after a shot from Bale just one minute later. 

United refused to let Tottenham stay comfortable as Robin van Persie put Shinji Kagawa through on goal, and the Japanese international scored the third goal in three minutes. 

United looked to be the far better side after the flurry of goals. The team continued to hammer at Spurs' goal but could not break through to find an equalizer. 




Wayne Rooney, Manchester United: A

Rooney's presence pulled United back into the match. He assisted the first goal, and the Red Devils were significantly more dangerous going forward with him on the pitch. 

He rang a spot kick off the post and was truly unlucky not to have pulled United level on that attempt. Rooney proved that he can successfully play with Robin van Persie, and that will be the silver lining in this match for United fans. 


Gareth Bale, Tottenham: A

Bale's pace was a constant burden on United defense. The Red Devils' back line was far too tentative when the Welshman had the ball and were clearly worried they would be left in the dust if they stepped up too quickly. 

He sprinted right through the heart of the Red Devils' back four to score the team's second goal, and his shot left Dempsey with an open net inside six yards. He was clearly Spurs' most pressing threat in this fantastic result for Tottenham.  


Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United : C-

On Tottenham's second goal, Ferdinand's lack of pace due to age and injury was far too apparent. He was unable to be disciplined enough with his positioning to deal with the speedy Tottenham attackers. 

He needed to step up and make a tackle on both of Spurs' first-half goals but failed to do so. Without Nemanja Vidic, the United back line looks extremely vulnerable. 


Clint Dempsey, Tottenham : B 

Dempsey did opportunistically pounce on a rebound to score Tottenham's final goal, but he did not have much impact in the second half before being subbed out of the match. 

United dominated the final 45 minutes of play and kept Spurs' players deep in their own half. 


Paul Scholes, Manchester United: B+

While Rooney may have been the catalyst for United's improvements after halftime, Scholes was the driving force behind their success. He orchestrated the team's attacks and ensured that United dominated possession. 

He even had a few quality chances on goal himself, but he could not find the final key pass to pull United level. 


Brad Friedel, Tottenham: A

Friedel was under siege for the majority of the second half and defended his goal excellently. While the team bought Hugo Lloris to replace the 41-year-old American, he keeps turning in fantastic performances, making it impossible for Andre Villas-Boas to remove him from the lineup. 

He did receive some luck on Rooney's free kick, but the rest of his saves can all be credited to his consistently top-class goalkeeping.