Rating the Tottenham Hotspur Players Against Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur supporters would be forgiven for thinking a typical capitulation to Manchester United might have been on the cards after Robin van Persie's opener came somewhat against the run of play.
This Tottenham team is showing itself to be better than that, and they did so again on a snowy Sunday afternoon at White Hart Lane. Clint Dempsey scored a late equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw for Andre Villas-Boas' team, meaning his have taken four points off Man United this season.
The result leaves Spurs four points behind Chelsea (who beat Arsenal 2-1 earlier in the day) in third place. Having gotten little against Sir Alex Ferguson over the years they will take that after their spirited comeback.
How did Dempsey and his teammates' performances rate against the Red Devils? Read on to see this writer's opinion and then feel free to chime in with your own take.
Goalkeeper and Defense
Hugo Lloris (5)
The Frenchman had surprisingly little to do against the Red Devils and could not do much about Robin van Persie's opener. Besides that he was rarely tested, and when he was, he responded adequately.
Kyle Walker (5.5)
A tough first half for Walker was at its most trying when he was caught between two Man United players as Tom Cleverley's cross came over towards the back post for their goal.
The young right-back found a way into the game after the interval and offered decent support for Aaron Lennon down the right flank.
Michael Dawson (5.5)
Tottenham's skipper was caught between players for Man United's goal as his team failed to respond and re-organize to the increase in pressure. After a few more iffy moments individually, Dawson found his feet as the game went on, playing a part in United's struggle to break through and bringing the ball forward well.
Steven Caulker (6)
Caulker was the only Tottenham defender marking someone when they conceded but did have a few shaky moments elsewhere.
On the whole though, the young center-back grew in stature and sniffed out a few dangerous advances into his area of the pitch.
Kyle Naughton (5)
Naughton did not look out of place against Man United to the extent he did in some of his tougher tests earlier this season, but nonetheless he will not class this as one of his best days. A superb cross-field pass to Lennon early on was his best moment, but thereafter his distribution suffered and he struggled to offer much going forward.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (6)
A good substitute by Andre Villas-Boas, Assou-Ekotto helped free up the isolated Gareth Bale and give Man United far more to contend with down the left.
Aaron Lennon (7.5)
Arguably Tottenham's best player on the day. Lennon got back to help out his defense on more than one occasion and was a menace to Patrice Evra for most of the match. United had difficulty handling his excursions insides too.
The winger showed great composure to tee up Clint Dempsey for his equalizer.
Moussa Dembele (7)
It was as tough as test as Dembele had faced in midfield for several weeks, but he proved up to the task for the most part. The Belgian was careful in possession and on a few occasions upped the tempo sufficiently to put United on the back foot. A tenacious display ensured Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick did not have their own way all afternoon.
Scott Parker (6)
Parker will need to improve defensively if he is to fill in for Sandro, but there was enough on show from the midfielder that Tottenham fans will have been glad to have him back.
The veteran was typically committed in challenges and on a few occasions took the game to Man United with some daring runs forward.
Gareth Bale (6.5)
A quiet first half for the Welshman saw him given little room to maneuver.
That did not change much after the interval, but Bale showed a greater eagerness to get on the ball and it paid off with positive, if unrewarded forays down the left flank. Some good crosses kept United on their toes and Bale helped out defensively too, getting back on occasion to ensure his teammates were not overwhelmed.
Tom Huddlestone (6)
A little sloppy early on after his introduction, Huddlestone soon found his rhythm and used the ball intelligently enough as Tottenham upped the pressure on Man United late in the game.
Clint Dempsey (7)
Dempsey's return to the starting lineup gave Tottenham a greater flexibility than they had against Queens Park Rangers last week. When dropping off, his presence drew the attention of the Man United players in a way a normal striker might not have, and also allowed him to involve himself in build-up play while leaving him sufficiently advanced to get into the box when needed.
For most of the match only Dempsey's execution let him down, as was the case when he fired too straight at David de Gea after a good interchange with Dembele and dribble into the box. He made up for this with a well picked-out finish for his equalizer.
Jermain Defoe (5.5)
Defoe's first touch let him down slightly after Aaron Lennon played him into a great goalscoring position (though Rio Ferdinand did well getting back to challenge). It was typical of a day in which the striker failed to make a telling impact even though his effort could not be faulted.