Spurs-Man United: Red And White Whine

David JacobsCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2008

Manchester United got a dose of reality as they ended their trip to North London with a stalemate, which actually wasn't that stale.

It was either team's game, but the players only had themselves to blame for not finishing the job. The exceptions in this case were the goalkeepers, who were vital in holding the match to a draw.

This fixture was one of the most eagerly awaited in the season and a win was important for both teams.

Spurs had to get three points to stand any chance of making it into the top half of the table. Manchester United needed to extend their lead at pole position to pull away from Chelsea, who are breathing down their neck a match win away from them.

Both teams were bright and breezy. Spurs started their game with potency and bite. Jonathan Woodgate got hurt in the first ten minutes and had to be replaced by Tom Huddlestone. Redknapp thenhad to re-shuffle his team, Corluka moved to centre half while Zokora, who has impressed recently slotted in at right full.

David Bentley re juvenated under the new management designed his own unique performance, which could have easily rewarded him with another goal of the season contender.

He flicked the ball up and kept it up with a style representative of
a young Matt Le Tissier before thumping it from 35 yards at the right hand side of the goal.

However, the Champions' League quality of Edwin Van Der Sar shone through to stop what would've been a shock to Fergie.

He parried the ball over the goal. A fine save which I think must've been secretly admired by Spurs fans too. Please come forward.

Dimitar Berbatov was met with a highly expected 30,000 strong cascade of 'boos' every time he touched the ball. The Bulgarian was transferred for £30.75 million in the summer after a heated discussion between Daniel Levy and Fergie.

Carlos Tevez made a cutting run into the penalty area and tried a shot, but it fizzed across the goal and out of play.

On the other side of the pitch, Aaron Lennon executed the same run and
made a low shot which was pushed round the correct side of the post
(for Man United) by Van Der Sar's hyperextended arms.

Which team could ever play Spurs without trying their hand at a goal from a set piece?

A corner was taken and an episode of argy-bargy between the two sides had a United goal disallowed for hand ball, and had Ronaldo complaining (Surprise Surprise).

Ronaldo continued to push his luck after recently getting suspended for misconduct. He made a speedy run down the left wing.

Defender Michael Dawson closed him down and made a world-class tackle which sent the ball off the touchline.

Immediately after, Ronaldo sitting on the ground, flicked out at Dawson and tapped him on the shin, the United player showing his petulant best. He quickly apologised to Dawson, though. I personally think the referee should've noticed his immature action, but that's just my opinion. (Players have been sent off for similar offences, David Beckham anyone?)

David Bentley took a free kick from around the same place as prior his long-distance strike.

It looked like a goal until the powerful hands of Van Der Sar kept the ball away from goal once again.

Tom Huddlestone (THUD as I like to call him) fancied a crack at Van Der Sar's heavily guarded goal. He picked up a pass and struck it (allegedly at a speed of 90 mph).

It was on target but was blocked by a very silly Russian called Roman Pavlyuchenko. The ball hit his stomach harder than Gillian McKeith's hand.

To be honest, that might have been the best goal opportunity of the game.
Couldn't be helped.

Ji Sung Park had a go at Gomes' goal. He made a run into the box and struck the ball well. Gomes parried it and saved Spurs' defensive blushes once again.

Luka Modric was up next, wanting to end his goal drought. Goals are the only thing missing from this player and they are still missing. All it takes is an inch to make or deny a goal. Modric’s great run and shot resulted in the latter.

Recently UEFA have recognised the little Croatian's growing reputation and have found a place for him in their 2008 best XI, his form for Spurs is improving, and if he hits the heights he's capable of Harry might be fighting off another bid from United as they look to reinforce their dwindling midfield prowess.

It was a dead heat all the way.  In the last minute of normal time, United won a free kick. Ronaldo didn’t take it, though, which was strange. Welsh left-footer Ryan Giggs took it instead.

His shot was inch perfect and heading for a top corner just like David Bentley’s earlier effort, but Gomes emulated Van Der Sar’s earlier free-kick feat and sternly pushed it away.

BOTH goalies deserved man of the match and I wholeheartedly admit that.

Spurs held themselves fantastically and STILL remain unbeaten by the top-four this season. And it wasn't a case of unlucky 13, as Harry now has only lost three games from his 13 in charge, Spurs now look odds on to push on up the table.

But no sports pundit will be so bold and mature to admit that, would they?

I mean, it's Spurs isn't it?


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