Sunday 13th January 2019

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Spurs 0 Man Utd 1

I always feel that every season the other major teams like Man Utd try to put a hook into Spurs and this season they have done it again by vying for Pochettino to leave Spurs for them. In The past they have tried to poach and entice their star players like Carrick, and Berbatov.  They tried to get Kane this season along with Toby Alderweireld all appears to me to destabilize Spurs and this season the added effect of the stadium build and again not spending money on new players. All this adds to Spurs having their belief and confidence knocked. Its all such a pity. They are a very exciting team they just need real belief and stability. They need their owner also t have this want and need to win nt just t make money. The fans deserve better.

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David De Gea denied Spurs time and again with a series of stunning second-half saves, mainly with his legs. The goalkeeper made 11 saves in all.

For Mauricio Pochettino this was a deeply frustrating afternoon. He may be United’s first-choice to become their next manager, and this result and performance should do little to dissuade them, but he surely saw Spurs flickering title hopes disappear as Marcus Rashford scored the only game of an exciting contest.

It was the kind of result, though, that will see Solskjaer’s stock rise and the momentum will continue to grow, will quicken, for him to remain in charge.

It was open and entertaining and felt more like a match-up of heavyweights with each intent on landing their blows. United, thankfully, came to attack and so did Spurs with chances traded before, just before half-time, the visitors landed one.

They had counter-attacked cleverly and seized on a loose pass by Kieran Trippier with Jesse Lingard intercepting and Paul Pogba sending a superb raking pass out to Rashford who took on Jan Vertonghen. The Spurs defender, in his first game for a month, was struggling to keep up and Rashford drove a right-foot shot across Hugo Lloris and into the net. It was an excellent goal – all about pace and movement and finishing. All about what United should be about.

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It was also a significant plus for Solksjaer who had rejigged his formation with Rashford pulling out to the right and Lingard almost used as a ‘false nine’ through the middle to stop the Spurs centre-halves from bringing the ball out. It also meant Rashford and Anthony Martial could capitalise on the space left by the Spurs’ full-backs as they pushed on.

Still Spurs also had chances and should have gone ahead when Heung-Min Son, in his last game before departing for the Asian Cup, running in behind the United defence and slipping the ball through to Harry Winks who dragged a low shot across goal.

Soon after and Winks drove the ball over the bar after it broke to him from a corner before United fashioned opportunities. Ashley Young’s dangerous cross was headed on by Toby Alderweireld as he attempted to clear and the ball ran to Lingard who fired over.

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Then Martial ran at Alderweireld from the left wing, pushing the ball to his left and shooting low with Lloris saving with his legs having earlier denied Rashford.

It continued to remain open with Phil Jones failing to track Harry Kane from a corner – although he managed to recover and block the striker’s shot. Kane did have the ball in the net, bundling it home from close-range, but was correctly pulled up for offside with Spurs also having to deal with the loss of Moussa Sissoko who was substituted with an apparent hamstring injury.

Early in the second-half Spurs went close to drawing level as Sissoko’s replacement, Erik Lamela, combined with Alli who teed up Kane. Again he had found space away from Jones only for De Gaea to save his shot with his right leg. The goalkeeper had to work even harder to deny Alli, turning away his header low down to his left.

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Lloris also had to excel as Pogba followed up his charged down shot, powered his way through and attempted to lift the ball over his international team-mate only for the Spurs captain to tip the ball over.

It continued to ebb and flow from end to end with Lloris holding on to Pogba’s header and De Gea clutching on to one from Kane. Then Kane missed a cross, it struck Lamela on the shoulder and flew over before Lloris reacted quickly to dive to his right and push out Pogba’s low shot.

There had been a shift in formation by Pochettino who pushed Son out wide left to provide more width and they again began to show the greater threat and really should have equalised when Alli ran through and on to Kane’s excellently weighted pass but shot straight at De Gea. Alli held his head, knowing he had to do better.

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De Gea saved United again. It was wave after wave of Spurs attack and he reacted brilliantly to kick out a near post shot by Alderweireld after the defender met a clever Christian Eriksen corner at the near post. Alli had another opportunity, cutting back inside as he faced Victor Lindelof but once more De Gea denied him.

United were pinned back and Pogba was possibly fortunate to escape with only a booking for a high challenge that caught Alli on his thigh. Remarkably De Gea denied them again after Kane was found by substitute Fernando Llorente. Once more De Gea got his feet in the way of the shot. Spurs just could not beat him.

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