United joined our noisy-neighbours at the top of the Premier League after a comfortable win over Spurs.
Sir Alex Ferguson was without his first-choice central defence pairing of Ferdinand and Vidic, Evans and Jones were deputizing. But the defence did carry an element of experience with Evra returning from injury.
In midfield, the same four were selected that started at the Hawthorns whilst up front, Rooney and Welbeck were paired together again. On the bench was Hernandez, making his comeback from an extended pre-season break along with Berbatov who might have been hoping to start against his former club.
United – De Gea, Evra, Jones, Evans, Smalling, Anderson, Nani, Young, Cleverley, Rooney, Welbeck
Subs – Lindegaard, Fabio, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Berbatov, Hernandez
Interestingly, the average age of the United starting eleven is the second youngest ever in our Premier League history.
As for the visitors, Harry Redknapp made one change to the eleven that started against Hearts, in the Europa League, giving Brad Friedel his debut in place of Gomes.
A nice touch from those that run the club greeted the Old Trafford faithful tonight with a scarf, commemorating the record 19th title triumph, of last season, placed on every seat.
As kick-off approached, Sir Alex had the following words for those covering the game live,
‘We had a good start to the season [with a win at West Brom], especially considering our away form last season, now let’s hope we can continue our home form from last season. Our backline is young, yes, but there’s plenty of Premier League experience among them – I have no fears about them at all. And I’m not worried about [keeper David] De Gea either, no problem.’
First Half – Freidel was called into early action when he clasped a weak Rooney header; the chance coming after Van der Vaart had lost possession. Freidel was called into action again and produced a great save to tip an effort from Cleverley around the post.
De Gea then gave us all a heart attack, trying to do some dandy footwork to dribble out of defence, fortunately a trip from Van Der Vaart allowed us all to recover.
Already, with just over a quarter of an hour played, a decent battle between Young and Walker was gathering momentum. Spurs pushed forward and United were lucky that the referee, Lee Probert, missed a foul on Bale, by Jones on the edge of the area. Harry Redknapp could be seen to be not amused in the Spurs dug-out.
As the mid-point of the half approached, Nani produced two moments of skill. The first saw the winger play a great ball into the danger area that Welbeck just failed to reach and the second saw a similar ball played in that saw Dawson hastily clear.
Rooney, as the half hour mark approached, delivered the cross of the night so far, but Young could only head the ball wide. As the play spread to the other end, De Gea wasn`t really tested by Kranjcar`s effort.
Evans received the first yellow card of the game for a crude challenge on Van der Vaart, quickly followed by Dawson for a foul on Young. As half time approached Nani fired an effort over the bar, and Van der Vaart unleashed a long range shot that De Gea easily coped with. Just before the half time whistle Aaron Lennon screwed a shot wide.
Half Time – United 0 Spurs 0
Spurs got the second half underway, having replaced Walker with Corluka. United started well with some intricate passing but Young`s cross was straight into the arms of Freidel. Bale then shot wide when others were better placed.
United created a half chance when Rooney set up Anderson but when his shot was parried Rooney`s effort wasn`t sufficient to beat Freidel. Suddenly United were, finally, getting on top. Welbeck set up Young but his effort cleared the bar.
Van Der Vaart tried his effort from distance but also cleared the bar. Just past the hour mark though United took the lead, the goal, scored by Welbeck, the goal came after Cleverley and Smalling combined for Cleverley to whip in a perfect cross that Welbeck, between defenders headed home.
United 1 Spurs 0 (Welbeck – 61 minutes)
Rooney tried to add a second but Freidel produced a fine save to deny the striker before, not too long after, Rooney shot wide when well placed. United were now swarming all over Spurs and Freidel did well to deny Welbeck from doubling the score with an acrobatic overhead kick.
Redknapp made two changes but a second United goal dented any enthusiasm Spurs might have had for getting back on level terms. The goal was a classy affair with a move that saw Young and Rooney involved resulting in Welbeck receiving the ball from Anderson and pulling off a cheeky back-heel that saw Anderson net.
United 2 Spurs 0 (Anderson – 75 minutes)
Spurs responded well with Defoe hitting the bar with De Gea offering futile resistance. With eight minutes of normal time left, Sir Alex introduced Giggs, Hernandez and Park, taking off Welbeck, Young and Cleverley.
United could have scored a third but Rooney saw his effort fly over the bar from a Nani cross. The third goal did come though via Rooney. The goal coming after Giggs supplied the perfect cross for Rooney to head home.
United 3 Spurs 0 (Rooney – 87 minutes)
The game ended with De Gea claiming an effort from Huddlestone that prompted a stand-off between several players afer Defoe swung a boot at what he believed to be a loose ball.
Al in all, a good night for Manchester United and a night that sets us up nicely for the visit of Arsenal this weekend.
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