Goalless game at White Hart Lane but it was no bore draw
It was a game of two halves in the Premier League fixture between Tottenham and Manchester United at White Hart Lane, as the visitors controlled the opening 45 minutes while Spurs had more chances after the break.
The Red Devils kept the same starting XI that beat Newcastle United 3-1, their first unchanged XI for a whopping 85 games. Mauricio Pochettino’s hosts, meanwhile, came into this game on the back of a crucial 2-1 away win over Leicester City.
Both sides played less than 48 hours before this battle of sixth versus seventh from last term. However, neither side could break the deadlock in an otherwise entertaining opening 45 minutes, but fatigue showed and the tempo slowed towards the end in the 0-0 draw.
Despite a fairly uneventful opening few minutes, the Red Devils certainly dominated the first half with a whole host of chances. Louis van Gaal’s men were unable to really test Spurs stopper Hugo Lloris, though, who looked hesitant for much of the game, but the France skipper did spring into action from a fantastic Ashley Young effort.
Tottenham did have their chances early in the first 45 minutes, with the lively and tenacious Harry Kane setting up Ryan Mason, but Phil Jones did well to block the run.
Andros Townsend later had a half chance, when he cut onto his favoured left foot, however his shot was then saved from Real Madrid target David de Gea.
But it was United who were most creative at White hart Lane, and Radamel Falcao should have broken the deadlock, but a tame effort on his weaker foot went straight to Lloris.
Juan Mata, who was heavily involved in most of United’s chances, came closest, though, after his deflected free-kick beat Lloris but only to rebound off the post, with Robin van Persie and Falcao unable to get enough contact to finish.
United did get the ball over the line, just, in the first half, through Jones’ headed effort. The referee even blew his whistle, but only for the defender to be correctly called offside.
The Red Devils kept attacking, and Falcao got a better connection on his shot this time, as he cut in onto his right foot, but Lloris was equal to his shot again.
Spurs left back Ben Davies had the last chance for his side of the half after a surging run, although his shot from out the area was never going in as it fizzed a couple of metres past the far post.
Van Persie was next to get a look in on goal, as he took down a looping ball from Michael Carrick in the penalty box to be one-on-one with the keeper and, while his first touch was exquisite, he could not get enough contact on the shot.
Young also had a decent game, and sent in a cross from the left to Wayne Rooney, whose header was again saved by Lloris.
The winger was amongst the action soon after, and hit a tremendous curling effort to finally bring out the best in Lloris, who showed his acrobatic ability by palming it away. He was unconvincing again with the resulting corner, but managed to keep United out at half time.
Returning Rafael was the only change after 45 minutes for yet another injured Man Utd player in Antonio Valencia.
Spurs started the second half in more positive fashion, though were unable to test De Gea. But United were soon on the attack, with with Van Persie spurning a decent chance from an excellent Mata cross.
The game tempo seemingly slowed a little, but after 20 minutes into the second half Townsend had another decent effort, this time with his right foot. He hit it with pace, but the ball went straight at De Gea, who barely had to move.
That spurred United on, though, and moments later Rafael sprung into life by finding Mata, who had to surely score, but the Spaniard tried to hit it too hard and sent the ball high into the stands.
Spurs came back again, and defender Federico Fazio came close with a left-footed volley, which forced De Gea into diving to his left.
United then made their last two changes, again at the back, with Chris Smalling coming on for Johnny Evans and Luke Shaw replacing Paddy McNair, the latter being a tactical substitution.
But it was the hosts who continued their attack, and Christian Eriksen, who had a fairly quiet afternoon was on target from a free-kick, but again Red devils star stopper De Gea saved well, palming it away.
That gave Spurs head coach Pochettino hope, though, and he brought on Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela for Townsend and the ineffective Nacer Chadli, with just under 15 minutes of the game to go.
It was homegrown youngsters Kane and Mason, however, who linked up well again soon after, as the prolific striker found his teammate once more, but was unable to be on target with his effort.
Spurs moved up one place into sixth, at the expense of north London rivals Arsenal, before the rest of the fixtures later in the day, while Man Utd will stay in third no matter the other results.
In the end, both clubs will be satisfied to take a point.