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    Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Manchester United: Match Report

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur responded to Leicester City stretching their lead at the top of the Premier League to 10 points by thrashing Manchester United 3-0 at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
    Mauricio Pochettino wasted no time in drafting fit-again Jan Vertonghen back into the starting XI in place of Kevin Wimmer who had given a great account of himself over the last three months filling in for the Belgium international. Erik Lamela replaced Son Heung-min, and when fit, this is surely Pochettino’s first choice team.

    The Red Devils started brightly, not allowing the home side to play their natural pressing game. On 4 minutes, Anthony Martial ran into the Spurs area, but his effort was blocked, and Jesse Lingard’s follow-up was cleared.
    Louis Van Gaal’s side dominated the early possession, winning two corners, but the north Londoners defended well from both.

    On 18 minutes, Mousa Dembele played to Danny Rose on the left, but Danny’s shot drifted wide of the target. Dembele was involved again, passing to Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen from a central position. The Dane found Rose, whose cross was easily held by David De Gea.
    Rose found Kyle Walker with a delightful cross-field ball pass. Kyle got to the bye-line and fed Eriksen, whose right footed shot fell just wide. Eriksen had another shot saved after some lovely combination play between Lamela, Rose and Dele Alli on the left. Lamela was guilty of missing a gift-wrapped opportunity from five yards as he inexplicably headed wide when it looked easier to score.

    Ashley Young replaced the ineffective Marcus Rashford at half time. The Lilywhites put the visitors under pressure in the opening exchanges of the second period, with Eriksen seeing his shot punched away by De Gea, who then saved Eric Dier’s drive from outside the box. Harry Kane saw his good effort saved following Dembele’s ball, with Rose yet again instigating the attack.
    Lingard put wide following Martial’s pass from the left as United spurred a rare chance. A couple of minutes later, Lingard had another shot which was blocked, then his follow-up was comfortably claimed by Hugo Lloris.

    On 65 minutes, Rose’s forceful cross deflected towards goal but was saved by De Gea. Kyle Walker showed great determination to chase down a ball on the right, but his cross was parried by the Spanish shot-stopper.
    Timothy Fosu-Mensah had been a rock in defence for the Red Devils, but the Dutch U19 star was forced off through injury, replaced by Italian international Matteo Darmian. Less than two minutes after this substitution, Tottenham took the lead. Great play from Lamela on the floor allowed Kane to stroke the ball over to Eriksen who had occupied a position on the left. Christian quickly passed inside to Alli with a pinpoint pass, and Dele fired past the helpless De Gea to send the home side into ecstasy.

    Four minutes later, Pochettino’s side doubled their lead. Kane was fouled on the left, and Lamela swung in an exquisite free kick towards the back post where Toby Alderweireld met the cross and superbly placed his header into the corner of De Gea’s left post.
    Two minutes after the second, Spurs were in seventh heaven when they added a third. The outstanding Danny Rose crossed low and hard, and Lamela side-footed a lovely shot past the goalkeeper. Three goals in under six minutes gave the home side a glimmer of hope in their bid to win the Premier League title.

    The north Londoners were determined for more. Kane’s header was tipped over from Lamela’s free kick. Vertonghen then saw his header punched away following Eriksen’s corner.
    There was a fracas when Walker and Memphis Depay got involved in an unnecessary exchange which resulted in both players receiving yellow cards from referee Mike Dean.

    The Lilywhites used all of their three substitutions in the final few minutes of the game, including that of Kane who had been hobbling, and Alli who was cautioned for simulation inside the opposition penalty area.
    The title chase is far from over, but Claudio Ranieri’s side have a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League. In a highly unusual season, you just never know what is around the corner but it really is Leicester’s to throw away.

    Next up for Tottenham is a trip to the Britannia Stadium on Monday to face a Stoke City side who are always tough to undo on their own turf, but Pochettino will feel confident based on how well his side have conducted themselves away from N17 this term. It’s going to be a nail biter.
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Manchester United: Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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