Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 28 October 2017
Kick-off: 12:30 BST
Manchester United secured a narrow 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur on a rain-soaked afternoon at Old Trafford.
In a hard-fought contest, substitute Anthony Martial bagged the winner with 10 minutes remaining.
Heading into the fixture level on points with Spurs and with the critics surrounding United of late, this big game victory was much needed and a welcome response to last weekend’s defeat at Huddersfield.
The hosts started the brighter of the two with Romelu Lukaku’s low cross toward Marcus Rashford cut out by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Speculative efforts courtesy of Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko from range were held by David De Gea, with Lloris producing a decent low stop to tip the ball behind from Rashford’s deep free-kick in between those two Spurs chances.
Bringing the ball out from the back, Toby Alderweireld struck the side netting and Eric Dier’s acrobatic attempt was held before half-time arrived.
After the break, Christian Eriksen curled wide before the hosts grew in attack once more.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw a shot parried, Ben Davies was just able to clear the loose ball as Rashford lurked for the rebound and the former’s low cross evaded all bodies inside the penalty area, as Antonio Valencia drove an effort just over.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Martial replaced Rashford and Lloris was forced to deny Lukaku as the Belgian searched for the far corner.
Eriksen fired over for the visitors before dinking a pass into the path of Dele Alli, only to poke the wide after wrong-siding Chris Smalling.
Substitute Jesse Lingard almost grabbed an assist when his cross met the head of Lukaku, with the post preventing a typical goal before the latter’s head played a crucial role in the sole strike.
De Gea’s long ball was flicked on by the head of Lukaku, and the pace of Martial saw him latch onto the loose ball, and despite the connection not being the cleanest, it was enough to divert the ball past his fellow countryman via his left boot.
Lingard struck over with little time remaining and United held on for what was a deserved win despite Tottenham’s efforts.
This was the fourth consecutive triumph over Spurs at Old Trafford, and the third 1-0 victory in a row, as United’s 100% home record ended that of Spurs’ away form, with another clean sheet to boast.
A late winner in front of the Stretford End in a massive fixture made this all the more sweet, with a pleasing, resolute performance on show after last week’s poor display.
Jose Mourinho himself was happy with the win but acknowledged the tricky nature of this clash between second and third.
“That was difficult, it could have been a draw. Both teams were trying to win but both knew the opponent was strong.
“It was tactically difficult for both. It was strong, aggressive.
“We knew if we had one defensive mistake we could lose and that’s what happened to them. We tried and we deserved the victory.”
After questions were raised regarding the attitude this time last week, the Portuguese boss was keen to praise such element this time around.
“We all feel we have to win every match so that’s why I felt disappointed at Huddersfield. It looked like we didn’t know that every point is a precious point,” claimed Jose after the game.
“Today, every ball looked like the last ball of their careers,” added Mourinho.
His side will look to build on an impressive response to the opening loss of the campaign when they face Benfica on Tuesday in the Champions League.
The 7:45pm kick-off presents a chance at home to move one step closer to the knockout round ahead of next weekend’s trip to Chelsea.
Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Jones; Valencia, Herrera, Matic, Young (Darmian 90+2), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 65); Lukaku, Rashford (Martial 70).
Subs not used: Romero, Blind, McTominay, Mata.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Aurier, Winks, Alli, Davies; Sissoko (Dembele 62), Eriksen; Son (Llorente 62).
Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Rose, Sanchez, N’Koudou.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino