Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Sunday, 11 December 2016
Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Manchester United secured a narrow 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur to close the gap on their opponents and Manchester City.
That gap reduces to six after Henrik Mkhitaryan scored the only goal of the game in the first half following on from his midweek strike against Zorya.
Having dropped the most points within the final 10 minutes of matches this season, this win was a big relief and welcome boost at seeing the contest out to hold onto a precious three points.
After Jose Mourinho’s summer signings influenced Thursday’s Europa League victory, they were at it again as early as the second minute.
A neat turn from Mkhitaryan allowed him to play in Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the right, whose low cross was met by the run of Paul Pogba, as his fellow countryman Hugo Lloris produced a fantastic save low to his right.
During a good spell for the visitors, Heung-min Son curled over as Christian Eriksen’s free-kick was beaten away by David De Gea.
Back came United as Jan Vertonghen did well to block Mkhitaryan’s effort, Ander Herrera saw a volley from range held and Michael Carrick’s strike deflected over against his former side.
Just before the half hour mark, pressure from Pogba on Harry Kane allowed the ball to fall for Herrera, whose perfectly weighted through ball allowed Mkhitaryan to race through, and smash a finish into the roof of the net.
It could’ve been two when Ibrahimovic saw a shot held, as De Gea pushed Son’s attempt over the bar at the other end after the South Korean cut inside, before Kane’s speculative strike dropped wide as half-time arrived.
Looking for the equaliser, Eriksen’s shot was beaten away from De Gea before Pogba rattled the woodwork from a free-kick as Lloris was left rooted to the spot and his shot from Herrera’s pull back bounced into the ground before being turned away.
Another Eriksen free-kick was turned away with a fine low save to his right by De Gea, as the away side searched for a way back into the fixture.
Digging deep, United held on for their first league win in over a month and first at Old Trafford since September.
This was the last home game before Christmas, with trips to Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion to come before such date.
The first of those at Selhurst Park kicks-off at 8pm this Wednesday, as United look for back-to-back league wins.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Carrick; Mkhitaryan (Bailly 84), Herrera (Fellaini 90+6), Pogba, Martial (Rashford 72); Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Mata, Rooney.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele (Winks 67); Eriksen (N’Koudou 83), Alli, Son (Sissoko 57); Kane.
Subs not used: Vorm, Dier, Wimmer, Davies.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino