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Drained At White Hart Lane

 Posted by on December 29, 2014 at 10:33 am  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Manchester United, Tottenham
Dec 292014

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Manchester United
79958321 vanpersie 1 Drained At White Hart LaneManchester United’s final game of 2014 was a rather dull affair. It’s hard to wax philosophical after so many chances and half-chances were squandered by Messrs. Mata, Van Persie and Falcao. Even harder when United’s best player was the perpetual nowhere man, Ashley Young. Easy on the eye and as diligent a worker bee for King Louis as you’ll find, Young can’t hit an accurate pass to save his life and even admitted to gathered reporters that his wicked-looking curved—which turned out to be United’s very best effort of the afternoon—ever so brilliantly saved by Hugo Lloris, was meant to be a pass to the far post. Yes. It was one of those matches!

At any rate, profligacy was the order of the day and the truth is that United’s midfield is starting to show the kind of creeping exhaustion which has plagued our ever interchanging back three or four throughout the first half of the season. With Michael Carrick’s body language that of a man happy to be blindfolded before execution by a firing squad just to get some kip, it was a miracle that a workhorse Wayne Rooney wasn’t completely overrun in central midfield. Indeed, Carrick looked so completely shagged out in the second half that LVG will have to think about moving Phil Jones and even Rafael Di Silva into midfield if Ander Herrera hasn’t recovered in time to face Sparky’s team of trees. Crisis? What crisis?

Having said all that, United’s defense, in spite of the utter inability of Evans. Jones or McNair to successfully move the ball forward, held its own well against the wiles of a young, hungry Harry Kane, who is looking more and more like the best young English striker to come along since Wayne Rooney. Both he and Ryan Mason were a handful and showed much flair. Nevertheless, lucky or not, the back three held.

After the match, Tottenham made much fuss out of two penalty appeals. One after Paddy McNair clipped Harry Kane in the box. To Kane’s credit he stayed on his feet. And the second, when Rooney held on to Kane during a corner, was at best 50/50. By comparison, Jan Vertonghen, Spurs’ mercilessly ruthless Belgian defender seems to have had his box drills taught to him by the same teacher as our own beloved Marouane Fellaini, and there were three or four parallel cases of Vertonghen elbow chatter United’s coaching staff chose to ignore.

Yet United had the ball over Spurs’ goal line line in the 23rd minute, only for an offside flag against Falcao to nullifiy Phil Jones’s header into goal at the far post. That was perhaps unlucky, but although Rooney’s physicality ruled midfield, his finishing was nowhere to be seen 48 hours after he had been ruthlessly brilliant. Also less sharp was Falcao,who twice failed to execute after cleverly making it into Hugo Lloris’ area and then being foiled by the admirably aggressive Federico Fazio, who reminds me of Nemanja Vidic.

Lloris is having a fantastic season in the Premier League after having initial difficulties, much like our own David De Gea. Llloris blocked Van Persie at point blank range. Then he saved a Micharel Carrick rocket after the striker had blocked the Geordie’s high ball. Lloris’ tour-de-force, however, was in flying high and twisting to turn aside a long Ashley Young pass that inadvertently morphed into a curver bound for the top corner.

All in all, it would be fair to point out vis-a-vis a lackluster second half that it wasn’t all just handbags between the players. Tiredness makes ofr naughty children. The referee Jon Moss also seemed to become extra persnickety in the second half, brandished six yellow cards. The referee, in fact, seemed more likely to blow his stack than all the millionaires on the field.

With another crucial match in the offing on New Year’s Day against Stoke City, we pray for the return of Ander Herrera and Angel Dí María.79958398 townsend 1 Drained At White Hart Lane

Ivor Irwin

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