United welcomed visitors Tottenham Hotspur for the first Premier League home game of the season in confident mood, having successfully seen off West Brom in the season opener, and with Spurs yet to have played after their match versus Everton was postponed. Having not beaten United at Old Trafford since 1989, the omens were good for a United win, despite key injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Fergie continued to put his faith in his promising youngsters who had served him well so far this season, as Phil Jones and Jonny Evans continued their flourishing partnership at the centre of defence, as the front 6 remained the same as had began the second half of the community shield and the game at the Hawthorns. Spurs handed a premier league debut to Brad Friedel, a constant source of United frustration down the years, regularly putting in MOTM performances against the reds a feat he would likely have to repeat again if Spurs were to get the points.
United began the game very brightly, with Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney in particular posing plenty of problems for the Spurs back four. Tom Cleverley nearly provided United with the perfect start on 7 minutes, as a delightful move saw the young midfielder’s curling shot heading for the bottom corner, only for Friedel to deny him with a splendid low save. At the other end, Spurs were keen to test United’s young keeper De Gea with a barrage of long shots, a supposed fallibility of his, only to find the youngster in a confident mood and easily dealing with all Spurs had to offer. Whilst looking very solid at the back, as Phil Jones particularly continued to impress, United lacked a thrust up front, with Danny Welbeck guilty of being overly ponderous on the ball on several occasions, and our usually consistent wide men were lacking accuracy from their delivery, failing to capitalise on United’s territorial dominance. A 0-0 half time score was a fair reflection on what had been a lively contest, however, with United possessing Giggs, Berbatov and Hernandez on the bench, the reds were confident the deadlock would be broken.
Whatever Fergie said during the half time interval seemed to have an almost instantaneous impact, as United began to open up a tiring Spurs, bereft of many competitive minutes. Firstly, Young brought the best out of Friedel with a stinging shot from the edge of the area, and this was followed by another double save from the American, from Anderson initially and then Rooney on the follow up. United’s pressure finally told on the hour mark, as United’s two loanees last season combined magnificently to give the reds the reward for their positive 2nd half performance. Tom Clevereley exchanged a neat 1-2 with Nani, before whipping in a delightful ball to Welbeck who had the relatively simple task of nodding home from 12 yards out, much to his delight. With Spurs tiring and the game opening up, United looked more and more dangerous on the break, with De Gea building from the back with excellent distribution, allowing wave’s of United attacks to bear down upon the Spurs goal. With 15 minutes left on the clock, United got their 2 goal cushion with a vintage counter attacking goal which has often been the trademark of the club down the years. De Gea’s quick release to Ashley Young allowed the winger to travel up field unchallenged, before distributing to Anderson who exchanged a sumptuous 1-2 with Welbeck courtesy of a back heel, giving the Brazilian midfielder a relatively simple finish past an isolated Friedel.
With the game all but won, Spurs threw caution to the wind and were almost rewarded after De Gea unconvincingly dealt with a cross, allowing Defoe to strike a shot against the post with the Spanish keeper stranded. However, United turned back to their old guard, and soon the reds completed what was a comfortable night with a well deserved 3rd, as Giggs’s perfectly floated cross was headed home by the magnificent Rooney to maintain United’s 100% start to the season.
De Gea – 6 Great distribution, did well against Spurs’s long range assault. Slight flap late on.
Smalling – 7 Kept Bale very quiet with strong performance.
Jones – 8 Ferdinand will have to be very careful if Jones keeps performing like this.
Evans – 7 Few clumsy fouls, but dealt with Defoe with ease, much improved from last season.
Evra – 7 Kept Lennon quiet, attacking influence grew throughout game.
Nani – 6 Frustrating final ball but good build up play.
Cleverely – 7 Magnificent cross for first goal. Unlucky not to score.
Anderson – 7 Sloppy start, but grew into game and very well taken goal.
Young – 7 Continued to demonstrate he is United quality.
Rooney – 8 MOTM – Headlines will go to Welbeck, but Rooney controlled the flow of game and always threatened.
Welbeck – 8 Poor first half followed by blistering second. Goal and quality assist.
Giggs – 6 Great assist in first minutes of the season.
Hernandez – 5 Shaking off early cobwebs, good to see him back.
Park – 6