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West Ham United
1 December 2013
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 35884
K. Walker 18'
W. Rooney 32', 57'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following today's game with me and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next time, farewell!
By a similar token, there was also cause for optimism in today's game for Manchester United. White Hart Lane was never going to be an easy place to come after their local rivals demolished Spurs last weekend and the home side looked eager to atone for that game's sins from the off. In the face of some intense Tottenham pressure, United acquitted themselves well and can be reasonably pleased with their performance as they remain unbeaten since September.
Tottenham can draw plenty of positives from that performance - they looked dangerous on the attack, dealt with United's potent attacking threats astutely and put in an altogether impressive performance. With that being said, Andre Villas-Boas and his men will be understandably frustrated that they couldn't claim three points from this contest as they allowed United back into the game all too easily on two separate occasions. Still, it's definitely an improvement on last weekend's showing and Spurs can be buoyed by that performance.
90' + 3'
And the referee brings an end to an excellent game of football! It finishes 2-2 in an extremely tight and hardly-fought contest as nothing can separate the two sides.
90' + 2'
The referee gives Spurs a corner after Sandro tackles the advancing Evra. Rooney whips the ball in and, though Lloris is unconvincing, dropping the ball on his first attempt, claims the ball with his second and the danger passes.
90' + 1'
Vidic crosses a ball into the box from deep and, though Chicharito manages to meet it, he does so from a position that is never going to threaten the Spurs goal.
There's three minutes injury time to be played as United enjoy a spell of possession, though they look as though they may just be happy with a point from this contest.
Yellow Card Nemanja Vidic
Walker's free kick is drived into the area and, though Cleverley blocks, Paulinho is first to the rebound, firing back into the box. The effort is deflected behind for a corner as Spurs' pressure persists.
Defoe skips past Vidic with ease down the right wing, much like Welbeck did to Dawson earlier on the half, only to find himself pulled down cynically by the Serb. The United captain is duly booked and Spurs have another set piece.
United's attack culminates in Chicharito finding some space in the home side's area, turning Dawson before firing a delivery into the area. Rooney tries to meet it first but can't quite beat Vertonghen to it.
Spurs look the stronger side as enter the final few minutes of this hotly-contested tie, though they haven't tested De Gea in some time. It could still go either way as United come forward on the attack...
De Gea makes a rare error, affording Spurs a throw-in in an advanced position as he misplaces a pass out to Vidic. They can't capitalise though and the Spaniard's blushes are spared.
Young, who is being vehemently boo'ed (presumably by the Spurs support) loses the ball before fouling Walker deep in the Tottenham half. That stoppage enables the home side to make a change as Sigurdsson replaces the extremely quiet Nacer Chadli on the left wing.
They almost make it count as a flick from Dawson almost gets Paulinho in on goal, only for the Brazilian to be called offside. Young and Nani are brought on, replacing Valencia and Kagawa on the wings.
Vertonghen wins a corner off Chris Smalling - a somewhat contentious decision but Spurs pay it no mind as Walker whips it into the box. Dawson heads it goalwards and, though Evans lets it run out, the referee, to the centre-backs evident bemusement, gives another corner.
United prepare to make two changes as Nani and Ashley Young are stripped off on the sidelines. Moyes is clearly keen to exploit the marauding nature of the Spurs full backs as we enter the final ten minutes.
Yellow Card Phil Jones
Spurs have another free kick opportunity in a dangerous position but it looks like Walker isn't going to have a hand in this one. Defoe strikes goalwards but Chicharito breaks from the wall and deflects the ball out for a throw.
Spurs almost hit United on the counter! Walker gets forward down the right wing in sprightly fashion before whipping in an extremely inviting ball. Townsend almost gets on the end of it but is just too late arriving into the box. A good chance that for Spurs!
Valencia, who has been extremely bright down the right, turns Vertonghen really well before attempting to drive a delivery into the area. The left-back gets back well though, putting behind for a corner.
Yellow Card Patrice Evra
A minute after halting Townsend in his tracks, Evra is booked for a challenge on the same man. He couldn't do much to get out of the way but he was beaten all ends up, caught square as he struggled to deal with the substitute's raw pace.
Defoe, getting involved in a surprisingly deep position, picks out Townsend's nicely on the right but the England international's first touch lets him down badly, allowing Evra ample time to intervene.
A good spell of possession draws to a close as Defoe slips in an attempt to retrieve a pass from Walker. This could go either way as we approach the final 15 minutes in this end-to-end contest.
The home support, yet again, appeal for a handball in the penalty area as Defoe gets involved for the first time since his introduction. He chips the ball in and, in spite of the supporters' protests against Jones, the referee is unmoved once again.
Chicharito gets involved from the off, chasing down a long ball and forcing Dawson to put the ball out for a throw. Kagawa receives the throw and goes down under pressure from Chiriches, though the referee deems it unworthy of a free kick.
Soldado is replaced by Defoe as Spurs go in search of a late goal. A similarly predatory striker is brought on by the other side as Chicharito replaces Welbeck. You wouldn't bet against one of those two grabbing the decisive goal in these closing stages.
The right-back does strike goalwards once more but his driven effort is blocked by the wall, which, quite wisely, remains grounded this time around.
As Defoe prepares to come on, Spurs win another free kick in a dangerous position as Jones brings down Vertonghen in an advance area. Yet again, it's Kyle Walker territory as the right back is primed to try and test De Gea once more.
United have a chance to go ahead! Welbeck makes a mockery of Dawson near the corner flag as he uses his pace to drift past the centre back with consummate ease. He cuts back but Rooney is not on the same wavelength and his cross flies invitingly across the box, unmet by a United player.
It's finely poised as we enter the final quarter of the match; it's Spurs' turn to press now as Walker gets forward down the right wing, though his cross comes back off him after Evra blocks his delivery, giving United a goal kick and a chance to build from the back once more.
Manchester United have had 70% of possession in this second half, a statistic that attests to their passing prowess since the break, though they've failed to really manufacture any golden opportunities, that penalty aside.
After the change is made, Walker strikes goalwards from distance and, though it's a decent effort, it's never troubling De Gea as it flies wide of the post.
Lennon is the man to be brought off for Townsend and, somewhat surprisingly, the decision is greeted by a venemous chorus of boos from the home support. The right winger has done considerably more than Chadli on the other wing so you can understand the fans' frustrations.
As Townsend prepares to come on for Spurs, Soldado earns his side a free kick turning Vidic before going down under pressure from the Serbian defender. It's soft but it's another good opportunity for the home side.
United are the team with the momentum following that equaliser as they enjoy a spell of possession just in front of the Tottenham defence. It culminates in another Rooney half-chance as Evra whips a dangerous ball into the area, allowing the Englishman to get in front of Chiriches and get a flick on the ball. He doesn't get enough on it though and it's behind for a goal kick.
It's an incredibly tame effort from Rooney as the England international fails to beat the wall, dinking the ball into it and allowing Spurs to clear.
Chiriches, fairly unceremoniously, brings down Rooney on the edge of the area after the United talisman puts it one side of the Romanian and runs the other. Rooney is set to strike goalwards as he goes in search of a hat-trick.
The England right back does just that but Evra heads away the free kick. It's headed into the body of Rooney, who duly clears. There are some appeals from the home support, claiming a handball from the goalscorer but it clearly strikes him on the hip. More out of hope than belief from the Spurs supporters.
Finally an opportunity for both sets of supports (and players alike) to catch their breath in the aftermath of that penalty, though that respite is shortlived as Vidic brings down Paulinho in a dangerous area on the left wing. Walker is set to swing another delivery into the United area.
Penalty Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Rooney duly converts the penalty, firing down the middle as Lloris dives to his left. A confident finish, Rooney has his second of the game and we're all level once again. What a couple of minutes!
Yellow Card Hugo Lloris
PENALTY! It's all happening at White Hart Lane as Lloris brings down Welbeck to gift United an opportunity to equalise! It's a definite penalty as, after the international beat the Frenchman to the ball, the goalkeeper clearly brough down the England international. Rooney steps up to take...
Assist Mousa Dembele
GOAL! Sandro scores an absolutely spectacular goal! It's difficult to put into words just how brilliant that goal is as an unexpected piece of individual brilliance puts Spurs a goal to the good! Sandro receives the ball in the middle, turning Cleverley a couple of times before thundering an unstoppable effort into the top corner from 30 yards out. Truly amazing and Spurs are 2-1 up!
United stroke the ball around patiently, looking for an opening in a hitherto stoic Spurs backline. They eventually work the ball out to Valencia but his cross deflects off Chadli before hitting the Ecuadorian and going behind for a goal kick.
Lennon continues to pester Evra as the winger forces the left back into an underhit pass by virtue of some concerted pressure. Evans retrieves the situation, however, clearing out for a throw-in.
United win a free kick just inside the Spurs half as a combination of Dembele and Sandro bring down Wayne Rooney. Jones attempts to take it quickly but, much to the away side's palpable annoyance, the referee doesn't let them, pausing play to have a word with the culpable Spurs' players.
Soldado's frustrations continue to manifest itself in the second half as the Spaniard fouls Evans unnecessarily. It almost goes without saying that he'll be desperate for a goal in this second period.
The referee gives a handball from the ensuing corner as it comes off Vidic's arms from Rooney's cross. The away side, despite all their opportunities from corners, have yet to really capitalise on those set-pieces.
The away side do ineed start in a similar vein to that which they ended the first, Valencia earning another corner as he forces a smart sliding challenge from Chiriches.
And we're back underway! Manchester United kick off proceedings in the second half as they look to continue to build that momentum they built at the end of that first half.
Both teams are coming back out on the pitch now as we approach a second half that could be vital for both sides!
United, meanwhile, can also find cause for positivity in that first half. They afforded their opposition too many chances leading up to that Rooney equaliser but, since that goal, they've looked the stronger of the two teams and had the better of the game. Moyes and his men will be looking to continue in that vein in the second half, though it will be by no means easy if Spurs start in the same way that they began the contest.
Tottenham will be enduring mixed emotions at the half-time break; their golden opportunities just prior to the goal, combined with the soft nature of that Rooney equaliser, will be cause for consternation amongst the Spurs contingent. Nevertheless, they've acquitted themselves well in the opening 45 minutes and Villas-Boas will be hoping they can start the second half in a similar manner to that which they started the first.
45' + 1'
Spurs, eventually, deal with the delivery from Rooney and that is that as the referee brings an end to the first-half proceedings. Tottenham will be ruing their missed chances as the two sides go into the interval level.
As we enter the one minute of added time, Valencia earns yet another corner, this time playing off Vertonghen to give Rooney another chance to delivery a telling cross into the area.
United, who are enjoying a good spell, attempt to work something down the right once again. Jones tries to find the ever-lively Valencia but his pass is intercepted by Vertonghen, who duly clears.
United have another half-chance as a Valencia cross is deflected out to the feet of Jones. About 30 yards from goal, the Englishman tries his luck but he doesn't quite catch his shot right and the effort is skewed wide of the post.
Spurs continue to look somewhat frustrated in their attempts to find Soldado. Walker tries to find the Spaniard with a ball forward but Evra intervenes as the pass goes slightly awry. That golden opportunity aside, Soldado has yet to have any real service, though how much of that is down to a lack of movement is up for debate.
Evra appeared to kick Lennon there and, had he taken a touch rather than crossed the ball immediately, that could easily have been a penalty. It wasn't to be, however, and Spurs continue to go in search for a potentially decisive goal.
Lennon does really well to win a ball he shouldn't be getting anywhere near, putting a cross into the area despite Evra appearing to have control of the ball. No-one is on the same wavelength, however, and the opportunity goes begging.
Valencia, who's getting a fair amount of the ball out here on the right wing, forces Vertonghen to slide in and put his cross behind for a corner. United appear to be growing in confidence here, while Spurs are doing quite the opposite.
Valencia does exceptionally well to turn Chiriches inside out before cutting the ball back to Rooney. Cleverley wants it but the goalscorer steps in, attempting to work a shot himself. Vertonghen intervenes, however, and the chance goes begging.
The England right-back does just that but it's a disappointing ball in, only finding the arms of the grateful David De Gea. Spurs will want to find a respond before the half-time break - there's no time to feel sorry for themselves out there.
Chiriches does well for Spurs, coming forward from the back with a marauding run before being brought down by Jones. It's a dangerous position out on the left wing and Walker looks set to whip a delivery into the box.
Villas-Boas will be extremely unhappy about that goal. They had two golden chances to extend their lead but Soldado and Lennon weren't clinical enough and they ended up paying the price. Walker, also, has gone from hero to villain in a matter of ten minutes - he'll be desperately disappointed with his part in that goal.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! And it's Wayne Rooney! Jones whips a ball in from the right and Walker, surprised that it's got through to him, sticks a boot out and, inadvertently, puts the ball into the path of Rooney. The striker makes no mistake, placing it into the roof of the net and putting United level!
Lennon goes close! Soldado puts a really nice ball through to the advancing winger after the Englishman loses Evra thanks to a darting run. His finish is turned away well by De Gea, a good save and another chance wasted for Spurs!
Spurs almost hit United on the counter! Soldado starts the move with a quite beautiful flick into the path of Paulinho and, with United looking susceptible at the back, the Brazilian returns the favour, playing into the path of the Spanish striker. It's an excellent ball and all that's left is the finish but Soldado spurns the opportunity, smashing the ball well over the bar. He's visibly angered by his finish and maybe he should be - the ball was running away from him but a player of his calibre should be doing better there.
Rooney heads away from the ensuing corner and, though Spurs pick up possession from the clearance, they don't have it for long as Valencia overpowers Walker, setting the home side away.
Walker, who, after that terrible touch early on has acquitted himself well, intercepts a Rooney pass out to Welbeck astutely before setting Spurs on the attack once again. They eventually work it out to Chadli but Smalling is dogged defensively, deflecting the winger's cross behind for a corner.
Moyes is irate after Spurs are awarded a throw-in that United feel should be theirs. Evra joins him in his protests but they're in vain as Walker prepares to take the throw.
The cross, although better than the last, is cleared adeptly by the Spurs backline and Tottenham have the ball once more, though their spell of possession comes to a halt with a misplaced pass from Vertonghen.
The delivery is fairly dismal, however, failing to beat the first man. He's allowed another chance though as, thirty seconds later, Spurs put it behind for another corner.
Kagawa earns his side a corner, neatly side-stepping Vertonghen's challenge before putting a cross in. It's put behind by the sliding Chiriches and Rooney prepares to swing it in.
United calm things down a bit, retaining the ball as they look to gain a foothold in this contest. They started off reasonably well, putting together some nice periods of play but Spurs have been resolute thus far - they haven't allowed United a sniff at goal, that Rooney half-chance aside.
The home side's pressure is relentless as Soldado claims a penalty after he thought he was impeded following a dangerous Kyle Walker cross. They appeal for another penalty seconds later after Chadli's subsequent delivery appears to strike the hand of Smalling. United are rocking here!
Spurs look energised by that opening goal; they instantly earn themselves a corner, courtesy of Lennon's industry down the right. Dawson acrobatically turns the subsequent delivery goalwards but it's blocked astutely by Smalling.
Goal Kyle Walker
GOAL! Walker smacks the free kick goalwards, driving his effort low and through the jumping wall. De Gea sees it too late and can't do anything to prevent the strike flying past him and putting Spurs 1-0 up. Excellent start for Tottenham!
Spurs bounce back with some more pressure, Vertonghen whipping a cross into the area. His cross is lacking in quality but Evans' subsequent clearance is picked up by Paulinho on the edge of the area. The Brazilian sidesteps a challenge from Evans but is brought down regardless, meaning Spurs have a free kick in an extremely dangerous position.
Chiriches' blushes were spared thanks to Sandro and Vertonghen there, that could really have put a dent in his confidence had Rooney converted.
United have their first chance of the game! Chiriches dallies on the ball and is duly dispossessed by Rooney, who set Valencia away down the right. Advancing on goal, the right winger attempted to square but his efforts are thwarted by a good block from Vertonghen. The ball eventually falls to Rooney but his shot is blocked valiantly by Sandro. That was some excellent last-ditch defending but it should never have come to that in the first place.
United put together a nice move, culminating in Rooney working a nice crossing opportunity for Smalling down the right wing. His cross is blocked by Chadli, however, and it runs through to Lloris in the Spurs goal.
Kagawa, playing in his favoured no.10 role today, tries a left-footed ball out to Evra but Walker intercepts, heading out for a throw. From the opening, you sense United will enjoy the majority of the possession while Spurs attempt to hit their opposition on the counter.
Lennon has the first strike of the game, coming inside from the right wing and shooting on his left. It's a fairly tame effort and De Gea claims but that's cause for optimism from Tottenham's perspective - they look hungry today.
Chadli wins possession in Spurs' half, courtesy of their pressing tactics, playing into Dembele before surging down the left wing and getting the ball back from his teammate. Smalling is alive to the danger however, and puts out for a throw.
Spurs continue to press with some resolve as Dembele earns the accolades of the home support after he puts pressure under Jonny Evans. The centre-back's clearance is blocked by the Belgian, much to the fans' audible delight.
Both sides have started this game quite strongly; United look confident in possession while Spurs are playing at a frenetic tempo. This is shaping up to be an intriguing contest, though there have yet to be any clear-cut chances.
Incidentally, Evra was lucky to escape a booking for that, it appeared a hefty challenge on Lennon and, though the referee went back and had a word with the Frenchman, no yellow was doled out. That's two United players who have been lucky to escape a caution.
Spurs have their first sight of goal but Walker is extremely wasteful. Lennon is fouled by Evra but the referee plays a good advantage, allowing Paulinho to thread Walker through down the right wing. The right back's first touch is woeful, however, and the ball runs out for a goal kick. That is incredibly disappointing from the England international.
The quick tempo of the start continues as United enjoy a spell of possession. Spurs look eager to press their opposition, though Kagawa manages to undo them by engaging in a nice bit of interplay with Danny Welbeck. His eventual cross is poor, however, going behind for a goal kick.
Smalling is perhaps lucky to avoid a booking as he brings down Vertonghen. There was nothing cynical in it but you can't help thinking that'd be a booking if it happened later in the game.
It's a decent delivery from Walker but De Gea is alert to the danger, punching away with aplomb. Spurs keep the pressure up but Paulinho can't keep the ball in this time. This is a good start from the home side, they seem primed for a fight today.
Tottenham get off to a better start than they managed last week - though that's not asking much - as they earn a corner early doors, Paulinho putting Evans under pressure, leading to the centre back putting it behind and affording Spurs an early opportunity.
And we're underway! Tottenham kick off proceedings as they look to atone for their 6-0 defeat to Manchester City with a win against their rivals today.
Both teams are in the tunnel now as we're minutes away from kick off here at White Hart Lane!
David Moyes, meanwhile, also chooses to make three changes from the team that romped to a 5-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, introducing Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck at the expense of Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Nani.
Andre Villas-Boas, perhaps surprisingly, has largely retained faith in the side that lost 6-0 to Manchester City, making just three changes as Younes Kaboul, Erik Lamela and Lewis Holtby make way for Vlad Chiriches, Moussa Dembele and Nacer Chadli.
Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Jones, Valencia, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Anderson, Fellaini, Nani, Young, Chicharito.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Vertonghen, Paulinho, Sandro, Lennon, Dembele, Chadli, Soldado. Subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Capoue, Holtby, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Defoe.
And here come the team line-ups:
Of course, that doesn't completely redeem Moyes and his men – they still sit in seventh in the league and could only manage a 2-2 draw against Cardiff in their last league game. However, they could go fourth with a win here and they will be keen to do so as they continue picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign.
David Moyes and his Manchester United side, meanwhile, appear to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, slowly but surely growing in confidence as their season progresses. They have not lost since September, claiming seven league points from a potential nine in October and, most recently, romping through to the next stage of the Champions League with a 5-0 rout of Bayer Leverkusen.
Nonetheless, they regained a little bit of face (the operative word there being 'little') with their 2-0 defeat of Tromso in midweek, but Villas-Boas will be hoping for a result here if Spurs still harbour hopes of a title challenge, especially with his job supposedly on the line.
This fixture, which would have been important anyway, has taken on a new degree of importance with the ever-intensifying presence of pressure building on Andre Villas-Boas. Spurs have struggled of late, a struggle that culminated in their recent 6-0 capitulation at the hands of Manchester City. They have failed to score goals on a consistent basis all season and, with that six goal defeat, their defence is suddenly looking a little suspect as well.
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Tottenham and Manchester United, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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