Manchester United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Saturday 20th March 2004
Old Trafford, Manchester

Manchester United are now officially out of "Crisis" mode, and back to winning ways. The Reds finally ended their six-game points-famine with an impressive victory at home to Spurs, and now they can begin to play with their usual pride and confidence once more.

A changed United team saw Tim Howard arguably the best-performing newcomer to the United team dropped in favour of the dull but reliable Roy Carroll. Howard apparently needed a little break after "Mental tiredness", and is likely to remain Carroll's understudy for the next two to three games according to Sir Alex meaning Howard will miss both of the big Arsenal games. On a more positive note for Timmy, Sir Alex did say that Howard has been sensational this season, and that he will become a world class goalkeeper in years to come.

Solskjaer made his first start since returning from injury, and Diego Forlan received a surprise call-up as the manager opted for two recognised strikers up-front.

United began the game well, and were playing with an urgency for goals that has not been apparent for much of the season. Many players were testing the Spurs keeper with shots on target, and it was only a matter of time before United took the lead. Giggs was stood near the near-post on the edge of the six-yard box when Solskjaer crossed the ball. The mercurial Welshman let the ball glide between his legs before deftly recoursing the ball to the back of the net with the back of his right foot.

The Ryan Giggs wonder-goal did much to calm the nerves of the United team, and, with Keane deciding to be commanding again in midfield, Spurs never really had a chance to rally back.

United controlled the ball well, and even Forlan, accustomed to wasting the ball with every opportunity, found it within his grasp to make clever and incisive passes. At half-time, United deserved to be more than one goal up.

As the minutes past by, United fans began to get nervy: How many times had we been 1-0 up this season, only to be cruelly forced to drop points as the opposition scored in the dying minutes of the game with their first real chance. But Sir Alex was clearly not one of those he chose to bring Ronaldo on for a tired Solskjaer, when Nicky Butt could surely have done a job at stopping the Spurs' attacks.

As the final whistle approached, United fans were hoping and praying that United wouldn't mess this up; That we wouldn't make a stupid mistake and fall further into the depths of the Premier League table.

That was Ronaldo's cue to finally seal the game. With a minute to go, he struck a ferocious shot from 25 yards out. The Spurs keeper could only flap at the ball, and then watch as the ball hit off the post and bounced happily into the unguarded net.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The game was won, and United had answered their critics, and proven that they could still play the beautiful game.

Bellion was substituted on to waste some time, but ended up finishing Spurs off with style. His run was picked out perfectly by man-of-the-match Giggs, and Bellion wrong-footed a defender before belting the ball home.

It was an impressive United victory, and gives us some hope that we will be able to match, or beat, Arsenal twice over the next fortnight. Bring them on.

Man Utd: Carroll, O'Shea, Silvestre, Brown, Phil Neville, Solskjaer (Ronaldo 74), Scholes (Bellion 90), Keane, Giggs, van Nistelrooy, Forlan (Butt 80). Subs not used: Howard, Fletcher. Booked: Giggs.

Tottenham: Keller, Carr, Gardner, Doherty, Taricco (Dalmat 45), Marney (Redknapp 65), Brown, King, Ziege, Keane, Defoe (Kanoute 79). Subs not used: Hirschfeld, Kelly. Booked: Carr.

Attendance: 67,634. Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).