Spurs Hold United
Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates struggled to break down a hard-working Tottenham Hotspur side, leaving them with just a point. With Arsenal and Liverpool both struggling, United had a chance to close the gap at the top, but failed to make it count.
Although the visitors dominated possession for the opening few minutes, there was a lack of pace and incisiveness in their approach play. Instead it was Spurs who had the first serious attempt on goal when Bentley flipped the ball up with his right foot and cracked a 25-yard volley with his left, forcing Van der Sar into a smart save.
But the hosts suffered a blow three minutes later when Jonathan Woodgate was forced off with a back problem after an innocuous-looking challenge with Carlos Tevez. On came Tom Huddlestone to play in midfield, with Didier Zokora moving to right back and Vedran Corluka replacing Woodgate at centre-back.
United quickly tried to test Spurs' right flank, with Ronaldo sending in a cross for Dimitar Berbatov, who could only loop a header into Heurelho Gomes's arms. That was the story of Berbatov's return to White Hart Lane for the first time since his acrimonious transfer, as he narrowly failed to silence the deafening boos that accompanied his every touch.
The Bulgarian was denied a certain goal when Gomes superbly diverted Ronaldo's low cross and was inches away from getting his head to John O'Shea's cross as United continued to attack down their left.
United tried to step up the tempo after the break and Berbatov set off on a menacing run but was thwarted again when Michael Dawson nicked the ball away as he was about to shoot. From the corner, Ronaldo controlled the ball and lashed home, but the goal was disallowed for a handball.
The warning was there for Tottenham, who tried to hit back and Bentley tested Van der Sar with a well-struck free-kick. However, it was only a brief respite for Spurs as they came under increasing pressure.
Gomes had to be alert to keep out Nemanja Vidic's shot and Ferdinand headed narrowly over as United pressed. The Brazilian keeper, much criticised of late, was showing he can also hit the headlines for the right reasons and he brilliantly saved from Ji-Sung Park. His finest save was to come late on, when he tipped substitute Giggs' free-kick on to the bar.
United do not now play until their trip to Stoke on Boxing Day because of their involvement in the Fifa Club World Championship.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate (Huddlestone 10), Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Zokora, Jenas (O'Hara 62), Bentley, Modric, Pavlyuchenko (Bent 54).
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Bale, Gunter, Boateng.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Park, Fletcher (Scholes 69), Carrick, Ronaldo, Berbatov, Tevez (Giggs 69).
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Neville, Anderson, Nani, Evans.
Booked: Rafael Da Silva.
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).