Tottenham Hotspur 0 v 1 Manchester United
White Hart Lane, London
25th September 2004
Manchester United finally managed to string two wins together - and it is no coincidence that Rio Ferdinand has played in both since returning from a 9 month drug-ban last Monday. Rio has not only put in some very impressive performancaes, but his mere presence has lifted the games of Silvestre and Keane, amongst others.
In a game at White Hart Lane that United desperately needed to win to have any hope of staying in touch with Arsenal, United looked dominant - though not unbeatable.
The only goal of the game came just before half-time, when John O'Shea - playing in the centre of midfield - was tugged to the floor of the penalty area by an overzealous Spurs defender. Ruud tucked away the resulting penalty in his usual manner. Hopefully he has put the penalty nightmares he had last season well behind him.
United had the better of all the play, and were constantly creating chances, particularly through Ronaldo, who skipped past his marker with ease time after time. In such incredible form, Ronaldo can get past anyone using his quick feet and unpredictabilty.
And it was Ronaldo who gave United their next best chances of scoring, with two excellent crosses from the left flank by the young Portuguese superstar. One was converted by Ruud, but disallowed by a dubious offside decision. The other landed right on the head of United's David Bellion, who fiercely headed the ball towards goal, with the ball hitting the Spurs keeper in the belly in a save he didn't have a clue he was making.
Spurs had a few attacks, but United's back line did well to clear the ball swiftly and efficiently. United's new boy Heinze looked particularly solid, and seems to be a good buy.
The main controversy of the game happened off the pitch - with Spurs' manager Jacques Santini claiming he saw the Referee laughing and joking with United's squad in their dressing room at half-time (Just minutes after having awarded United a penalty), which raises all sorts of questions.
None the less, three points to United, and Rooney's debut's on Tuesday!
Tottenham: Robinson, Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman, Mabizela (Jackson 67), Pedro Mendes, Redknapp, Keane, Kanoute (Davies 30), Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Keller, Gardner.
Booked: Pedro Mendes.
Man Utd: Carroll, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Ronaldo, O'Shea, Keane, Giggs (Miller 83), van Nistelrooy (Bellion 86), Smith.
Subs Not Used: Phil Neville, Kleberson, Ricardo.
Goals: Van Nistelrooy 42 pen.
Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire).