By Joseph Chapman: https://twitter.com/jcwba16
A resilient Tottenham saw off a battling Manchester United to record their first ever Premier League victory at Old Trafford this evening.
After going in at the break leading 0-2, Spurs gave their fans a scare when they conceded within moments of the restart- only to regain their two goal advantage moments later. This lead was cut in half again almost immediately, and Spurs were required to defend to the hilt for the entire remainder.
Anders Lindegaard was recalled to the starting line up in goal, alongside the likes of Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa. Wayne Rooney made the bench. Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia were all ruled out.
Emmanuel Adebayor remained a notable absentee for the away side, as were Jake Livermore and Scott Parker. Benoit Assou-Ekotto was still injured, so Jan Vertonghen covered at left back.
The Londoners got off to the best possible start when the Belgian summer signing received the ball from Gareth Bale before travelling a long distance without a challenge. The defender's shot on goal deflected past Lindegaard and gave Andre Villas-Boas the start he would have wanted.
The next incident in the match came at the other end. Robin Van Persie's touch was a little heavy, yet William Gallas came in with a crunching tackle that made contact with man and ball- the former feeling the effects of his ex-team-mate's challenge.
In the early stages the home side failed to gather the momentum which makes them so dangerous at the Theatre of Dreams. Credit must be attributed to Tottenham, defensively extremely solid while the pace of Bale, Defoe and Lennon offering plenty for the United defence to think about on the counter attack.
Yet as the half wore on, the Red Devils carried the familiar threat that fans, neutral or partial, have become accustomed to while under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Scholes and Carrick were unable to find a way through, on the flanks Nani and Giggs were largely ineffective, while Van Persie, as the lone striker, was isolated for periods.
United's inability to break down the back-line of Spurs offered the forward players an opportunity to go further ahead. A chance they gratefully took, Sandro dispossessing in the middle of the pitch and sending Bale on his way. The Welsh winger was able to comfortably run fifty yards or more, past the hapless Rio Ferdinand, before slotting into the corner with his weaker foot.
One or two home fans vented their frustrations at their team's uncharacteristic dominance upon the blowing of the half time whistle.
Whatever Fergie said at half time clearly had an effect on the game. As did his decision to throw Wayne Rooney on, replacing Ryan Giggs to offer a more attacking threat.
Cue the craziest five minutes you are likely to see in the Premier League this year. The versatile Rooney was found on the right, and the number ten put in an inviting cross for Portuguese winger Nani to divert the ball beyond Friedel.
This did not deter Tottenham, Defoe causing a big problem for Ferdinand on the left before releasing Bale. The midfielder unleashed a fierce shot which was too hot for Lindegaard to hold and Clint Dempsey scored his first for Spurs from close range to make it three.
However Spurs momentarily switched off at the back, Van Persie allowed to slip in Kagawa and he nudged it past Friedel into the corner. Game on. Again.
United's expected dominance followed thereafter. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez were introduced, as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.
The closest they really came was from a dead ball. Lennon upended Kagawa 25 yards out, and although Van Persie initially stood over it, Rooney was the man to curl a spectacular effort onto the post.
Time and again, Scholes and Carrick were able to find ways of cutting the Spurs defence open, but the attacking line were either thwarted by American Friedel, or not clinical enough; Van Persie taking the ball in his stride before shooting low past the far post.
AVB tactically played it correctly, and he was able to introduce Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson to see out Spurs' first victory on the Red's stomping ground for 23 years.