TOTTENHAM 1, MAN UNITED 3.
Sir Alex Ferguson described it as a result of some significance as Manchester United’s win at Tottenham effectively eliminated one of their two rivals from the Barclays Premier League title race.
It now looks a direct battle for the title between United and City who the previous day established a five-point lead over their Old Trafford rivals.
As United headed for North London, they couldn’t afford to lose ground in their bid for a 20th championships by allowing the team from the blue half of Manchester maintain such a cushion.
The win reduced the deficit to a more manageable two points leaving it appears a straight fight between the Manchester rivals for the title following this loss by Tottenham.
It was a bizarre match because Tottenham dominated the opening period only to find themselves 1-0 down at the break.
“It was a massive result as we were over-run in the first half and it was a miracle we were 1-0 up,” conceded Sir Alex Ferguson.
Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp was perplexed saying: “They are a great side, but we made them look ordinary. It was soul destroying to be 1-0 down at half time.”
In that opening period, it was hard to believe rampant Spurs were without three key players – the banned Scott Parker, unwell Gareth Bale and injured Rafael van der Vaart.
There was a procession of chances for Spurs as Emmanuel Adebayor brought a decent save from David de Gea and Younes Kaboul’s free kick deflected narrowly wide before Spurs had a goal disallowed.
Adebayor was ruled by referee Martin Atkinson to have handled the ball before back heeling home an initial strike from Louis Saha.
It looked only a matter of time before there was a goal, but not from the visitors to White Hart Lane.
Then 30 seconds before half time came as crushing blow as Wayne Rooney was left unmarked in the six-yard box to head home an Ashley Young corner.
Spurs remained a threat at the start of the second half as Jake Livermore’s deflected shot was well saved by de Gea while Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s free kick hit the crossbar. They also had shouts for a penalty rejected after a challenge by Rio Ferdinand on Adebayor.
United weathered the onslaught and doubled their lead on the hour following a quickly-taken throw. Nani made the decisive break and his low cross to the far post was met by Young who fired in through the eye of a needle back across goal into the far corner.
Young added a third in the 69th minute curling in an exquisite shot from 25 yards as stunned Spurs, who had played so well, found themselves 3-0 down.
Spurs pulled a goal back when a poor pass from Michael Carrick was intercepted by Jermain Defoe, but the late effort proved no more than a consolation.