Monday, 12 December 2016

Match report: United 1-0 Tottenham

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored and was then carried off injured as United won a home league game for the first time since September.

The Armenian's second goal in as many games, following his Europa League goal on Thursday, moved us to within three point of fifth-placed Tottenham and six behind Pep Guardiola's faltering City side. 

With upcoming away games at Crystal Palace and in-form West Brom on the horizon ahead of the festive fixtures, United will now look to put together the winning run that we have long threatened. 

The Reds started brightly and could have gone ahead in the second minute.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic burst clear down the left and cut the ball back for Paul Pogba but the Frenchman was denied by a good low save from compatriot Hugo Lloris.

Son Heung-Min went close from distance at the other end before David de Gea did well to repel Christian Eriksen's 25-yard free-kick. 

Mkhitaryan - on his fourth successive start for the Reds - saw his fierce strike deflected behind by Jan Vertonghen and Ander Herrera's cushioned volley from range brought a comfortable save from Lloris. 

Carrick lashed over the top from distance but United moved ahead with their next attack shortly before the half-hour mark.
Mkhitaryan raced on to Herrera's perfectly weighted pass and rifled home a superb finish into the roof of the net. 

United were dominant now and almost doubled their advantage within moments of taking the lead, only for Lloris to save well again, this time to keep out top scorer Ibrahimovic. 

However, opposite number De Gea was called into action again and preserved his side's slender lead when he tipped over Son's dipping 20 yarder shortly before the break. 

Victor Wanyama headed wide and Dave denied Eriksen as Spurs began to threaten an equaliser and leave Old Trafford on tenterhooks. 

The Reds continued to look a threat on the counter-attack as Pogba twice went close to doubling our lead.
He rattled the crossbar with a superb free-kick from distance and then, after he linked up with Herrera, lashed another effort at goal that Lloris did well to tip wide. 

United, once again, had failed to kill the game off and that led to a tense and nervous finish as Spurs threatened a late leveller.
De Gea was called into action again - this time to keep out Eriksen - and Mkhitaryan was then stretchered off after he was caught late by Danny Rose. 

That proved to be the last incident of note as United closed out a precious and important victory and secure a second successive win. 

Overall team performance: 7/10
United Faithful man of the match:  Henrikh Mkhitaryan. A number of good performances by those in Red, but it was the Armenian who again made the vital difference. 

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