Spurs keeper in top form as Manchester United are wasteful

Van Gaal’s strikers have off-day as they fail to take fistful of first-half chances

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris saves from Manchester United’s Ashley Young at White Hart Lane in London. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris saves from Manchester United’s Ashley Young at White Hart Lane in London. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

 

Nobody saw this stalemate coming. These two teams have been erratic in defence, and capable of better things going forward, yet the 0-0 was not rooted in either of them bolting the door at the back.

United were left to lament their profligacy in front of goal, together with the continued excellence of Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who deserved the man-of-the-match champagne.

Louis van Gaal’s team bossed the first half but could not take the fistful of chances they created, with Radamel Falcao prominent on the list of the culpable. Robin van Persie also had an off-day, although the United strikers could not take all of the blame.

Unbeaten run

Van Gaal had named an unchanged lineup and it was certainly a novelty for the club. It was the first time a United manager had stuck with the same team since November 2012.

Second Captains

The pre-match talk from Old Trafford had taken in the need to maintain recent momentum and they forced the issue at the outset. With Juan Mata to the fore in midfield alongside Wayne Rooney, and Ashley Young making inroads from left wing-back, they created the chances to have led at the break.

Offside flag

Vlad Chiriches

United worked Lloris in the first half. Indeed, they dominated the period as Tottenham struggled to knit together too much of promise in the final third.

Rooney’s touch had let him down early on following Mata’s ball over the top, and Falcao twice saw the whites of Lloris’s eyes only to fail to muster sufficient power in his shots.

Jones’s header was a talking point. Lloris had flung himself to the left to get fingertips on to the effort but the goal-line technology showed that the ball had crossed the line. Lloris and Tottenham were grateful to the assistant referee, who spotted that Falcao was in an offside position before Jones headed goalwards.

Lloris also thwarted Van Persie at close quarters after the striker had taken down Michael Carrick’s high ball and then taken a less advisable second touch, while the goalkeeper beat away Young’s long-range curler which was bound for the top corner.

There was plenty of niggle, not least involving Van Persie, who had something of a running battle with Jan Vertonghen. Falcao also tumbled theatrically after Vertonghen had caught him with a stray hand.

Tottenham might have had a penalty when Paddy McNair clipped Harry Kane shortly after the interval, and Pochettino complained that Young had pulled back Andros Townsend when the United player was already on a booking.

Tidy football

Townsend, Federico Fazio and Christian Eriksen each worked David de Gea, and there was the moment when Kane’s pass released Ryan Mason only for him to lift high when well placed.

United had their second-half moments, and Van Persie will rue the tangle he got himself into when he ran on to Mata’s pull-back. The volley sailed high. Mata also blazed over the crossbar following the substitute Rafael da Silva’s smart low cross. It was an afternoon when the ball would not go in. Guardian service

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