EPL review: Tottenham Hotspur 0 Manchester United 0

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Spurs opted for Peter Crouch ahead of Jermain Defoe as support for Rafael van der Vaart up front while Wayne Rooney recovered from was ankle injury to partner Dimitar Berbatov in attack for Manchester United.

Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney got the game under way and within seconds United gave the ball away and Gareth Bale sprinted down the left, the Welshman’s cross-shot collected by Edwin van der Sar.

United delivered a early warning to Spurs as Dimitar Berbatov peeled off the defence to play a pass in for Wayne Rooney and he goes round William Gallas before unleashing a right-footed shot wide of the far post from a tight angle
on the right of the area.

Spurs posed a significant aerial threat and tested United central defenders but were also extremely dangerous running at the United defence with pace – and Wilson Palacios was fouled 22 yards out by Michael Carrick. Rafael van
der Vaart curled the free-kick into the arms of Edwin van der Sar. It was real end-to-end stuff, United had a chance to get forward firstly Alan Hutton prevented Dimitar Berbatov from getting in a header at the back stick from Nani’s cross before Wayne Rooney’s
20-yard strike was well saved by Heurelho Gomes.

Spurs opened up United’s seemingly rock solid defence like a pack of beans Luka Modric found Alan Hutton down the right and was fine cross saw Peter Crouch to get in front of Rio Ferdinand, diverting the ball inches wide of Edwin
van der Sar’s left-hand post.

Man United defender Rio Ferdinand was struggling – Chris Smalling was warming up on the touchline. Luka Modric fooled Darren Fletcher from a corner and sneaked into the United box, but Ferdinand was good enough to get in a fabulous

Spurs enjoyed a good spell of possession, getting crosses into the United box from the left and the right – and barely Gareth Bale got into the game as of yet.

Gareth Bale picked up the ball on the Spurs left and Rafael was quick as a flash, winning the ball and almost knocking Bale off was feet. There were so many interesting battles all over the pitch; it was like a footballing banquet
at White Hart Lane. Brilliant stuff from Gareth Bale again, who had a little run on Rafael and showed great pace to get around the outside of the Brazilian, who was no slouch, but the Welshman’s excellent cross flew beyond Peter Crouch.

United were trying to take the sting out of Spurs’ fine start, by knocking the ball around the pitch and had some possession of their own. Wayne Rooney got down under a challenge from Rafael van der Vaart and the Dutchman was annoyed,
he kicked the ball away and picked up a needless booking.

United’s two strikers finally got in to the game after Dimitar Berbatov picked out a pass back to Wayne Rooney, the England man’s right-foot shot from 20 yards was well saved low down with his right hand by Heurelho Gomes.

Tottenham played a corner short again on the right and Rafael van der Vaart had a left-foot shot blocked by Dimitar Berbatov, before Spurs skipper Michael Dawson slammed a right-foot shot wide from the edge of the box.

Rafael went sliding in on Wilson Palacios and it was a bit reckless from the Brazilian, who just pushed the ball a little too far ahead of him. Rafael was booked and Gareth Bale just want the ball now, with was marker one bad foul
away from an early bath.

After the opening 10 minutes that hinted a classic ahead it has all gone off the boil a bit at White Hart Lane. Spurs, understandably, are probing down the flanks but Manchester United holding firm. Wayne Rooney was unable to stamp
his authority on proceedings up till now.

It was Rafael’s turn to be fouled and it was a lunging tackle on him from Wilson Palacios – Rafael went up to the referee and waved an imaginary yellow card, and Palacios was promptly booked.

It was pure class from Gareth Bale, who produced a really good burst to beat Rafael on the inside and then again on the outside before flinging in a quality cross, but Rafael van der Vaart could only head wide at the near post,
about a yard off target.

As the half drew to a close, Darren Fletcher allowed the ball run too far away from him and Gareth Bale was in as quick as a flash, he nipped the ball away from Fletcher and forced the foul for which the Scot was booked. The subsequent
effort was easily punched away by Edwin van der Sar.

Half Time: Tottenham Hotspur 0 Manchester United 0

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