Last night, Manchester United took a trip to the capital to take on Tottenham Hotspur and came away with a decent point.
After a first half that saw United fall behind, the introduction of Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood in the second half spurred the team on and Bruno Fernandes pulled the boys level.
The first half started off quite slowly with United’s first real chance of the game coming 22 minutes into it. Bruno Fernandes clipped a cross into the area from the right and the ball somehow found its way to Rashford at the back stick – his snapshot was saved down low by Hugo Lloris.
In fact, it was the hosts who would take the lead when Steven Bergwijn scythed through the United defence before unleashing a powerful effort right at David De Gea. The United keeper should have done more with it but he couldn’t keep it out and Spurs shot into the ascendency.
The second half saw something of an upturn in performance from United – the catalyst for which was the introduction of Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood just past the hour mark. The pair nearly made an instant impact as both were involved in a move that saw Anthony Martial come close.
A few moments later, Martial came close again with United’s best chance of the game to that point. The Frenchman turned and lashed an effort goalwards from the edge of the six-yard box, only to see Lloris acrobatically tip it over the bar.
It wasn’t too long before United were eventually rewarded for their attacking endeavour, and it was the super-sub Paul Pogba who made the impact. He got the ball on the right, close to the goal-line.
With Eric Dier for company, Pogba knocked the ball past him and tried to run around the England international, only to be bundled to the ground. The referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the penalty and calmly fired it into the bottom left corner to bring the scores level with ten minutes left to play.
Just as the clock ticked over into the five minutes of injury time indicated by the fourth official, the Red Devils were awarded another penalty. This time, Bruno Fernandes had beaten Eric Dier to the ball in the area and gone tumbling over. Replays showed there was very little contact and the referee overturned the decision – correctly so in my opinion.
There would be one more chance for United as Mason Greenwood flashed an effort just wide of the mark in the fifth and final minute of added time, but it wasn’t to be and the spoils were shared.
The result is, in my opinion, no major disaster for United. A lot of people were saying this was a must-win game but, the draw keeps Spurs four points behind and means United remain fifth – and in good shape to go and nab a Champions League spot with a soemewhat favourable run-in to come.
Next up for United is the visit of Sheffield United to Old Trafford in mid-week. A win there and the boys could well be on the way back to the Champions League, especially with Chelsea facing Man City the day after…