Some victories are just a bit more enjoyable and more special than are others. Tottenham Hotspur supporters are still flying high following the team's 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and not just because it helped erase 23 years of misery from the memory. After a slow start to the Andre Villas-Boas era that mirrored the beginning of Tottenham's 2011-12 campaign, Spurs have put together a run that has seen them go unbeaten in seven straight games across all competitions. They are also just one point outside of the top four spots in the Premier League table.
3 final thoughts on Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Turmoil
Less than 24 hours before the kickoff of Saturday's match, a story posted on The Sun website and then picked up by the Daily Mail suggested that those in the Spurs squad were somewhere between unhappy and "furious" with their manager for a variety of reasons, including AVB's tactics and the team's weekly training sessions. Tottenham showed their displeasure with Villas-Boas by dominating United throughout the first half, taking a 2-0 lead into the break, immediately responding to the Nani goal by finding a tally of their own, and then defending as well as we've seen from Spurs this season until the final whistle.
"Team effort" was a phrase used to describe Tottenham's performance at Old Trafford by multiple fans and analysts following Saturday's game, and several Spurs players embraced Villas-Boas on the pitch during post-match celebrations. That's quite the player mutiny. Stories such as those posted by The Sun and Daily Mail offered reminders that, for whatever reasons, there are those in the football world who are yearning to see Villas-Boas fail. I'd love to know what the "in the know team sources" have to say on the matter now.
3 final thoughts on Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Starter
There was a moment during the second half of the match when defender William Gallas looked at goalkeeper Brad Friedel and not-so-politely asked the veteran to come off his line after a set piece nearly resulted in United finding a goal. Friedel failing to properly defend against crosses and corners swung into his penalty area has been an issue several times this season. Outside of that, though, I've had little complaints about the ageless 'keeper who continues to earn starts and playing time.
I understand Hugo Lloris wanting to play. He didn't join Spurs to sit in a comfy chair during matches, after all. The perceived Tottenham goalkeeper of the future is just going to have to take what he can get right now. Friedel made three clutch stops during the final 20 minutes of the match, and he wasn't at fault for either of United's goals. I'm all for Lloris getting the nod when Spurs play at Panathinaikos in Europa League play on Thursday. Friedel is currently Tottenham's starter for Premier League games, and I see no reason to change that heading into October.
3 final thoughts on Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Watch out
Part of the "are Spurs in turmoil?" rumors that have circulated since the end of August is that Gareth Bale has looked out of sorts at times during August and September games, especially last weekend when Villas-Boas started the winger at left back. After what I saw on Saturday, I'd say Bale is doing just fine. Bale was unplayable during the first half starting at minute one, and he even scored a goal with his (gasp!) right foot. He was also the key man in the run that resulted in Clint Dempsey tapping home what was ultimately the game-winning goal.
Bale beginning to find his form is going to mean bad news for the likes of Aston Villa and Chelsea, two opponents making treks to White Hart Lane in the next few weeks. Jan Vertonghen has morphed into a new fan favorite in the past week, and deservedly so, and it's easy to take Bale for granted considering all we've seen him do over the past several years. Bale remains the key man for the Tottenham attack, however, and it's his play that is going to make the difference between Spurs being a Champions League team and one that's stuck in the middle of the table.
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