Tottenham 2-2 Man Utd: Rooney's brace rescues Red Devils
Tottenham and Manchester United played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane, but it meant that both teams dropped two more points in the race for the top four and title respectively. Wayne Rooney helped United get back twice by scoring a goal either side of the break.
Fresh from a 6-0 thumping against Manchester City, Tottenham elected to go with the defensive attitude for the opening period in the first half. Despite being the home team, they were happy to allow Manchester United possession on the ball. Spurs have been struggling to score goals this season and the home supporters witnessed no better early on.
Paulinho was playing just behind Roberto Soldado, whose best contribution of the match came in the 29th minute. He released the Brazilian with an impeccable flick, but he was unable to find the back of the net when the Brazilian's return ball found him inside the penalty area.
Tottenham have struggled to score from open play this campaign and it was no surprise that their goal in the 18th minute from Kyle Walker came through a set piece. David de Gea would have reasons to be extremely angry at his wall, as the jump perfectly coincided with Walker's shot to allow the ball go under them. The goal gave the place an instant lift and the subdued atmosphere within White Hart Lane vanished almost instantly.
The goal also offered to give Tottenham a lot of confidence, as they started creating chances at a pace that was reminiscent of last season's Tottenham.
The euphoria, though, did not last long, as the inform Wayne Rooney brought United back on level terms by taking advantage of Walker's poor clearance in the 32nd minute. Phil Jones crossed the ball into the area, but instead of clearing, Walker's touch put the ball back into the 6-yard area for Rooney to poke in the equaliser.
The second half was much more reflective of the football philosophy that the two teams have displayed over the years. It was end-to-end stuff with Sandro putting Tottenham ahead once again with one of the best goals this season. His stunning long-range effort in the 54th minute came out of the blue, but it did not dampen the spirits of United.
The away team were level once again after just three minutes. Tottenham broke in numbers, but their attack did not produce any end result. It was United's turn to come back at them, and this time there was an end product.
Danny Welbeck was brought down in the box by Hugo Lloris, who was guilty of committing to mistakes in the last match against City. Rooney converted the resulting penalty with aplomb to full United back into the match.
Both teams were attacking a frantic pace in the second half with a view towards finding the winner, which was of great importance to both teams for different reasons. A slight lack in quality in the final third proved decisive, as neither team were unable to break the deadlock.
The result leaves United nine points behind Arsenal with almost a month to go before Christmas. Villas-Boas, meanwhile, can take a lot of positivity from Tottenham's performance especially after a tough week.
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Sandro, Paulinho, Lennon (Townsend 65), Dembele, Chadli (Sigurdsson 85), Soldado (Defoe 72)
Goals: Walker 18, Sandro 54
Manchester United (4-4-1-1): De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Jones, Valencia (Nani 84), Kagawa (Young 84), Welbeck (Hernandez 73), Rooney
Goal: Rooney 32, 57 (pen)