Forget the Mayans, forget the snow surely Spurs going a league season unbeaten against Manchester United is more a sign of the apocalypse than anything.
I mean Spurs don’t win at Old Trafford and they certainly don’t grab well earned equalisers in added on Fergie time against United. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Spurs stuffed away and hanging on in desperation at home until the very last second of a vastly inflated added time period when a goal is finally conceded.
Last season, under the media darling, they dominated United in this fixture only to end up on the wrong end of a scoreline stuffing.
Thing is while dominating the game Spurs were all that great. Devoid of that piece of guile to get past the visiting back nine – four centerbacks to go with the four fullbacks – lacking real width with Bale coming inside, nothing from Naughton and Lennon also not staying out as much as he could. Defoe was well the Defoe of late.
And of course there was the gaping hole left by Sandro after his season ending injury last week. A hole that can’t be adequately filled by Scott Parker, no matter how much the media or the blind tell you he’s the perfect replacement. It’s no coincidence that during the first half he touched the ball more than any other player in white and during that half Spurs hardly went anywhere.
It’s funny hearing/reading some criticism of Parker during the game. Funny because the very same people were probably praising him all of last season for what was pretty much exactly the same performance. Parker’s ponderous pirouettes, when an injection of speed was required, slagged off. Don’t remember such comments previously. Did Tweet that I wondered how the UK media would spin this poor performance into a man of the match winning one. Couldn’t be done. But look, I open the paper and there he is with 8/10 joint top amongst Spurs players.
No mention of his two embarrassing falls to the floor, that first one was really pathetic and would have seen Bale or Suarez crucified or – while Walker was being blamed for United’s goal when he was left to mark three players on his tod – Parker just minced over to Cleverley, doing absolutely nothing to stop the player getting his cross over for van Persie to score.
Bale was pretty absent yet again. His coming inside really doesn’t work with Naughton at left-back, especially when the opposition double up as they did here. They know Naughton isn’t going to move forward that much, know he’s completely one footed, and so can ignore the defender and concentrate on Bale. The winger was unlucky with a shot being saved after a deflection.
Lennon came inside more than he should be he just offered more than his more vaunted opposite number. His scampering looked like Spurs best option – bar one Dembele slalom into the ManUre box where he laid it on a plate for Dempsey to provide a weak finish that was saved.
Again no coincidence Lennon was involved in the goal. The move also showed the merit of a left footed left-back who can get forward as BAE swung the cross in unhindered as the defence focused on Bale, De Gea flapped it onto Lennon who squared it for Dempsey to grab the justified point. Dempsey responsible for all four points with a winner and equalising goal, still some slagging him off I imagine.
Fergie had his usual post-didn’t-win-rant. Yes it was probably a penalty – Caulker on Ronney – but you can see why the officials didn’t give it, especially the ref from his angle, Caulker’s leg moved in for the challenge just as as Rooney moved the ball to the right, at real speed from a number of angles it looked like Caulker got the ball cleanly. He didn’t but who the hell is going to lose sleep over ManUre being on the wrong side of such an incident. They say these things even themselves well we’ve got a long way to go before that ledger is balanced with regards to ManUre.
Everything wasn’t perfect for Spurs, far from it really – still need a world class lead the line striker, if we had a clinical, regular finisher like van Persie then Spurs would be cruising this league plus a crafty midfielder – but went behind and fought back for the point, showed far more resilience than in past seasons in such a situation, put in 25 shots, five times as many as the league leaders who came to White Hart Lane and parked the bus for most of the game – when did that last happen?