Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur - LIVE Coverage:

Evening clash: United host Tottenham at Old Trafford, the winner starts 2014 in 6th place.

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Coverage of the evening kick-off on New Year's Day between 6th placed Manchester United and 7th placed Tottenham. 

On the first day of 2014, there has been lots of football to enjoy for English football fans, as most of the European leagues (Bundesliga, Liga BBVA and Ligue 1 for example) are currently enjoying their half-season winter break and do not come back to league action until the end of January and early February.

Here are the results from earlier in the EPL: 

Arsenal 2 Cardiff City 0
Swansea City 2 Manchester City 3
Crystal Palace 1 Norwich City 1
Fulham 2 West Ham United 1 
Liverpool 2 Hull City 0 
Southampton 0 Chelsea 3
Stoke City 1 Everton 1 
Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1 
West Brom 1 Newcastle United 0 

And the game currently being played:

Manchester United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

A surprising 1-0 lead for Spurs, leading away from home at Old Trafford thanks to a headed goal from striker Emmanuel Adebayor who has been a revelation since his comeback to first-team football for Tottenham. 

Heading highest: Adebayor broke the deadlock in the 34th minute with a header past De Gea. 

Back to his best: Adebayor has looked impressive since he returned to the Spurs first-team

The hosts were playing the better football in the first 15-20 minutes of the game, but did not take their chances while Spurs had a sudden surge of good football with Eriksen and Dembele linking up well in the heart of midfield as a unit. 

There is still time for more goals, but it is unlikely that United will not score from this position based on the fact that they are desperate to win games - the second half will be a hotly-contested affair because Tottenham would hate to slip from a winning position. 

Who has impressed? Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen. 

Second-half LIVE:

18:35 - The players have ran out onto the pitch, and the second half has begun at Old Trafford. Spurs lead 1-0, but can Rooney & Co have something to say about it? We will see in the next 45 minutes. 

55: Cameras are showing that Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa is warming up on the touchline, stripping off getting ready to come onto the pitch.

57: PENALTY DENIED! Referee Howard Webb waves play on as Welbeck goes to ground under the suspected challenge from Chiriches just inside the box - was it a dive or a penalty? 

58: Good decision by Webb, cameras show that Welbeck was expecting contact and went down too easily for a penalty. 

61: Manchester United SUB:
Chris Smalling OFF
Michael Carrick OFF
Shinji Kagawa ON
Javier Hernandez ON

65: Tottenham SUB: 
Etienne Capoue OFF
Nabil Bentaleb ON

67: GOAL! Tottenham have made it 2-0! Poor marking in the United penalty area by Evra and Valencia, who does not see Eriksen lurking behind him to head past De Gea into the far corner of the net....

2 easy: Eriksen took advantage of poor United marking to head Spurs into a 2 goal lead
68: ANOTHER GOAL! United have quickly pulled one back to make it 2-1 thanks to a cheeky chip over the head of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris by England striker Danny Welbeck! 2 goals in less than 2 minutes, and the game has suddenly exploded into life. 

Open game: Welbeck responded instantly with a cheeky chip over Lloris to make it 2-1.

69: Some bad news for Tottenham.... Adebayor has gone to ground limping, looking uncomfortable as if he has pulled his hamstring or twisted his ankle in a fall... the Tottenham physio are rushing towards him and he looks as though he will not be able to continue the rest of the game. 

70: The stretcher has Adebayor strapped in, with a chorus of United boos from the home end as they just want to get the game playing so they can keep momentum and score an equaliser before time...

72: Tottenham SUB:
Emmanuel Adebayor OFF
Nacer Chadli ON

Belgian forward Chadli replaces Adebayor in the heart of the strikeforce... fresh legs but will it be enough for Spurs?

75: Tottenham SUB: 
Roberto Soldado OFF
Harry Kane ON

Perhaps a wise move by manager Tim Sherwood, bringing off Soldado who has not played amazingly today for 20-year-old young starlet Harry Kane who will find it hard to get service, but is a good idea of someone to replace Soldado.  

80: 10 minutes left for United to find an equaliser, Tottenham desperate hanging on for the three points and they certainly have defender Vlad Chiriches to thank, he has been a rock solid beast in the heart of defence with pace, vision, intelligence and strength to hold off the United players near goal. 

82: Close! Lennon speeds past the United defence on the flank, before jinking one way and moving his body the other before his strike falls into De Gea's hands as he comfortable blocks the shot from hitting the back of the net with his body behind it. 

85: Just 5 minutes left of normal time until stoppages, can United break the Spurs defence and score? 

88: PENALTY DENIED! Howard Webb makes another big call - Young runs on the counter attack and is adjudged to have been taken out just inside the box by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who runs out towards the ball and misses it completely. 

89: Cameras show that it was the correct decision, as Young was expecting contact and fell over Lloris before there was any contact. 

Young Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj is consequently booked after an exaggerated dive from full-back Danny Rose's challenge. 

90: The fourth official has indicated for 5 minutes of stoppage time on the electronic board - United fans are desperate for the players to score, while the Tottenham fans are biting their fingernails hoping that Spurs can hang onto what will be a remarkable victory away from home. 

90+1: Chances, chances, chances! United fail to convert with three dangerous-looking corners, the last of which culminating with defender Nemanja Vidic heading the ball over the bar. 

90+3: Tottenham taking their time with the ball, calmly trying to pass around with United pressing them.

90+5: Howard Webb blows his whistle for full-time! An important win for Tottenham sees them leapfrog United into 6th place, beating United for the second consecutive time.

Lots of facts and figures to look back on from the game, here is the most intriguing from a football perspective:

FACT: Until today, Manchester United did not lose a home game on the 1st of January since 1992.

(MORE TO FOLLOW - as the night continues)