Premier League - Spurs edge United in pulsating encounter

Premier League, Old Trafford - Manchester United 1 (Welbeck 67’) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Adebayor 34’ Eriksen 66’)

Tottenham edged Manchester United 2-1 in a breathless encounter at Old Trafford as the hosts’ hopes of retaining their Premier League title suffered a potentially fatal blow.

Emmanuel Adebayor planted a header beyond David De Gea to give Spurs the lead before Roberto Soldado missed a glaring opportunity to add a second when he blazed wide from close range.

But it took until just after the hour mark for the game to explode into life. First, the visitors doubled their advantage when Christian Eriksen stooped to head home Aaron Lennon’s deflected effort before United hit back instantly when Danny Welbeck clipped home from inside the area.

United poured forward in search of an equaliser but a string of fine saves from Hugo Lloris and heroic blocks saw Tottenham survive a frantic final 10 minutes and hold on for back to back victories at Old Trafford as their revival under Tim Sherwood continued.

United slip below Spurs in the table with the reigning champions now 11 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

KEY MOMENTS

1’ – CONTROVERSY: A long ball through the middle forces Lloris to sprint off his line and punch clear after just 30 seconds. But was he outside the box? Replays suggest he was.

14’ – CHANCE: Soldado drops deep and threads a delightful ball through to Lennon. He's one-on-one with De Gea but he can't beat the United stopper from a tight angle.

34’ – GOAL: United 0-1 Spurs: Eriksen floats a teasing cross into the penalty area where Adebayor lurks. The striker from Togo backpedals before planting a header into the bottom corner. Quality goal.

40’ – CHANCE: Lennon fizzes in a cross from the right. Soldado is arriving unmarked at the back post... Shinned horribly wide. What a chance!

59’ – DIVE: Welbeck bundles through a couple of challenges and goes to ground in the penalty area... No penalty. Just seen a replay and it appears Young’s antics have filtered through into the rest of the United squad. Should have been a yellow card.

66’ – GOAL: United 0-2 Spurs: Lennon charges down the right and has a pop. It deflects into the Manchester sky where Eriksen arrives ahead of Valencia to head home. Unbelievable scenes.

67’ – GOAL: United 1-2 Spurs: The Tottenham defence switches off and Welbeck ghosts in behind. He's one-on-one with Lloris... It's clipped over the stopper... And in! United half the deficit instantly. What is it with Spurs conceding straight after scoring at Old Trafford?

86’ – CONTROVERSY: Lloris races off his line and clatters into Young! United can surely pass into the empty goal? No! The chance goes. United want a penalty! Three players race to surround Webb who is unmoved.

88’ – DIVE: Another dive from a United player. Januzaj the guilty man this time around.

90’ – CRAZY FINISH: Rooney has a pop from distance which is turned around the post by Lloris. The corner's whipped into the danger zone and the French keeper is forced into another class save low to his right. But the chances keep coming – Lennon is forced to hack the ball off the line. Another corner is flung into the mixer. It's met by Vidic... Over! Spurs are so close.

KEY STATS

Man Utd lose their fourth home match of the season – no team has ever won the Premier League after losing four home matches. (Infostrada)

The reigning top-flight champions have lost at home on New Year’s Day in a top-flight fixture for the first time since 1948 – when Charlton won 3-2 at Liverpool. (Infostrada)

Tottenham win successive top-flight matches away at Man Utd for the first time since 1972-74 – when they won 4-1 at Old Trafford in Oct 1972 & 1-0 in March 1974. (Infostrada)

Tottenham record their first New Year’s Day away win since their 2-1 Division One victory at Coventry in 1992. (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Can we finally declare United’s title bid over? It always looked unlikely, but after today there can surely be no doubt that a different name will be engraved on the Premier League trophy in May. United must dust themselves down quickly because unless they address their problems, there’s a very real possibility that Champions League football will not be forthcoming next season.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Aaron Lennon (Tottenham): Outstanding performance from the winger – both in attack and defence. Won his personal duel with Patrice Evra.

PLAYER RATINGS

Manchester United: De Gea 6, Smalling 6, Evans 6, Vidic 6, Evra 5, Valencia 6, Carrick 6, Cleverley 4, Januzaj 6, Rooney 5, Welbeck 6… Subs: Kagawa 6, Hernandez 6, Young 6.

Tottenham: Lloris 6, Walker 6, Chiriches 8, Dawson 7, Rose 6, Lennon 8, Capoue 6, Dembele 7, Eriksen 7, Adebayor 7, Soldado 6… Subs: Bentaleb 6, Chadli 6, Kane 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET