The Sharp Intake Of Breath – Manchester 15th March 2015

After the match against Arsenal on Monday, confidence amongst reds was on the floor. When talking amongst ourselves before today’s game, such was the sharp intake of breath about what could happen that when we breathed out thinking of Harry Kane, it caused a near hurricane down Talbot Road. Tottenham Hotspur are a good side, easily on paper, the best team United have played at Old Trafford in the league since the chimes of Auld Lang Syne faded out. Prior to today, they had won on their last two visits to Old Trafford, having previously gone twenty three years without winning here. We were left in no doubt that today was going to be a hard game against a side that like United, are in contention for a top four place.

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United attack in the 2nd half (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

Well what a load of bollocks all that pre match worry turned out to be. Tottenham, an unpredictable side, turned up today as Mr Hyde. They were rubbish. They were so bad that at half time it was rumoured they were considering putting in a bid for Fred the Red to replace Andros Townsend in the midfield. Their best attempt on goal in the first half was a Phil Jones back pass in the second minute which David de Gea had to scramble away from going into the Stretford End net. It was the last thing I remember de Gea doing. I believe that such was United’s performance today, he’ll only be picking up half of his wages this week.

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Tottenham’s offsideline not working very well in the first half

After nine minutes, former Tottenham midfielder Michael Carrick, fed hopefully soon to be former United midfielder Marounae Fellaini through on goal. Such is the gait of the Belgian that he seemed to run on through on the Tottenham goal in slow motion. I was waiting for a show stopping last gasp tackle from Eric Dier to be laid on him as he shot past Hugo Lloris in the Scoreboard End net. Fair play to Fellaini, he did what he had to do and he did it well.

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Juan Mata taking a free kick in front of the F Stand (photo courtesy of Anthony McCormack) 

Ten minutes later, a Juan Mata corner led Fellaini to returning the favour to Carrick. Fellaini made a nuisance of himself to cause the usual chaos that his presence necessitates. Nacer Chadli couldn’t deal with his compatriots header and shinned the ball to Carrick, who scored the first header I can remember him putting away in a United shirt (if anybody can correct me on that, please leave a comment saying so).

In the 35th minute, an unbelievably sloppy ball from Nabil Bentaleb gave Wayne Rooney possession forty yards out. Rooney still had a lot to do as he ran on through on the Tottenham goal. Rooney showed the three clueless visiting defenders his class to run through them like they were static chicanes to put United 3-0 up. His celebration was of the goal was exquisitely topical. He had just shown that he could deliver a knockout blow every bit the equal as Phil Bardsley could lay on him.

Wayne Rooney, Phil Bardsley and somebody with a smart phone in his house who clearly can’t be trusted. It has to be said though, Bardsley has caught Rooney a beauty there


Like the game against a feisty pub side like Leicester City on the 31st of January, United went in at half time 3-0 in front and took their foot off the pedal for the second half. No problem either way. Any red would’ve gratefully took this result before the match. It wasn’t a classic or vintage United performance but, by this seasons standards, it was both excellent and encouraging for what the future may hold. As bad as Tottenham were, these are no mugs and on the right day, such as their brilliant performance on new years day against Chelsea for example, they are a match for anybody.

The most memorable and perhaps pointed moment of the second half came in the 77th minute when Juan Mata was replaced by debutant Andreas Pereira. The ovation Mata got off the Old Trafford crowd as he left the pitch will  have left Louis van Gaal, the famously single minded dutch manager, in no doubt as to his popularity amongst reds. The game from there on in fizzled out. It was however a very happy crowd walking down Warwick Road post match. It was a crowd who could for a rare occasion this season, look forward to watching Match of the Day later on that night.

For Christ’s sake

Tottenham may have had a lousy day on the pitch today but as for off it, yet again they have provided the most impressive support I have seen and heard at Old Trafford this season. They made themselves heard walking down Warwick Road before the match, not many visiting fans do that and they certainly made a racket inside the ground (until they went 3-0 down anyway). They haven’t won the title since 1961 and looking at them today, that won’t be changing anytime soon. For all that though, Tottenham have a history, substance and panache, both on and off the pitch, that money can’t buy. Whenever I think of Tottenham, I just think respect. A respect for their traditions and demands for playing football the way I like to see it played and for their fans, pretty clued up and loyal bunch. No other club in London can for my money touch them.

13 thoughts on “The Sharp Intake Of Breath – Manchester 15th March 2015”

  1. Were United brilliant, or were Spurs atrocious? Difficult to say as I only listened to it on the radio, but it was clear that Fellaini was once again a thorn in the side- he seems to be the one player who is actually improving under Van Gaal. Must say it’s not the only thing that’s improved- like the new look to the site, it’s a lot easier to read and that helps as we all get a little older.

  2. Great piece again Tony still can’t work out if we were that good or Spurs were that bad ? Agree we everthing about THFC always enjoy watching them but bit like MUFC at the moment you never quite know what your going to get !!!

    Scouser’s next week so please God they have saved something for that one !!!!!!

  3. Murph
    What a pleasure to be able to enjoy a game, and the big question must be, what does LVG do now re Di Maria and co. This formation worked, I’d still rather see Mata behind Rooney and Valencia played forward but I certainly wont knock a 3-0 result. Thought Smalling and Jones actually settled into the game and became more confident as the match progressed and they handled Kane very well. Fellaini, bless him, is still not and to my mind never will be a Utd player but he played his part here. Wonder if Shaw watched Danny Blind’s performance, hope he learned much about not getting caught out of position.

  4. We did win yesterday, didn’t we ? Don’t know what it takes to please you Murph. But keep this up, and I’ll have to send you 2 gross of dummies to spit out. Why question a performance that effectively put a CL contender out of the race? This was without question one of our best shows for some time. A bad Spurs? We didn’t let them be anything other. United were at them from minute 1. Jones’s drive apart, that tested de Gea, was the only time in the first half that they got anywhere near. Out the woods? No, but surely there is light in this arboreal maze glinting just ahead. Straighten your faces you lot, and show some faith. Well written Murph, just don’t agree with your view

    1. The only question I can remember posing about the performance was this:

      “United went in at half time 3-0 in front and took their foot off the pedal for the second half. No problem either way. Any red would’ve gratefully took this result before the match. It wasn’t a classic or vintage United performance but, by this seasons standards, it was both excellent and encouraging for what the future may hold”.

      I’m not quite sure what view it is you don’t agree with. The first sentence is fact, the second and third sentence express satisfaction with how it all turned out and the fourth sentence was honest comment, maybe you thought it was a vintage performance and that is your right. Not sure it constitutes the necessity for “two gross of dummies to spit out”, but I suppose you’ve as much right to disagree as I have, even if it isn’t clear to me exactly what it is you’re disagreeing with. Or is there something else that you don’t agree with?

      1. There is something else I disagree with. It’s you putting words into my mouth. Nowhere did I say vintage performance. I said ‘for some time’. You write well. So don’t let your standards slip. I choose to forgive your little faux pas. Next time I’ll get monty the mythical monster on your case. Kind regards gurney????

  5. This was me and my new missus’s first UTD match together at OT – and what a game to watch together! Every time we go to the pub to watch it, they play poor…..

    Highlights for me: Phil Jones tackling was great, despite that pass back which made all our stomachs sink for a second, Blind & Young had good games, was good to see Smalling running and moving forward, the goals and overall team performance was great I thought.

    Yeah Spurs didn’t really turn up, but for the first time in ages it seemed like a whole team effort and a win that didn’t just come from/depend on one or two men.

    We were sat right at the top of the SAF stand – needed an oxygen mask up there…was good to see yourself, Neil Meehan and Garton over the weekend.

    Good read Murph nice one.


  6. By the way, me the other half found this comment particularly amusing…

    “They were so bad that at half time it was rumoured they were considering putting in a bid for Fred the Red to replace Andros Townsend in the midfield”

  7. Face it Murph, your not glass half full merchant. Your not even a glass half empty. You sound like you’ve no glass at all in a pub full of piss eds. This was at least a measured victory, considering the next fixture. Sort it

  8. Sorry, late comment…

    Murph, Tottenham support was fucking terrible. A few half hearted murmurs and the usual clowning about, aside from that silence.

    I know where you sit but I wasn’t far away, and there can’t have been that much difference?

    Please revert to attacking them a la Norwich and that feisty pub team from Leicester.

    That aside, top read.

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