Tottenham Player Assessment After Draw With Manchester United

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Spurs team v Man Utd [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]Tottenham showed a vast improvement in their performance as a team against United and a number of individuals stepped up to the mark in this game. They played with a greater tempo as the game swung from end to end and were more of a team rather than a collection of individual players sent out by Andre Villas-Boas. The manager was delighted with the players’ response.

Tottenham will feel disappointed to have only taken a point from a game which either side could have won but that would have been cruel on which ever side lost out. From a Spurs’ viewpoint, they will reflect on having scored two good goals to take the lead but then conceded in unfortunate circumstances. United scored twice having had only three shots on target. Both goals could have been prevented and Kyle Walker was involved in both.

Hugo Lloris: was rarely troubled and was unfortunate with the penalty. He missed the ball when diving at Danny Welbeck’s feet but had made no contact with the player until the striker’s back foot caught his hands as Lloris lay on the ground. AVB questioned the penalty, describing it as ‘a bad call’ and was concerned about Welbeck’s part in winning it , ‘leaving his leg out to collide with the keeper’, clearly looking for a decision.

Kyle Walker: Had a good game and was very involved for a full back taking free-kicks and corners as well as maurauding forward on the right wing. He scored a good opening goal from the free-kick, drilling the ball in low underneath the United players in the wall who had jumped. He was then at fault for the United equaliser as a deep cross came through to him unexpectedly and his touch laid it on a plate for Rooney to score. The second equaliser came after he had charged forward to challenge for a ball on the edge of the United box. Vidic got there just ahead of him to clear up the wing and in his absence Welbeck ended up winning the penalty. he nearly created the winner late in the second half with a delightful delivery of  across into the area but was just out of Townsend reach as he rushed into the area.

Michael Dawson: played better than for a number of weeks in a game where every ball was contested – that’s his sort of match. He was fortunate in the second half when Welbeck beat him on the bye-line and left him for dead but the striker’s cross went to no-one.

Vlad Chiriches: had another impressive afternoon, putting in recovery tackles in dangerous positions. He wasn’t phased by the forcefulness of Rooney’s all-action game.

Jan Vertonghen: had a tricky afternoon against Valencia who gave him trouble but he stuck to his task even though it isn’t his favourite position. I hope we will see him back in central defence sooner rather than later.

Sandro: was very impressive and with Mousa Dembele controlled central midfield. He was rewarded for all his efforts with the second goal – a great shot. I was looking for players to make a statement in their play against United and Sandro certainly did that.

Mousa Dembele: looks to be coming back to form after a few disappointing games. Was competitive and showed his strength when faced with Rooney and didn’t shirk the challenge. Hopefully he can reproduce this form regularly to recreate the partnership with Sandro which was so effective in central midfield for the opening months of last season.

Aaron Lennon was a constant threat to Evra who found his own way to deal with him. [Photo: Alan Hill]Aaron Lennon: it was good to see him playing on the right – he gave Evra considerable trouble through the game and created opportunities with his runs and crosses. We just need to see more of them with players getting into the box in support. It was disappointing that he was taken off so early, I would have liked to see him on the right with Townsend on the left even for a short period to stretch the United defence.

Paulinho: had his best game for some considerable time. He played further forward in support of Roberto Soldado and at times was ahead of him. He created a golden opportunity for Soldado to put Spurs two up just before the equaliser.

Nacer Chadli: his first Premier League start since September – he worked hard and provided cover and support for Vertonghen. I would like to see more from him going forward.

Roberto Soldado: his goal drought goes on – low in confidence and missed a great opportunity in the first half.

Substitutes:

Andros Townsend (for Lennon 65′): would have been good to see them both on the pitch for a period. He was lively and put crosses into the box. He came closest to getting a winner when stretching to reach a cross from Walker but it was just too far ahead of him.

Jermain Defoe (for Soldado 72′): took a free-kick but hit it into the wall but just as Soldado has found in recent weeks, had no clear openings created for him.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (for Chadli 85′): had little opportunity to impress in the final minutes.

All round everyone contributed to a very entertaining game with a great deal of good football in a highly competitive match. Spurs performance lasted the full ninety minutes and if they can reproduce that over the next few weeks, it will lift some of the concerns that have been evident recently at Tottenham.