FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Struggling Tottenham managed to put their recent turmoil to one side to earn a 2-2 draw against Manchester United on Thursday.
The Red Devils were in cruise control heading into half-time but Ryan Mason’s team showed their mental fortitude to come back from two goals down and secure a vital point.
Spurs nearly carved Man Utd open with just four minutes on the clock. Pedro Porro managed to side-step past Diogo Dalot and slip through Son Heung-min, who had Harry Kane and Richarlison waiting in the box, but his low cross was poor and easily dealt with.
And the hosts were made to pay almost immediately as their visitors went down the other end and broke the deadlock. Marcus Rashford managed to rise a challenge from Oliver Skipp and shift the ball wide to Jadon Sancho, and he cut back onto his left to pick out the far corner of Fraser Forster’s net with a fierce strike.
Tottenham sought to make amends immediately, with Ivan Perisic’s piercing cross somehow evading a host of bodies in the Man Utd box, while Richarlison lashed a shot into David de Gea’s grasp before a late offside flag was raised.
Antony was given the freedom to run right through the middle of Spurs’ half and his 19th-minute endeavour created plenty of chaos, with the ball eventually reaching Sancho. The winger attempted the same finish as his opening goal but was this time thwarted first by a block from Cristian Romero and a header off the line from Perisic at the second attempt.
Another opening for Spurs went begging when Richarlison’s low cross into the path of Porro was cut out by Luke Shaw – a man with more than two club goals all season to his name may have shot. From the resulting corner, Perisic forced De Gea into a smart save with a near-post header.
A deep cross from Bruno Fernandes met Rashford, but Forster was able to spread his huge frame and deny the forward.
Rashford tested Forster again moments later with a stinging half-volley from the edge of the box after a superb first-time ball over the top from Christian Eriksen.
At the other end, De Gea again thwarted Perisic with an upward save, before the Red Devils added a second on the counter attack. Fernandes’ long ball was brought down well by the Man Utd striker, skating past Eric Dier and firing into the roof of the net.
After heading into the break two goals down, Tottenham looked to hit Man Utd early in the second half, with a header from Clement Lenglet bouncing off the top of the bar following a scramble in the penalty area.
And Spurs pulled one back just before the hour mark. A high cross from Perisic fell to Kane, whose effort was blocked by retreating Man Utd defenders, with the ball falling to Porro on the edge of the box to lash into the top corner.
The Red Devils should have restored their two-goal advantage immediately from kick off as Fernandes waltzed his way past Lenglet and rattled the bar from yards out, with Forster getting up quickly to parry Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rebound.
Tottenham somehow didn’t find themselves level when Kane led quick breakaway and found Son with a bouncing cross, though the South Korean completely mistimed his half-volley and Man Utd weren’t punished for their sloppy defending.
A low weak-footed shot from Dejan Kulusevski trickled past the post seconds later as Spurs ramped up the pressure again.
Dier, at fault for Man Utd’s second, came within inches of atoning his error when he found himself unmarked in the middle of the penalty area and reached a Perisic cross, but he somehow headed wide with the goal gaping.
And Spurs found a deserved equaliser as the game entered the final ten minutes. Romero’s header forward was picked up by Kane, and this time his cross was converted by Son.
In stoppage time, Casemiro headed over the top after a cross came in from Shaw, but that was the closest either side came to a winner and the spoils were shared.
Tottenham move back above Aston Villa into fifth place on goal difference, with Man Utd now six points clear of the chasing pack in fourth.
GK: Fraser Forster – 7/10 – Kept Tottenham in the contest with a string of fine saves.
CB: Cristian Romero – 6/10 – A haphazard first half in-keeping with recent performances was followed by an aggressive but focused second.
CB: Eric Dier – 4/10 – Gave Rashford the freedom of north London for Man Utd’s second before somehow missing the target with a header from very close range. Detrimental at both ends.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 5/10 – Completely roasted by Fernandes, though did bring the ball out from the back. So, every cloud…
RM: Pedro Porro – 7/10 – Obviously needs a coach to teach him how to defend but equally demonstrated that he has the qualities to be a premier attacking wing-back.
CM: Oliver Skipp – 5/10 – Broke up play but Spurs suffered because they had two ball-winners in midfield and no natural distributor.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 5/10 – Ditto, though made quite a few more mistakes despite being the more senior of the two.
LM: Ivan Perisic – 5/10 – Withering when trying to defend but at least useful in creating chances in the second half.
RF: Richarlison – 5/10 – Ran the hard yards and was a menace but is clearly lacking in confidence too.
LF: Son Heung-min – 8/10 – Rediscovered his mojo in terms of running at defences and then eventually with his finishing.
CF: Harry Kane – 8/10 – Came alive in the second half and had a say in pretty much every meaningful Tottenham attack.
Dejan Kulusevski (61′ for Richarlison) – 7/10 – Brought some much-needed ingenuity into the contest.
Arnaut Danjuma (77′ for Porro) – N/A
Ben Davies (77′ for Perisic) – N/A
Japhet Tanganga (87′ for Son) – N/A
Ryan Mason – 7/10 – Leaned on Antonio Conte’s defensive structure and his side flexed their attacking muscle after the break.
GK: David de Gea – 7/10 – His kicking was fine and so was his shot-stopping.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6/10 – Enjoyed his duels with Richarlison though was given more trouble by Son in the second half.
CB: Victor Lindelof – 5/10 – Carelessly walked a tightrope when on a booking.
CB: Luke Shaw – 5/10 – Gave Man Utd thrust when in the ascendancy, but also did not look comfortable in the middle.
LB: Diogo Dalot – 5/10 – Chased quite a few shadows in the second half.
CM: Casemiro – 6/10 – Had to do a lot of hand-holding for Shaw when he went forward and then Fred after he came on.
CM: Christian Eriksen – 6/10 – Wasn’t heavily involved but didn’t have to be. Opened the game up with some nice passes.
RM: Antony – 5/10 – Started brightly before fading into the fringes of the game.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – 8/10 – Completely controlled the game when Man Utd led but couldn’t help as much when they were fighting against the Spurs tide.
LM: Jadon Sancho – 7/10 – Had the freedom of the left flank in his hour on the pitch. A performance that is bound to boost his low confidence.
CF: Marcus Rashford – 7/10 – A gorgeous finish at the end of the first half. Didn’t quite have the same impact once Spurs pulled one back.
Fred (61′ for Eriksen) – 4/10 – Brought no stability to the midfield battle and behaved without composure.
Anthony Martial (61′ for Sancho) – 5/10 – Had a hard time getting a sight of goal.
Tyrell Malacia (71′ for Wan-Bissaka) – 5/10
Wout Weghorst (71′ for Antony) – 5/10
Erik ten Hag – 6/10 – Man Utd were superb in the first half but they failed to appropriately manage the game.