Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Manchester United: Rooney double spoils two Spurs leads

Leave a comment

Tottenham shook their goal-scoring struggles to twice take the lead, but they could not shake the visitors as a double by Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a share of the spoils at White Hart Lane by a 2-2 scoreline.

Both sides began early working their right offensive flanks. Shinji Kagawa for United and Lennon for Spurs saw the most work in their respective midfields in the first 10 minutes.

The game’s first shot didn’t come until the 11th minute, when Lennon popped off a low effort comfortably saved by De Gea.

The opener for Spurs didn’t come from open play, but they’ll certainly take it.  After a late challenge by Jonny Evans on Paulinho on the edge of the penalty area, Kyle Walker bagged the goal in the 18th minute as he cannoned a low free-kick below the United wall and past De Gea.

Just before, Everton goalkeeper and guest NBC commentator Tim Howard had urged De Gea to trust his wall and cover the far end of the goal, but his wall got it wrong as they all jumped above the low blast by Walker and it tucked in for a home lead.

It’s the first Premier League goal of the season for the defender, and his first for Spurs since April 2012 against Blackburn. It also ended a goal drought for Spurs of 298 minutes.

Spurs began to press harder after scoring, pinning the United attack further back and developing more chances. They had one on the break for Roberto Soldado in the 30th minute, but the struggling Spurs striker wasted the chance by firing well over.

In was a shocking turn of events, a counter-attack stunned Spurs and drew United level. Phil Jones worked down the right and put in a beautiful cross from the right side just over Rooney’s head. The ball took a bit of a fortunate bounce off Walker’s foot and fell right to Rooney, who took and finished.

source: Getty Images
Wayne Rooney finished off both goals for United, his 7th and 8th scores of the Premier League season.

Nothing changed at the halftime break for United, as they continued to press the right flank with Valencia and asking questions of out-of-position defender Jan Vertonghen.

The two sides played a bit of cat-and-mouse in the start of the second half, but Spurs got a piece of brilliant work from Sandro to give them the lead.  The Brazilian, being a bit outshone in the match by his midfield partner and countryman Paulinho, would not be outdone with a wonder goal in the 55th minute.

Sandro cut through some space in the Manchester United midfield, and with the defense tracking back, he worked towards the box, surprisingly cut back, and teed himself up for a brilliant drive into the top corner for a 2-1 lead.

But it would not be for Spurs once again, as referee Mike Dean straight away down the other end gave a penalty as sweeper-keeper Hugo Lloris took down Danny Welbeck on the left edge of the box.  It was a soft foul, but Lloris missed the ball and definitely caught Welbeck’s back foot with his hands.

Rooney drilled the penalty straight down the middle past a disheartened Lloris for his second equalizer of the match.

Surprisingly, Andre Villas-Boas decided to remove the incisive Aaron Lennon around 65 minutes for Andros Townsend, while leaving the relatively invisible Nacer Chadli in on the other wing.

Spurs came inches from another lead as Kyle Walker continued to work the right wing, launching in a slicing cross in the 78th minute just barely out of reach of Andros Townsend, who was all alone in front of the United goal.

Both sides were asking questions of the opposition defense as the clock ticked into extra time, but there was no winner on the cards.

It’s a quality result for both sides, all things considered.  United stay unbeated in seven games, and Tottenham kick some of their goalscoring woes to get back on track in front of goal.

United and Spurs remain in eighth and ninth respectively in the Premier League table with their points.

GOALS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Walker 18′; Sandro 54′
Manchester United – Rooney 32′, 57′ (pen)

LINEUPS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Dawson; Paulinho, Sandro; Lennon (Townsend, 65′), Dembele, Chadli (Sigurdsson, 85′); Soldado (Defoe, 72′).

Manchester United – De Gea; Evra, Vidic, Smalling, Evans; Jones, Cleverley; Welbeck (Hernandez, 73′), Kagawa (Young, 84′), Valencia (Nani, 84′); Rooney.

Report: Wenger ready to pay Ozil, Sanchez club record deals

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Leave a comment

Arsenal knows its departure from the UEFA Champions League has to be a short one, and that keeping its two best attackers around is imperative.

That’s why Arsene Wenger is preparing to make Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez the top paid players in Arsenal history, according to a report from The Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson.

The contract status of both players has been a touchy one this season, and Sanchez especially has been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe (including London neighbors Chelsea).

[ MORE: Yaya to stay at Man City ]

But perhaps the Gunners’ FA Cup triumph over Chelsea has Ozil and Sanchez feeling good vibes about the Emirates Stadium set, and Arsenal is ready to pounce. According to the report:

Wenger has told the board that he thinks he can win the Premier League if this group stays together and is supplemented by no more than two or three key additions. Ozil is understood already to have been offered more than £250,000 a week and the club are ready to go to around £280,000 for both him and Sanchez.

The Gunners need both players healthy and happy heading into next season, and appropriate additions as well (A top striker is a must. Again). Wage structure is important, but Arsenal will have a blessing in disguise if another player can make a legit case he deserves to be paid like Ozil and Sanchez any time soon.

West Ham, Everton, and the superstar striker’s need for the Champions League

Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Come up with a list of active elite level strikers, and it’s likely to be a short one filled with names from UEFA Champions League clubs.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Harry Kane, even Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Rarely do names like these move to a non-UCL club while in their prime, and it’s just as uncommon to see them stay at clubs which have failed to qualify for the UCL.

The money, the prestige, the endorsements; All are amplified by the world stage. Given the massive import of their domestic stage and spotlight, Premier League sides have bucked this trend on occasion — see Romelu Lukaku — but it’s the exception to the rule.

That’s what puts an ambitious club like West Ham United between a rock and a hard place. The Irons have been vocal about their desires to bring in a top-end striker, and it’s likely they’d be happy to spend what it takes to attract Alexandre Lacazette, Aubameyang, or Cavani to town.

Lyon reportedly rejected a $45 million bid for Lacazette last season, admitting that ultimately the player’s desires would determine his future. Higuain, too, was linked to chairman David Gold’s wallet before moving to Juventus. Carlos Bacca also saw his future connected to the Irons.

Instead, Gold landed Andre Ayew from Swansea, and had to hope Andy Carroll could stay healthy or Enner Valencia would deliver. Not a striker, Dimitri Payet apparently decided to skip town soon after West Ham’s Europa League exit at the hands of Astra Giurgiu.

Now it’s Kelechi Iheanacho being linked to the London Stadium, another hopeful swing from the Irons that points a strong finger at the problem: West Ham can be as ambitious as it likes, but it’s going to need a miracle to pull an elite striker to London without European football.

And it shouldn’t happen, but what if Everton is bumped from the UEL in the third qualifying round or playoff next year? Will Lukaku follow Payet’s lead and sink another team from joining the discussion? Though an argument can be made it’s better for Everton to lose those summer games, the Toffees very much need to succeed in the UEL qualifying and also show signs of strength in the early PL docket. That’s the unforgiving life of sitting on the outskirts of the powerful tier.

Every team at every level is searching for the next elite striker. Some, like West Ham, will need to luck into a young buck on the rise or a flawed striker finding his potential. And how do they hold onto that player, one who will have alerted the big boys to his arrival, without qualifying for Europe? It’s improbable.

The ability of teams like Chelsea and Liverpool to compete for a European slot in the PL standings thanks to missing out on the UCL the year before signals hope for clubs like Everton and West Ham. And five Premier League sides competing in the UCL this year could extend an invitation to stay longer in the Top Seven discussion for sides like Southampton and Leicester City, too.

So this summer’s striker captures are huge for Slaven Bilic and David Gold. This is a window the league’s “next group” won’t have open annually, and West Ham’s hopes of barging into the discussion again hinge on who shows up by August.

Toure reportedly set for another year with Man City

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Never say never.

Yaya Toure looks like his season-long peace with Pep Guardiola will stretch into a new season, with Toure’s combustible agent admitting talks with Manchester City regarding a new contract.

Dimitri Seluk is among the worst agents on Earth Toure’s agent, and said, “We are talking. We will see what happens but City is a club that is in Yaya’s heart.”

[ MORE: Barcelona names new manager ]

But Seluk has not been in City’s heart, having made numerous poor decisions on when to open his mouth, deepening a rift between Toure and Guardiola that kept the player off the pitch for some time. Earlier this Spring, Seluk also suggested that Toure could join Manchester United.

So, yeah, smart guy. Hates microphones and publicity.

Toure turned 34 this month, and became a fixture for Guardiola once he broke into the lineup. The midfielder made nine-straight starts around the turn of the calendar, scoring five goals in the Premier League.

Wolfsburg holds off Braunschweig with Vieirinha blast (video)

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Outworked and outperformed in the first half of their playoff second leg at Eintracht Braunschweig, Wolfsburg needed a wake-up call to steady its hopes of staying in the Bundesliga.

That came off the boot of longtime right back Vieirinha, as the Portuguese veteran ran onto a rebound and fired a 17-yard arrow into the goal to boost Wolfsburg aggregate lead to 2-0.

[ MORE: Barcelona names new manager ]

That would mean the 2.Bundesliga hosts would need three goals to give the second tier a third promotion this season. An 82nd minute red card to Braunschweig’s Maximilian Sauer effectively ended those far-off dreams.

Ingolstadt and Darmstadt were relegated in the season, and Stuttgart and Hannover were promoted from 2.Bundesliga.