Manchester United’s test of form went decidedly awry as Christian Eriksen and Spurs marched into Old Trafford and held on for a 2-1 win.
United had won four straight, but three of those had been away. The lone win was a 3-1 decision over struggling West Ham United and it came after back-to-back home losses to Everton and Newcastle United, both of whom broke historic winless spells at the Theatre of Dreams.
Though Manchester United roared late, they were unable to find an equalizer past Hugo Lloris.
The first Spurs goal is one David de Gea may want back, and he surely regrets the second. First, he was flat-footed on his line as Adebayor hit a powerful header into the bottom right corner. Christian Eriksen sent the cross for the 34th minute opening goal.
Eriksen doubled Spurs lead in the 66th minute when he headed home a deflected offering from Aaron Lennon. De Gea flailed wildly but couldn’t find the ball as it skipped past him.
Less than a minute later, it was Danny Welbeck who restored some hope to the home faithful as he ran onto a Adnan Januzaj through ball and beat a sliding Hugo Lloris to make the score line 2-1. What was the French goalkeeper doing there? In any event, it’s four goals in five PL matches for Welbeck.
The first was decidedly one for the visitors, and not just because they took a 1-0 lead. Tottenham moved the ball well and, once they found their footing, could’ve easily scored multiple times.
Roberto Soldado nearly made it 2-0 earlier off a gorgeous Aaron Lennon cross, but his sliding effort went off his knee and wide of the goal. Soldado was effective aside from the finishing, but the Spaniard is paid to bury goals.
The second half found Danny Welbeck and Manchester United appealing for a 58th minute penalty after Welbeck tripped over an invisible wire and went to the ground in the area, but Howard Webb was wise to the ploy.
Manchester United enjoyed a 60/40 possession number for the majority of the match and took more shots, though neither side was particularly on target. The Red Devils won the corner battle, at one point leading it 9-2, but that will comfort David Moyes very little.
Lloris had to come to the rescue on several late occasions, including a 78th minute near-post stop on Hernandez off a slick pass from Januzaj.
Mousa Dembele picked up a yellow in the 80th minute for a robust challenge on Tom Cleverley.
Spurs suffered a scare late when Lloris came racing out of his net to deny Young, who boosted the ball across the goal but not into it. Lloris slid wildly but was not cautioned as Young got the attempt away and a 90th minute parry of Rooney.
Five minutes of added time provided more squeamish moments for Spurs supporters and head coach Tim Sherwood, but no goals for the home side.
Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling (Kagawa, 61), Evans, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick (Hernandez 61), Cleverley (Young, 84), Januzaj; Rooney, Welbeck
Goals: Welbeck (67)
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose; Lennon, Capoue (Bentaleb, 64), Dembele, Eriksen; Adebayor (Chadli, 70), Soldado (Kane, 75)
Goals: Adebayor (34), Eriksen (66)