A display unlike many in recent times brought back fond old memories as Manchester United swarmed Spurs early and choked them to death to see out the match.
Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick both scored within the opening 20 minutes, and Wayne Rooney dazzled the Old Trafford crowd with a stunning third and an epic celebration to boot. With the game already out of reach at halftime, United controlled possession and smothered the visitors through the final 45.
The Red Devils struck first at home, as (striker!) Marouane Fellaini fired home inside 10 minutes. Michael Carrick found the Belgian bolting through the back line, and Fellaini beat Eric Dier to the ball and finished across the face to the far corner for the lead.
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United owned possession and kept the game at their pace, putting Spurs on the back foot for most of the opening 20 minutes. They’d rifle home a second when Carrick bagged himself one. A corner initially found Fellaini for a header, and when that was denied, it floated to Carrick. The midfielder wound up and hammered home a header to bag a goal against his former club.
Fellaini continued to be a problem for the Spurs central defenders, and Mauricio Pochettino decided he needed to make a change to keep United from going further ahead. He sacrificed Andros Townsend to get another body into the middle of the field in Moussa Dembele.
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Rooney came out of the halftime break firing again, lifting a turnaround shot over the bar, but with a 3-goal lead, Manchester United simply held the ball and slowly asphyxiated the opponent into submission. Harry Kane got off Spurs’ only shot on target, from a tight angle, and it snuck through the legs of David de Gea but he was a bit lucky to end up sitting on the ball to stop the shot.
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The win is an enormous one, fortifying United’s position in a Champions League place for now, increasing the gap to five points above Liverpool in fifth. The Red Devils also draw within a point of Arsenal in third. Meanwhile, Spurs fail to snatch the opportunity to put themselves in the top four, instead falling below Southampton on goal differential into seventh position.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Carrick (Rafael 87′), Herrera, Mata (Pereira 77′), Fellaini (Falcao 83′), Young, Rooney.
Goals – Fellaini 10′, Carrick 19′, Rooney 34′
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason (Lamela 64′); Chadli (Adebayor 79′), Eriksen, Townsend (Dembele 32′); Kane.