Another performance similar to Saturday's against Aston Villa saw
Tottenham come unstuck, as Manchester United seized upon the few chances
they made and left Spurs out of the League Cup despite monopolising
possession for long periods in the 0-2 defeat.
While Alex Ferguson rested a number of his
first choice XI, they looked sharper than Tottenham and worked harder
off the ball to stem the movement forward when Spurs had the ball.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of our side, who had a free-kick
in the United half which ended up with the ball in our net for the first
goal and then defended raggedly to allow the home team to open them up
for the decisive second goal seven minutes before the break.
Too many of Redknapp's changed side
failed to produce. Sebastien Bassong was at another game, Wilson
Palacios' passing was a liability from the first minute and Jermaine
Jenas had a game to forget, but not many Tottenham fans will.
Robbie Keane's use of the ball was poor and his substitution brought
Peter Crouch on and he received little to do much with, but when he had
the ball on the floor, he failed to find a colleague on many occasions.
David Bentley tried, but failed to deliver a regular supply of quality
ball into the box and Alan Hutton played a couple of suicidal passes
across his own area, but did try to get forward and tackle back,
although not entirely successful with either.
Those of the team absolved from criticism
are Michael Dawson, who gave his all; Gareth Bale, who provided some
promising moments on the left; Aaron Lennon, who was a threat to Gary
Neville until United changed their set-up, but some times even Aaron
failed to use the ball to the best effect; Heurelho Gomes, who had
little chance with either goal and only had one other shot on target to
save and Jermain Defoe, who had little service and the two chances he
did have were on target, with one being saved and the other blocked.
Tom Huddlestone played the second half and was always available to
receive the ball, but his passing was not spot-on tonight and nor was
his tackling back.
But the galling thing was Tottenham
started very well in the first 15 minutes, even though Palacios gave the
ball away in an attempted clever turn that allowed United to go through
and provide Anderson with a shooting opportunity. Defoe got a yard
on the edge of the D and hit a low shot that Kuszczak smothered on the
line and then Bale's floated cross evaded Vidic and Jermain hit a shot
after taking a touch, but De Laet threw himself in front of the effort
to block the ball. Keane was also put in by Hutton, but he
switched feet and then allowed the defence to get back and get in the
way. Jenas, Keane and Bale ceded possession too easily and while
Spurs had got away with it in the last two matches, but, even against
United's second string, they were made to pay.
The treatment of the Spurs wide men by
the United defence was pretty brutal, but with Mark Clattenburg
refereeing, there was little chance of too much going Tottenham's way.
In comparison, Spurs failed to get near, let alone stuck into, the
United players and that allowed them to use the space well and pass
through Spurs. That was what happened in the 16th minute, as the
ball was quickly moved from an interception to the left and then back
into the middle of the pitch, just outside the area, where Darron Gibson
had time to drive a shot low just inside the post to put United into the
lead against the run of play.
Spurs did create a couple more chances
before United went 2-0 up in the 28th minute. A flowing move saw
Welbeck return Gibson's pass and the Irishman took a first time shot
which was placed towards the top corner and out of Gomes' reach to
double the score.
Tom Huddlestone came on as a replacement
for the hugely disappointing Palacios. He really needs to pick up
his passing game, as it puts Tottenham under a lot of pressure when he
tries to be too clever or sometimes, just fails to put enough weight on
his pass. His tackling is a major asset, but Wilson needs to up
his game a notch.
In comparison, the second half was dull.
Spurs started in much the same way as the first, but lacked a cutting
edge in and around the box and the final pass was lacking. A
couple of self-inflicted United attacks were blocked before they got to
a shooting position and then just before the hour, Bale's pull back to
Bentley saw his powerful side-foot beaten out in ungainly style by
Kuszczak. Apart from a couple of Crouch headers and one by Bentley
that all went wide and a late Macheda shot that rippled the
side-netting, there was little to get too excited about.
So, United become the first side to beat
Spurs over 90 minutes to win a tie in this competition since Grimsby
Town back in 2005. All we can hope for is that the rest of this
season will be similar to that one, when Tottenham finished had their
highest finish for many seasons.