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Ferguson's fighters still standing

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Phil McNulty | 07:20 UK time, Monday, 17 January 2011

White Hart Lane

Harry Redknapp evoked memories of the notorious 1984 Olympics clash between Mary Decker and Zola Budd to describe the most contentious moment of the stalemate between Tottenham and Manchester United.

He likened Rafael's tangle with Benoit Assou-Ekotto that brought United's defender a harsh red card to the moment Los Angeles stopped as Budd, a South African athlete running for Great Britain, unwittingly brought the American sweetheart to the floor in the 3,000m final to became a nation's villain.

Nice line from Harry - and delivered after his maturing Spurs became the latest side to try and fail to make the Premier League's own frontrunners stumble and fall.

This meeting fell short of its pre-match billing and expectations but there was still much to provide satisfaction for two of the game's managerial elder statesmen.

The story of United's season is now a familiar one. Still we wait for signs that the old sparkle and flourish is returning. Yet - and with greater significance - still we wait for their first defeat after 21 games.

Rooney remonstrates with the the refereeRooney lost control of his emotions when Rafael was sent off. Photo: PA

If United, reaching out in vain for their best form, can lead the Premier League table with two games in hand, it sounds an ominous note for those hoping to emerge from what is effectively a five-club pack to claim the title.

Spurs may have found their variety of attacking avenues closed off at every turn by a red wall of resistance built by the outstanding Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. But Redknapp refuses to waver in his belief that Spurs can be title challengers, taking this encounter as fresh evidence that he is assembling a squad that is closing the gap on those at the top.

"This game tells me we are not a million miles behind all these other teams," he said. "We went to Arsenal and won. We have played Chelsea and Manchester United here and there has been nothing between us and we battered Manchester City here on the opening day of the season and should have got more than a draw. We believe we are not inferior to any of them. There is not a lot in this league any more."

Hundreds of Spurs fans gathered outside White Hart Lane before kick-off to protest against any potential move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, while more dissenters chanted noisily at half-time. At least they know they are watching a team that is going places even if they wish to stay firmly put.

Another firm conclusion that can be drawn from a day of Premier League draws is that United, while not currently the flamboyant attacking force of old, are showing a resilience and a defensive solidity that wins titles.

If Ferguson can somehow coax Wayne Rooney back to somewhere near his real self, it will surely be a potent enough cocktail to take them ever closer to that record 19th title.

Rooney showed flashes of his best at White Hart Lane, dragging a shot wide early on and seeing a low drive turned away by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes just after half-time, but too often he was on the margins as his touch deserted him.

He was shunted to a right-flank role when Ferguson made a tactical reshuffle on the hour and boiled over pointlessly when Rafael saw red, haranguing referee Mike Dean to such an extent that a booking was the least he deserved.

Rooney will surely return to his world-class best at some point but, for now, his toils continue. Ferguson will keep faith and hope that the switch can be flicked because Rooney-watching is currently a frustrating occupation.

The reliables are Ferdinand and Vidic. Peter Crouch and Rafael van der Vaart came close to piercing the shield they provided in front of Edwin van der Sar but otherwise it was an imperious performance from the pair.

William Gallas and Michael Dawson were almost as impressive for Spurs but one player stood head and shoulders - in skill if not in stature - above all others as a creative force. And that was tiny Croatian Luka Modric.

On an operational note, the close proximity to the pitch of the Spurs press box gives the media an almost unique view of the pace of a Premier League game and how minds must be as agile and swift as limbs in the midfield area.

Modric leaves Darren Fletcher trailingModric oozed class against Manchester United. Photo: Getty Images

Modric, at such close quarters, is a marvel to watch. As bodies move in a blur, he finds time and space to pick out colleagues, switch the direction of play and display a rare vision. If he has been overshadowed to an extent by the deeds of Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart this season, he was his side's main driving force on Sunday - a fact readily acknowledged by Redknapp.

"An amazing player, an amazing footballer and a great boy," said the manager. "There was talk about a lack of space and time out there but he kept finding it. His touch and awareness is fantastic. He could play in any team in the world."

It was a masterclass no doubt appreciated by the watching David Beckham as he kept an eye on the team he wants to play for, a prospect receding by the day it seems.

Spurs and United may have ultimately cancelled each other out but it was not for the want of trying. Even after Rafael's sending-off, Ferguson sent Paul Scholes back to the dug-out as he was preparing to emerge as a substitute and instead sent on striker Javier Hernandez for the subdued Dimitar Berbatov.

Redknapp's response was to send on Jermain Defoe to partner Crouch, removing Wilson Palacios and leaving the unlikely duo of Modric and Van der Vaart as his central midfield duo.

Fortune may not have favoured the brave but it was an insight into the attacking mindset that makes teams produced by Redknapp and Ferguson so eminently watchable.

If there is such thing as a moral victory, it could be claimed by United. White Hart Lane was the place where many expected their unbeaten run to end but Spurs could barely lay a glove on them.

Redknapp later insisted it would be "a miracle" if United maintained the sequence until season's end and became the new 'Invincibles'.

Ferguson will probably believe such an achievement it is not beyond the capabilities of a side showing equal measures of toughness and talent.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Was a good game to watch, even though it was a 0-0. I was worried before this game and would have been happy to come away with a draw prior to kick off. Now that has been acheived, United have to ensure that they dont slip up against the teams they should be beating, which will put pressure on the remaining challengers.

    It was never a red card for Rafael, but instead of bleating on about ref injustices (as the spurs fans i know seem to do), i will accept that sometimes you get them for you, sometimes you get them against you....

    Not sure about Modric being MoM, yes he was pretty and nice, but effectively he didnt provide any cutting edge to Spurs as far as i could remember. Vidic on the other hand was immense!

  • Comment number 2.

    Fair write-up Phil,

    I thought Vidic was untold at the back, if he and Rio can stay fit for the rest of the season it's hard to see them losing many (if any) games at all.
    I don't think Fergie particularly 'went for it' by throwing on Hernandez for Berbatov, its just swapping a striker for another striker. Even at 0-0 and 10-men you still need an out-ball which means a striker up top to ease the pressure. Not necessarily rolling the dice or anything.

  • Comment number 3.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    There is no doubting Modric's ability but for him to be put into the 'world class' bracket does he not need to add some more goals to his game? Vidic was absolute class yesterday and made Crouch look very ordinary indeed.

    It was a very open game and good to watch. I think this goes down to Spurs' attitude to the game more than anything else. Attacking with such pace all of the time will cause you to lose defensive shape if you suddenly concede possession. Great to see teams at the top having a real go though.

    www.feeling-football.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 5.

    I think the prem are becoming wise to the tactics employed by Harry, its either a bumrush down the wing followed by a cross (usually overhit) or a ball over the top to Crouch who then knocks it down to VDV for a tap in. Teams are starting to nulify this by playing deep and showing Bale into midfield and then marking Crouch out of the game.

    For this reason I think Spurs will struggle to get 4th place, Chelsea, ManU, City and Arsenal are more dynamic and can adjust to different styles and situations.

  • Comment number 6.

    I watched all 3 games on Sky yesterday and for me, the Birmingham game was the best of the three. It may not have had the quality of the other two games but it was so much more entertaining. Large parts of the Spurs game was boring with no attacking play and I don't know why people in the media (not you Phil)said it was entertaining.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Spurs could barely lay a glove on them" Did we watch the same game? If Both teams had taken their chances, it would've finished in Tottenham's favour. Yes Utd done ok to hold on but how many times have we seen a sending off galvanise a team? If the sending off hadn't had happened Spurs probably would of won the game. IMHO it wasn't a second yellow card offence.

  • Comment number 8.

    There can be no complaint about Rafael's red card. I have heard some say that had video evidence been used then the second yellow was proved to be wrong. Well that's fine, because the same video would have turned the first into a straight red. The challenge went way over the ball with studs high, reckless and dangerous at best.

  • Comment number 9.

    At Marco66

    Sorry fella I have to disagree with you there.

    Spurs didnt have one clear cut chance the whole game, and to say that you are at a disadvantage playing against 10 men is crazy talk.

    The only team that would have won that game (and it pains me to say it) were ManU, they nearly did in the 94th minute as well.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nice article. Luka Modric is absolutely class. He is so nimble on his feet and can recieve a ball and turn with mumerous defenders around him. A skill not many players have. It really is a pleasure watching him.

  • Comment number 11.

    Long Live the Goat wrote:

    "Spurs didnt have one clear cut chance the whole game, and to say that you are at a disadvantage playing against 10 men is crazy talk"

    Did you see the game????
    What about Crouch brushing the outside of the post from Hutton's cross (he really should have scored), or VDV header from Bale's cross which hit the side netting (again should have scored)?

    2nd half.....VDV just over the bar from 15 yards.....

    Man UTD were the ones who did not create a single clear chance, other than a few shots from outside the area.

  • Comment number 12.

    You gotta love the Shango...

  • Comment number 13.

    Spurs17

    You've proved my point, they didnt have one clear cut chance.

    I agree that Modic is a class player, he reminds me of David Silva at City but he plays in a deeper role.

  • Comment number 14.

    United do this every year, only this year there have not lost yet - but they will. As for the title, I have a sneaking feeling if Arsenal can sort out their defensive problems (Cahill will do that) they will win the title (unfortunately).

    Also. why are Chelsea trying to sign Steven Pienaar? I know £3m is not alot in this day and age but he is simply not good enough for a club like Chelsea.

    Pienaar - Go and be a squad player on large wages some place else !!!

  • Comment number 15.

    As a United fan I'm not holding my breath for Rooney's return to form. Frankly I wish SAF had dumped him after Rooney's arrogance about United's apparent lack of ambition. Rooney owes United. If he can't contribute in footballing terms then he should at least spare us (and, more importantly, the officials) the foul mouth.

    As for the Hernandez-Berbatov switch, I thought it was tactically neutral in one sense (striker-for-striker, as mentioned above). But the young, popular Mexican is developing a Solskjaer-esque reputation. I think it was more likely that he scored than Berbatov.

    A moral victory to United? Perhaps. But I cannot believe that SAF would have settled for 1 point pre-match.

    Spurs were classy again, though. Given Rooney, and given other issues at OT it's remarkable (a testament to SAF's sheer nouse) that United have 45 points.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mike Dean had a shocking game as referee, getting many decisions wrong and being massively inconsistent in his awards.

    But what I also saw from him in the first half was a rule he seems to have made up himself. When Rafael took a throw in from the wrong place, rather than wave him back ten yards to take it from the correct place (as I would like to see more referres do) he instead awarded a throw in to Tottenham. If I have missed the introduction of this new law then I will retract this comment, but if as I believe this is not a law then serious questions need to be asked as to his thought process.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yesterday's game yet again highlighted what every Spurs fan knows about our team - we are desperate, DESPERATE, for a top-class striker who can provide a cutting edge in tight games. We are jam-packed full of creativity in midfield, but we still lack a really top-draw frontman - and this will ultimately hold us back this season in the league.

    It was in evidence at home to Wigan, Chelsea and Man City (although Joe Hart had a stormer, in fairness) and again yesterday... it's sad that a side that builds play so well is then obviously told to loft it up to Crouch, who will in turn try and nod it down.

    The forwards we have are useful in different ways, but are all of a similar level. We now need to take the next step.

  • Comment number 18.

    Excellent match yesterday. Spurs did have a few chances but didn't really stretch Van Der Sar.

    Rafael a bit unlucky to go but given how many times Gary Neville has got away with not being sent-off this season these things do come in swings and roundabouts.

    United were awful in Midfield and should have started with either Scholes or Anderson rather than Carrick. Spurs played well but I do think that United can remain unbeaten and win the title this season but only if they start winning away.

  • Comment number 19.

    Happy with a point, Spurs have missed a trick but that said Vidic was immense. Hope he stays fit.

  • Comment number 20.

    Long Live the goat, I would love to see what you consider a clear cut chance.....maybe an open goal from 6 yards?

    At PL level, and an important game like yesterdays, they are clear cut chances in my book.

    Rushers82.....I believe that throw in decision was for a foul throw?

  • Comment number 21.

    16. At 09:01am on 17 Jan 2011, rushers82 wrote:
    Mike Dean had a shocking game as referee, getting many decisions wrong and being massively inconsistent in his awards.

    But what I also saw from him in the first half was a rule he seems to have made up himself. When Rafael took a throw in from the wrong place, rather than wave him back ten yards to take it from the correct place (as I would like to see more referres do) he instead awarded a throw in to Tottenham. If I have missed the introduction of this new law then I will retract this comment, but if as I believe this is not a law then serious questions need to be asked as to his thought process

    -----------------------------------

    I thought he had given a foul throw as Rafael had released teh ball incorrectly but if that is the case then his boss should be havinga word.

    He seemed a bit card-happy though and Crouch should have had a yellow. Still it was great to watch

  • Comment number 22.

    I think Modric should be a transfer target for Sir Alex, as a long-term replacement for Paul Scholes. More than any other player in the world I'd love to see Modric in a United shirt.

  • Comment number 23.

    rushers82, PetShopBoys_Forever


    Yes, it was a foul throw from Rafael. He does have a habit of encroaching about 10 yards every time he takes a throw though, so refs are probably more likely to pick up on foul throws and penalise him if they can.

  • Comment number 24.

    If the second yellow card is kept as yellow card we may as well make football a completely no contact sport, it was completely accidental and wasn't in a dangerous position so it wasn't cynical. The first was a yellow but he took the ball first, and although his studs were high, that was the level of the ball and it was just the one leg.

    Seems football could turn into basketball with either attack or defense and really no midfield. Good for goals and chances but missing that grit.

  • Comment number 25.

    @15

    just reread my last claim about United having 45 pts. Of course there's nothing remarkable about that. The point I'm making a hash of making is that it's remarkable that they're top. This reflects their good results against genuine league contenders. In the 90s & 00s United had a reputation for amassing huge points tallies but not performing so well against other contenders.



  • Comment number 26.

    Ferguson seems to have changed tactics this season by refusing to run the risk of loosing, United are more defensive than ever. IF Rooney clicks they will score tons, but really Berbatov should be in that role. United came into a purple patch , badly disrupted by weather, against Blackburn, and Blackpool were supposed to be next. Two more games and United will click again...I think they are going to run riot at the business end of the season IF they can remain unbeaten..It's clear however the others have thrown away their chances.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Spurs could barely lay a glove on them" I agree that Vidic was immense. He stood tall in every attack. Man U were 0-0 at the end because of Ferdy and Vidic. No other reason.

  • Comment number 28.

    What's the point of Rooney? Why is he lionised and why the sycophantic approach to him. He's just another player and one who has an unpleasant side to him. Grossly overpaid and overrated. He should be sold.

  • Comment number 29.

    20. At 09:05am on 17 Jan 2011, spursn17 wrote:

    Long Live the goat, I would love to see what you consider a clear cut chance.....maybe an open goal from 6 yards?

    At PL level, and an important game like yesterdays, they are clear cut chances in my book.

    Rushers82.....I believe that throw in decision was for a foul throw?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Clear cut, would really mean on Target, the chances you described earlier even with a keeper Spurs wouldn't have scored. It's not rocket science...

  • Comment number 30.




    Rafael should have been off before that for his discusting behaviour flashing an imaginary yellow card at the referee.
    Nothing cheapens the game more than a player doing this. Ref pretended not to see this as he knew he was on a yellow and was afraid of what Ferguson would say about him.
    If he had been the bigger man and given him a second yellow for it he would have been toasted by all football fans and saved himself the flack he's getting now.

  • Comment number 31.

    If Crouch could finish, then Spurs could be a more dangerous prospect. Against Man Utd, you need to take the chances that fall your way.

    It is arguable whether his goalscoring return is worthy of a Top 4/5 striker.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sensed a fair bit of frustration with Peter Crouch around White Hart Lane yesterday, not so much aimed at him personally but it seemed Spurs fans wanted Defoe ahead of him.

    Redknapp explained that he went for Crouch because he needed an aerial "out" ball to ensure Spurs didn't get penned in by United.

    Good game without being a great one as I said, with pluses for both sides.

    United fans - are you satisfied with how your side are playing? You must be delighted with the league position.

    Spurs fans - do you think Redknapp needs to add more quality to his squad before the transfer window closes.

    And on another point, any chat from Spurs fans about the proposed move to Stratford. Saw protests before and during the game. An unpopular notion among you?

  • Comment number 33.

    "instead of bleating on about ref injustices (as the spurs fans i know seem to do), i will accept that sometimes you get them for you, sometimes you get them against you...."

    Only a utd fan would say this without the smallest bit of irony, despite decisions almost always going there way (spurs should have had a penalty for vidic bringing down vdv before the rafael sending off). I'm sure every fan feels that they level out for every other team, but utd do very well out of referee decisions

  • Comment number 34.

    Two words for Spurs - missing opportunity.

    It's not so much that they didn't seem to believe in themselves, as arguably had been the case vs 'Big 4' before. More like a lack of composure...whenever they got into that final third it was headless chickens time more often than not, over-eager and rash.

  • Comment number 35.

    I didn't see Rafael's second card, but I did see the first and it looked worse than Gerrard's offence for a straight red.

    United get the luck with the ref yet again.

    As for the result - never mind the United defending, Spurs seemed to waste so many build up opportunities in the final third it was shocking.

  • Comment number 36.

    First re #22 I bet you would like Modric. Unhappily, unless the News of the World is on the ball, I think he is out of your price range.
    Also, I see no mention here of the nailed on penalty when Vidic dragged Van der Vaart down by his shirt. Mike Dean it seemed had his usual game, not very good.
    From the team sheet a 0-0 was almost nailed on. As an away attack Berbatov and Rooney simply don't cut it, other than very infrequently. Similarly Crouch as Tottenham front man against any sort of decent centre back pairing is going nowhere. Also despite the pre-match bravado, Harry Redknapp once again showed his old buddy far too much respect by starting Palacios and not Jenas, who is having a prety good season to date.

  • Comment number 37.

    I thought Vidic was immense yesterday. He puts the likes of Terry, Dawson, Pique, Puyol, Pepe, et al completely in the shade. For the £7.5m Utd paid for him it has to be one of their best signings ever.

    Honestly, if there is a better centre half in the world than Nemanja Vidic i would like to know their name!

  • Comment number 38.

    I know columns like Phil's are there to insight passionate, parochial comment, but come on boys and girls what a fantastic weekend of BPL - you don't know what side your bread is buttered.You should all be forced to watch the S League in Singapore, Enjoy the BPL for what it is - the most consistent and enjoyable weekly entertainment of exceptional football skills- even with Mike Dean!

  • Comment number 39.

    35. At 09:29am on 17 Jan 2011, dogeared wrote:
    I didn't see Rafael's second card, but I did see the first and it looked worse than Gerrard's offence for a straight red.


    ____________________________________________________________________

    You mean Rafael's challenge where he went in one-footed and took the ball, versus Gerrards where he went in two footed, got nowhere near the ball, and put all 12 studs into Carrick's shins?



    Right.

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil - if we want to, ahem, 'challenge for the title' this season, then Redknapp most certainly needs to add a high-class forward. I don't think it will happen though.

    As I said before, Crouch has his uses, mainly in Europe, but doesn't score enough league goals (one this season I think in 20-odd games), Defoe is the best we have but is not consistent enough and you never fancy him to score against the top sides, and Pav is miles better off the bench.

    I think the gripe that we had with Crouch yesterday was that, with a real chance of pushing United and looking to show some intent in the league, we left our top scorer from last season and our best forward on the bench. There is also a sense that when Crouch is in the side, we get lazy and just throw the ball up to him, which is ridiculous when you consider how much better in the air Rio and Vidic are than Crouch.

  • Comment number 41.

    35. At 09:29am on 17 Jan 2011, dogeared wrote:

    I didn't see Rafael's second card, but I did see the first and it looked worse than Gerrard's offence for a straight red.

    United get the luck with the ref yet again.

    As for the result - never mind the United defending, Spurs seemed to waste so many build up opportunities in the final third it was shocking.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    this is the type of comment I adore, we play with 10 men and we were lucky with the ref.....hilarious.
    Phil United are playing in a particular way, and doing it very very well. IF the play like they did against Blackburn they will destroy most teams. I genuinely think Every team is there for the taking, as long as we have a strong back 4. United could win this season at a canter at the moment as no one else is stepping up.

  • Comment number 42.

    That referee loves to dish out cards, apart from the 2nd yellow for rafael they were pretty spot on, although consistency is again not there.

    It was pretty clear in this match how much United lack creativity in central midfield, have no idea why Anderson was not started, but I guess wanted to stifle Modric and van der vaart.
    It speaks volumes how far Spurs have progressed when United use similar tactics at White Hart Lane that they do against the 'big' teams like Arsenal, Chelski, europe away, in that they set up to play on the counter attack.

    I think removing Berba and putting on Hernandez was a defensive move just to help relieve pressure by preventing Spurs piling more men forward, as they know any cleared balls hoofed/played forward Hernandez will chase and may cause problems

  • Comment number 43.

    The scond yellow card was extremely harsh as I didn't see a deliberate attempt to trip Akotto, more of a coming together as he cut in front of Rafael, however, what followed again demonstrates what I detest about football.
    Rooney's reaction was disgraceful and he rightly got booked, but he didn't stop there and carried on his volley of abuse. Alot is made that the players are role models to the youngsters watching on TV, however, it seemed to have a more immediate impact on Rafael who clearly then thought it was ok to direct his own abuse at the referee after seeing his senior team mate do this.
    This isn't directed at United in particular as I see it every week by all teams when a decision goes against them but it is a sad indictment of footballers and their lack of respect towards the officials. On a Sunday morning then I have seen players given a straight red for foul and abusive language, it's a pity our top league isn't setting the example.

  • Comment number 44.

    Great article, Phil, seems like a good assessment of the match. As a United fan, however, I do sometimes feel aggrieved that the media would always prefer to fall back on the 'Manchester United aren't playing at their best' line. For much of the first half, United were producing the same kind of flair, attacking play that Spurs were. Just because they tailed off as the second half drew to a close and were of course forced into a defensive stance by Rafael's sending off doesn't eradicate that good first-half play. Sometimes I think the sports media (although perhaps not this article given that your criticisms were very measured and probably fair) can be a little lazy with its opinions - one writer says that United are underp-erforming, and as a result the next is always looking for an excuse to say the same.

    At the moment, United would have to come up with a 'performance-of-the-decade' to satisfy some people. Blackburn has been forgotten already, but if Blackpool and then Chelsea hadn't cancelled on us, I feel sure that would we have seen a spectacular bursting into life.

    To echo a comment above, I would happily see United pay almost anything to get their hands on Modric. Combining his flair and vision with Anderson's ambition and grit (not to mention his delightful emphasis on always getting the ball going forward, whether with a driving run or an ambitious through-ball) would make for a very promising central midfield.

  • Comment number 45.

    Yesterday was crying out for someone to take charge in midfield

    Hargreaves is sorely missed at the moment and Scholes/Anderson would have been better picks than Carrick

  • Comment number 46.

    Rafael is a very talented young man. But he is also a crafty, dirty little player. The first yellow should have been a straight red: his foot was up around the Spurs' player's knee. With the second yellow, he knew exactly what he was doing: he gambled and lost. Hopefully, he'll be given an extra few games suspension for mouthing off to the referee after his dismissal.

    Spurs should have kept playing the ball to Bale on the outside. If they had, I'm pretty sure the reckless Raphael wold have hit the showers a lot sooner.

  • Comment number 47.

    Premiership, best league - yawn yawn.

    A team that has drawn the equivalent of losing 6 matches and yet are still top with games in hand.

    A team that last season remember failed to entertain compared to previous United teams yet still only failed to win the title by 1 point.

    A United team the season before that who again were no great shakes,went on a sojourn abroad in December, let the other teams take advantage (NOT) and still won the title.

    Lets get one thing straight here, the quality of the top teams has gone down markedly, United have been on the decline these last three seasons but its gradual, Chelsea have fallen off the mountain, whilst the rest are still ascending but at such a rate that they are dependent on United declining more rapidly rather than overtaking them on their own merits.

    The 2nd round of the champions league is not that far off, I dont think any of the 4 sides should feel comfortable, nor should Scudamore, the Premiership facade of its greatness at the elite level is beginning to show serious signs of cracking.

  • Comment number 48.

    No sympathy for Rafa, to wave an fake yellow card is by current rules supposed to be a yellow card. Fair play to Rio for giving him a clip round the ear for doing it. So he was lucky to stay on as long as he did.

    As for the game Utd played for and got a point, was impressed with Spurs defensively kept Nani very quiet but didnt make the most of the play the had outside the area.

    Vidic was immense and although he got plenty of stick and was poor in possession without Carricks constant tracking back and covering at the back Spurs would have been in countless times

  • Comment number 49.

    This current United side is efficient, well organised, resilient, flexible, strong ... and dull. As a neutral I have not enjoyed watching them at all this season. I' m sure neither they nor their supporters could care less, but if this team goes through a season unbeaten it will be a sad day for entertainment - and not a great reflection on the rest of the Premiership.

  • Comment number 50.

    Phil - as a United fan i am a bit worried about the sheer number of draws we are getting away from home. While on the one hand it means we are unbeaten still, we are not picking up enough points on the road at the moment to win the league. We need to kick on rapidly!

    On top of that we have 3 tricky away games to negotiate at Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. Our home form is keeping us top at the moment, but we also have a couple of tricky home games too (City and Chelsea). So, while we are top and have games in hand, i still think this league is a lot closer than it appears and City are shaping up to be the main threat...

  • Comment number 51.

    31. sorry but I dont know what you are on about. I agree waving the imaginary card is not a nice sight and should be cut out of the game, but has it ever been a yellow card offence to do so?....No. Does it state in the rules that any player that waves the imaginary card should receive a booking?......No. Has any player been booked for waving the imaginary card?....I can't think of any......so...NO.

  • Comment number 52.

    aaah i meant 30. You all get the picture

  • Comment number 53.

    I thought yesterday's game descended to the distinctly average. The wild statements bandied about by Andy Gray were laughable!

    I agree with Phil that from the midfielders on show, Modric played the best. He quietly makes Spurs tick, but to make the step up to World Class he has to add goals to his game and be the real difference in the big games regularly, but this can come with time.

    In reality Spurs never forced Van Der Saar into a proper save and whilst United were hardly much better, Rooney did test Gomes.

    I do believe that Spurs are closing the gap on the big teams, but for all the results Redknapp trotted out, bar the City game, they could have easily lost them. Arsenal embarrassed them in the first half at Emirates and a third goal would have ended it. Chelsea pretty much dominated the game from about 30 mins in and could have won it. And against United, they failed to create a clear cut oppurtunity to win it.

  • Comment number 54.

    If Redknapp and Levy are serious about winning the title they need to dig deep now and add a goalscorer (Luis Suarez or someone else with the potential to be the best). It's what Spurs really lack. We absolutely dominated that game in midfield I haven't seen United outplayed like that for quite some time, yet they still left with a point and that's why they'll be up there at the end of the season and we won't.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    30. At 09:24am on 17 Jan 2011, Jimmy-the-lips wrote:



    Rafael should have been off before that for his discusting behaviour flashing an imaginary yellow card at the referee.
    Nothing cheapens the game more than a player doing this. Ref pretended not to see this as he knew he was on a yellow and was afraid of what Ferguson would say about him.
    If he had been the bigger man and given him a second yellow for it he would have been toasted by all football fans and saved himself the flack he's getting now.

    ----

    ok apply this very same rule to the 5 or 6 spurs players running round the ref after his first booking, not card waving but still trying to get him sent off

  • Comment number 57.

    42. At 09:39am on 17 Jan 2011, niro_d_wolf wrote:
    That referee loves to dish out cards, apart from the 2nd yellow for rafael they were pretty spot on, although consistency is again not there.

    It was pretty clear in this match how much United lack creativity in central midfield, have no idea why Anderson was not started, but I guess wanted to stifle Modric and van der vaart.
    It speaks volumes how far Spurs have progressed when United use similar tactics at White Hart Lane that they do against the 'big' teams like Arsenal, Chelski, europe away, in that they set up to play on the counter attack.



    ---------

    nope, wrong!!!!

    we play 3 in midfield with two wide men and one up top when we want to play on the counter

  • Comment number 58.

    Rafael got the ball in his first challenge, it was reckless but there was not 'excessive force' used, nor did he stamp his feet out towards the ball/player. a yellow was correct.

    to compare it to gerrards 2 footed lunge, where both feet were off the ground and he stamped out towards the ball/player, only making contact with the players ankle and nothing on the ball, is very blinkered.

    the second yellow was wrong but ref's can make mistakes, we're forunate it didnt cost us a point this time.

  • Comment number 59.

    post 55 - why do you read them then if it angers you so much? I suggest you go to the docs and get your blood pressure checked.

    I thought it went without saying that Phil blogs on the games he goes to watch, and he generally ends up covering the big matches (in fairness i thought he might have gone to the Merseyside derby, but maybe was conscious of doing too many Liverpool blogs).

    I do agree that blog on the West Ham situation would indeed make for interesting reading, but noone knows what is going on there at all, even the owners!

  • Comment number 60.

    Boring

  • Comment number 61.

    I for one didn't think it was a great game to watch. It all seemed so predictable even the final result, I expect SAF would have been reasonably happy with a point and Harry just happy not to lose it. There was never at any point a full bloodied committment to go and win the game by either team.

    I see some writing about Spurs domination of midfield, not suprising considering Utd conceded that space willingly and relied on the defence.

    Doesn't seem like a club actually wants to go and win the league this season but it's been getting that way for a while now. Utd seem to have adopted a 'do not lose policy' rather than stamping their authority on a match. Spurs on the otherhand, playing an attacking game but their just short of what it will take to win a league.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Spurs-United game didn't live up to its billing and was also technically poor for my liking. I was very disappointed with the way Spurs played. Just hoofing or crossing the ball to Crouch is not exciting football as am made to believe by the media. Modric is a good player but not world class. He's good on the ball but is so poor on giving defence spliting passes and scoring of goals. To be world class he needs to add those aspects to his game. The EPL has been below standards this season. Seeing this Man United side leading is more than enough evidence to to tell anyone the league is poor. Not enough quality players and quality teams.

  • Comment number 63.

    good article, my only problem is you're being unfair on the boy rooney

    "If Ferguson can somehow coax Wayne Rooney back to somewhere near his real self, it will surely be a potent enough cocktail to take them ever closer to that record 19th title." and "Rooney will surely return to his world-class best at some point but, for now, his toils continue. Ferguson will keep faith and hope that the switch can be flicked because Rooney-watching is currently a frustrating occupation."

    ok he had a bad game - but rooney has been excellent for united in recent weeks, hasn't been banging the goals in but at the heart of united's creativity and most of berbatov's goals have come from him. he's getting much closer

  • Comment number 64.

    Some interesting comments here.

    We (Spurs) are so close to being the finished product. We need a world class striker and perhaps another CB / RB and we can seriously challenge. Mind you, we're doing pretty good with what we have already.

    Unusually for me, I would disagree with Modric getting MOTM - Vidic (as many have already said on here) was 'triffic'. He was the stand out player and had he not have been playing the result wold almost certainly have been in Spurs' favour. I'm OK with a point but disappointed that we still cannot beat Man Utd having ridded ourselves of the Arsenal / Chelsea monkeys off our backs.

    Still, winning the Champions League will make me feel a tad better!!

  • Comment number 65.

    So in a game where the inept harshly referee sends off Rafael for trying to get out of Assou-Ekoto's way, a lot of people think the ref is STILL biased towards United?

    Honestly, the jealousy some people have of United is staggering at times. Although it's a compliment really, they wouldn't be so jealous if United weren't good.

  • Comment number 66.

    Berbatov played for United the same way he used to play for Spurs away from home, totally i-n-v-i-s-i-b-l-e. The loss of Ronaldo and Tevez has meant that Utd have completely changed their game accordly, grinding out a result in a game like Sunday (and the 1-0 win over Arsenal).
    I Think they will take the title this year but money (or the lack of it) is going to be a real issue within a year or two, must be galling when
    their neighbours are flashing the stuff about like a drunken sailor.

    Quite clearly the footballing elite are on the site this morning, proclaiming that Harry Redknapp is not a good manager, grief that man knows his football.

  • Comment number 67.


    United seem to be getting by on one thing this season, which is the sheer strength and doggedness of SAF's personality, which over the years he has managed to instill in his players and teams. They will not lose games, they will not give up, they will not concede and they will do enough to not lose and to win. SAF's faith in Rooney reflects this attitude, even though he is not scoring goals his attitude fits.

    No other manager in the premier league comes close to this. Look at Wengers sulking and flouncing.

    Regarding Rafael he should have been sent off, he could have been sent off for the first challenge, he then went out of his way to get Spurs player booked, which he did, ie the run he made was a great run but he was looking for the card from the moment he set off on it. The second card was a yellow for an ankle tap, a highly cynical and highly effective way of bringing down a player with the minimum of contact.

    The attitude of Man U players to referees is absolutely disgusting, Rooney is the worst, but he learned from one of the masters in Gary Neville, Rafael's was bad also. For such supposedly responsible role models the behaviour is shocking and the FA are not strong enough to ever pull Man U up for it.

    Saying Vidic was great is slightly flattering as Crouch was very ordinary, long balls in or over to Crouch are bread and butter for Vidic and Ferdinand. Redknapp missed a trick by allowing himself to play Crouch and hence dictating the way Spurs played, you won't beat Man U by lumping in long balls to the big lanky bloke. Why play players like Modric, Bale and Lennon whose skill is on the floor yet stick the big guy up front?

  • Comment number 68.

    I can't believe you're saying Rafael's sending off was harsh.

    It was a cynical trip to prevent a breakaway, when that happens it always ends in a booking and rightly so. Even if the perpetrator does a reasonably good job of appearing to 'accidentally' clip the persons heels (the oldest trick in the book) - it's a booking and that's it.

    Really surprised Andy Gray got that one wrong during the Sky commentary.

    Mike Dean, who had a really good game, was just being consistent.

  • Comment number 69.

    #37

    How about Kyrgiakos!!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Some points:

    1) Rafael was sent off against Bayern Munich after their players card waved AND chased / surrounded the ref to further their case. He was sent off. This doesn't excuse him doing it to Spurs, but I seem to remember a lack of sympathy from non-United fans over that incident. Also, I know a lot of you are just desperate for something to criticise United over, but here is something to remember: diving and staying on the ground like you are injured is EXACTLY THE SAME AS WAVING A CARD. Both are trying to trick the ref. Of course Rafael is a United player, so 'card waving' inevitably becomes (temporarily) worse than genocide.

    2) The first challenge was not a red card as some of you have said and the ones claiming it was worse than the Gerrard tackle are clouded by bitterness. Only one foot off the floor and he got the ball... some refs wouldn't have even given him a yellow.

    3) Crouch made a very similar tackle in the game and was not even given a yellow.

    To summarise, some people would only refrain from calling the ref biased towards United if he gave every single decision to the opposition team. Never mind....

    TOP OF THE LEAGUE.

  • Comment number 71.

    So after about 15 yrs of mediocrity the team now sitting 5th in the table, 8 points behind with 1 game more played than the leaders are title challengers, c'mon you can't be serious. Granted, Spurs are an improving team but so far they've only improved as much as Chelsea's disastrous season! More than likely they won't even make the top 4 this yr so please Spurs fans show some degree of humility and stop pretending that the title is up for grabs.

  • Comment number 72.

    As we review this, what now seems a much overhyped, game there will always be "ifs" and "buts", like if Raphael had not been sent off, the game would be difference blah de blah.... If Defoe had started, he would have been a yard quicker to the Crouch chance 6 yards from goal and it would have been 1-0...

    Generally a bit of a nothing game. Both sides created a few chances, neither of them took the chances.

    Luka Modric was for me the joint best player. It would be hard to choose between him and Vidic. Modric ruled the midfield but Vidic nulified every Tottenham threat almost sigle handedly.

    Overall was a little disappointed but a point against Man Utd is always welcome.

    One thing I did feel put a dampener on the game was Rooneys clear incapability of keeping his mouth shut. States he wants to turn over a new leaf and be a role model? I'm sure he'll be well pleased when he sees all the youngsters getting an inch from the ref's face and screaming obscenities at them... great example Wayne... silly boy.

  • Comment number 73.

    hackerjack

    I think you are entirely wrong about the first offence being a straight red. It was a rash challenge but there was no intent. The foot was up in the air trying to block the ball as it was passed. Rafael did not jump into the tackle, he did not stamp at the ball and his direction did not take him through the body of the opponent. Yellow was fair. The second yellow was not justified but if Rafael had been a bit more careful during the game he wouldnt have drawn that second yellow.

    No straight red, error giving the second yellow but has himself to blame by drawing attention to himself with rash tackle in the game and in the past.


    Apart from Hernandez giving the ball away recklessly i think he is a valuable forward to have with his pace and chasing back....also showed some good tackling.

  • Comment number 74.

    I enjoyed the game (for a nilniller) and sometimes it's really great to see outstanding defensive work, and both G&D and F&V performed outstandingly as partnerships.

    What upset me in this game, and is a growing frustration, is the abuse dished out to the ref. Rooney is supposed to be a role-model, and yet it was plain to see what he was saying to the ref. Same goes with Rafael. Children who want to be like their stars will take that back to their school playgrounds/pitches. It's a disgrace. Respect shouldn't be just another buzzword for England players to bang on about when they're off the field.

    Well done to Rio for having a word with Rafael when he asked for a yellow to be given to Palacios (for me his second yellow was right there, so forget all this "should he get sent off, shouldn't he" rubbish).

    I also watched some good European rugby and the respect given to the ref there shows it's possible. Yellow card for abusive language. Fine, we'll have a few weeks where teams will go down to 8, but if teams want to win the league/stave off relegation/get into Europe, they WILL adapt very quickly.

  • Comment number 75.

    post #68 - OK, so players can cynically "clip" a persons heels and this warrant a yellow, but could it also be the case that Rafael was trying to get back into position and BAE cut across him in the hope of contact and getting a free kick?? Cynicism isn't a one way street you know!

    As for post #67 talking about United players attitude to the referee being disgusting, i refer you to the earlier match at OT, when the Spurs players hoarded around the Linesman and Clattenberg when he gave the 2nd goal....dont try and be holier than thou, it is something that happens at every ground every week.

  • Comment number 76.

    Rooney world class - obviously
    Modricy little genius
    Crouchy clever outlet with the high ball
    Rafaely tenacious
    VDVarty who
    Vidicy best shirt puller in the PL
    Fergy never wrong
    'arry never right
    Refereey likes being abused


  • Comment number 77.

    I fell asleep during this game.

  • Comment number 78.

    I can't believe you're saying Rafael's sending off was harsh.

    It was a cynical trip to prevent a breakaway, when that happens it always ends in a booking and rightly so. Even if the perpetrator does a reasonably good job of appearing to 'accidentally' clip the persons heels (the oldest trick in the book) - it's a booking and that's it.

    Really surprised Andy Gray got that one wrong during the Sky commentary.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Is Harry Redknapp also wrong then? When the manager of the opposition team says it was harsh, in an era where managers are all as blinkered as each other, that tells you all you need to know.

  • Comment number 79.

    @30, you make a good point, this sort of behaviour is supposed to be stamped out, it is disgracful and unsportsmanlike.
    I would like to mention Ferdinand, not just for his defensive performance but also for his leadership on the field, more than once he had words with players to try and calm them down, particularly Rafael, and its something I think we need to see more of from captains and vice captains.
    At the end of the day I think 0-0 was a fair result. Whilst red cards and penalties will be debated for the next few weeks, on the balance of play a draw was the right result, and if either team had lost then the players, manager, and fans would have felt hard done by. Utd and Spurs both need a striker though as both are lacking that cutting edge in front of goal.

  • Comment number 80.

    @51. At 09:52am on 17 Jan 2011, Dont call my name Dont call my name Chicharitoooo wrote:

    "31. sorry but I dont know what you are on about. I agree waving the imaginary card is not a nice sight and should be cut out of the game, but has it ever been a yellow card offence to do so?....No. Does it state in the rules that any player that waves the imaginary card should receive a booking?......No. Has any player been booked for waving the imaginary card?....I can't think of any......so...NO."

    Sorry 51, but unsportsmanlike conduct is the first on the FIFA list of cautionable offenses (see list below). Referees should be carding these transgressions but they don't. (A pity as far as I'm concerned).


    Cautionable offences
    A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the
    following seven offences:

    • unsporting behaviour
    • dissent by word or action
    • persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
    • delaying the restart of play
    • failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in
    • entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission
    • deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission


  • Comment number 81.

    #78
    Harry was satisfied with a draw and had no reason to upset his mate Ferguson.

    Much cleverer to side with Ferguson,thereby keeping him 'sweet'.

  • Comment number 82.

    77. At 10:32am on 17 Jan 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote:

    I fell asleep during this game.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Just like your team did in the league :-)

  • Comment number 83.

    I don't believe Sir Alex should have withdrawn Nani. I know he wan't having a great game but he is the player that can make something from nothing, I would say he should have withdrawn Carrick or Fletcher for Anderson. Nani could have made the difference at 10 men by scaring their forwards

  • Comment number 84.

    Mr Mouseburger

    So it's Ok then if other people do it? What happended to leadership by example?

    United have been doing this for years, (and getting away with it), I'm a neutral in terms of the premier league, and yes they all do it. But IMO United are by far the worst and have been for a long time.

    Rooney is extremely bad at it, Ferdinand has done it, leaning into the referee mouthing off, and to me the worst ever player for doing this was the former Man U captain and England stalwart Gary Neville. Surely these players have to take some responsibility for this, I coach kids football, and they see this type of behaviour on the TV, spitting, snarling, mouthing off. It's unprofessional, undignified and childish and it is a bad example. What's the point of trying to instil good respectful yet competitive behaviour into kids if the people they look up to are doing the exact opposite...?


  • Comment number 85.

    82. At 10:43am on 17 Jan 2011, collie21 wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------

    Haha. There's always one...

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    51. At 09:52am on 17 Jan 2011, Dont call my name Dont call my name Chicharitoooo wrote:

    31. sorry but I dont know what you are on about. I agree waving the imaginary card is not a nice sight and should be cut out of the game, but has it ever been a yellow card offence to do so?....No.
    ----------------
    Yes, as of 2006

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=377764&cc=5739

  • Comment number 88.

    No suprrise that Redknapp defended Raphael - Harry's as much of a red wine supping Ferguson cronie as Allardyce, Bruce and co. He's as frightened of upsetting the red-faced one just as much as Gray, Tyler and half of the Premiership referees are. However, fair play to Mike Riley yesterday:a referee who got it spot on and wasn't frightened into favouring the Red Devils as so many refs do. He could have sent Raphael off for the initial wild challenge (it was a carbon-copy of the Gerrard challenge last week, which Gray called as a justified red, whereas the Raphael challenge was, of course, a harsh yellow card!), but he stayed sensible and had no option but to send off Raphael after his blatant trip in the second half.

    As for the match, you have to credit Man Utd's defence and consistency and Spurs' attacking approach (or at least their attempts to do so), albeit lacking a little guile and presence up top. The fact that a negative Italian style side like Man Utd are leading the title race so convincingly does not say a lot for the standard of our Premiership, which is dwindling, I'm afraid. Were Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal playing like the Red Devils are at the moment (and winning trophies), they would be criticised left, right and centre for their negative, defensive approach (just as Mourinho, Graham and Benitez's teams were on occasions in the past), but the Ferguson and Old Trafford machine seems to have a hold over the press, media, the FA, referees and opposing (British!) managers alike - no one dare utter a negative word about them, otherwise Fergie will throw his toys out of his pram, bad mouth them and/or won't talk to them any more (and of course will get away with it, as he always does)!

    By the way, I am a Premiership neutral (a Gillingham fan) and am just saying it as I see it!

  • Comment number 89.

    I really wonder why Redknapp insits on playing Crouch against top class opposition - He may provide an ariel threat against lesser teams, but defenders of the quality of Ferdinand and Vidic will have no problem dealing with him, as was evident after 15 minutes yesterday - I don't know why our boss couldn't see it

    I think it's clear for all to see that we need a World Class striker - I like Carrol, but is he better then what we have at the moment? Not at £30mil he ain't! I wouldn't mind taking a risk on Benzema on loan if he's still available? Who is else there though?

  • Comment number 90.

    Taking a quick look at the headlines, the match report summary and this article:

    "Manchester United extended their unbeaten record"

    "a result that suited United's purposes"

    "United march on"

    "McNulty hails ... resilience of champions"

    "Ferguson will be satisfied that they managed to contain one of their potential title rivals"

    ====

    You'd almost think United beat Tottenham!

    What neither the match report, the BBC Sport headlines nor this article on "Ferguson's fighters" really mentions amongst all of the above, is that United dropped points. And as they weren't "ever threatening to hit the heights" surely they could have taken those.

    The match report even suggests they were hard done by - "forced to play the last 16 minutes without [a young Brazilian] who received a second yellow card". Diddums. Say it like it is: The United player got himself sent off to the detriment of his team.

    And of course Rooney continues to be merely "out of sorts". Cute, but it's been eight months now. How long does it need to be before it becomes his regular sorts?

    I long await the day another team can be so repeatedly and so consistently praised as champion material following a "scrappy affair" goalless draw.

  • Comment number 91.

    "Rooney will surely return to his world-class best".

    On what do you base this opinion? One good season? He lacks the technique, temperament and consistency of players like Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi and Iniesta - true world class players.

    And we wonder why England always 'fail to meet expectations'. Ever had a thought that it might be because you make them out to be better than they are?

  • Comment number 92.

    What happened to Nani yesterday? Is Assou Ekotto that good of a defender?

    I watched the first half and I didnt once see him make a positive contribution. Strangely anonymous. Would have backed him to get a goal yesterday against a team who rarely keep a clean sheet.

  • Comment number 93.

    Harry was satisfied with a draw and had no reason to upset his mate Ferguson.

    Much cleverer to side with Ferguson,thereby keeping him 'sweet'.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yeah that must be it. Every pundit said it was harsh, both managers agree it was harsh but obviously they're all wrong and you and your conspiracy theories must be right.

    Is it half-term already?

  • Comment number 94.

    no. 79 - I agree, the way young Ferdinand is maturing is nice to see. helping to bring on the new breed of unsporting whinging United players. Don't anyone argue
    Ferdinand
    Neville
    Rooney
    Nani
    Evra
    Scholes
    Rafael - new entry

    I blame the manager

  • Comment number 95.

    88. At 10:54am on 17 Jan 2011, SteveTreacle wrote:

    In no way is the Rafael and Gerrard challenge of last weekend comparable. Rafael went in high with one foot but won the ball and didn't follow through on the player. He also didn't stamp out in the direction of either the ball or the player. In short there was no intent or recklessness in trying to cause a fellow professional injury.

    Gerrard on the other hand went in with 2 feet, stamped out towards the player and missed the ball completely. How anyone having watched the 2 challenges can say they are comparable is beyond belief.

    Back to the game I think it was a pretty fair result. Both teams seemed to lack a cutting edge in front of goal whilst the build up play was pretty good. It was quite an entertaining game for a no score draw and either team had chances to nick it.

  • Comment number 96.

    94. At 11:03am on 17 Jan 2011, rufus_smalls wrote:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I watch a lot of football and every team argues with referees at times. It's not ever specific to one club. It's endemic in football. Blaming one team for is is like blaming just one dog for spreading fleas.

  • Comment number 97.

    What Harry needs is a striker named.... Klaas Jan Huntelaar. With players like Bale,Modric and van der Vaart around him Tottenham would be real title contenders.

  • Comment number 98.

    no. 88 now I definitely agree with your first four lines, wholeheartedly
    Actually i agree with your last bit as well.
    I got carded by the moderators for saying something similar......uh

  • Comment number 99.

    4. At 08:37am on 17 Jan 2011, TomF wrote:
    There is no doubting Modric's ability but for him to be put into the 'world class' bracket does he not need to add some more goals to his game? Vidic was absolute class yesterday and made Crouch look very ordinary indeed.

    *****************************************************************

    Crouch is ordinary. He doesn't need Vidic to prove that.


  • Comment number 100.

    I think you are entirely wrong about the first offence being a straight red. It was a rash challenge but there was no intent. The foot was up in the air trying to block the ball as it was passed.
    ----------------
    There does not have to be intent for it to be a red. It was dangerous and out of control, his foot went over the ball (contact was minimal at best) at a height that would have hit around the knee if the other player was stood on the ground. I'm sure there was no intent to injure but it was still a red.

 

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