Tottenham Hotspur bested Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley Wednesday evening, embarking on a week of difficult Premier League fixtures in perfect fashion. To add to Spurs’ delight, fellow top 4 contenders Arsenal and Chelsea were both beaten in their midweek fixtures. The Gunners slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea in a shock result Tuesday, while Chelsea were battered 3-0 at home by Bournemouth on Wednesday.
The United result leaves Spurs still in 5th position in the league table, though they now sit just 2 points behind Chelsea and Liverpool in 3rd/4th. Arsenal, meanwhile, stay 6th and have fallen to a full 6 points behind Spurs in the race for the Champions League places.
Fast start for Spurs, disaster for United
Things couldn’t have started any better for Spurs at Wembley, as they found themselves ahead after a mere 11 seconds. A simple long-ball routine at kick off led to a fortunate bounce in the box for Eriksen, and the Dane made no mistake from close range on his return from last week’s illness.
From there, first half proceedings only improved for Spurs. Some tidy build-up play found Kieran Trippier in space out wide on 28 minutes, and the Englishman’s cross was finished expertly into the United goal by defender Phil Jones. The unlucky own goal was a sign of things to come for United, who struggled to really get into the game at all outside of a decent spell of pressure late in the first half.
Kane made to wait for record 100th league goal
Apart from the friendly relationship between opposing managers Pochettino and Mourinho, most of the pre-match discussion centered on whether Spurs striker Harry Kane would reach a century of Premier League goals against the Red Devils. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite fall for him Wednesday night, though he put in a solid shift in support of his teammates.
With Liverpool on the horizon, though, Kane will have a great chance to break the 100 mark in his next match. His two goals in their last meeting helped Spurs run out 4-1 winners, so he does like himself a goal against the Merseysiders. Then again, I suppose Kane likes himself a goal (or two) against just about anyone, really.
Top 4 race heating up
I was pretty pessimistic heading into this match given Spurs’ recent struggles to beat less-than-impressive opponents. Not only that, but I believed that their rivals’ comparatively easier fixtures would lead to Spurs losing even more ground in the top 4 race. So, it’s a nice bonus to see things go just about the opposite direction from my expectations, with our rivals slipping up and us starting a difficult week on the right foot.
That said, this result on its own doesn’t make Spurs favorites for top four. I said prior to this game that the crunch matches would be against Liverpool and Arsenal—as these two sides are our most realistic competition for the last Champions League place. Chelsea could get dragged into that fight based on this week’s results too, however, so it truly is resembling a 3-4 horse race between the London clubs and Liverpool down the stretch.
Spurs banked some confidence Wednesday night by winning a game that, on form, they certainly weren’t expected to. Now it’s on to the next at Anfield this weekend, with both personal and team goals in mind.