SUNDAY 14th MAY, 2017
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) MANCHESTER UNITED 1(0)
Man Utd scorer:-
Attendance:- 31, 848
Referee:- Jon Moss
Assistants:- E. Smart & A. Halliday
Fourth official:- L. Mason
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier (sub Walker, 83), Alderweirld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Wanyama; Eriksen (sub Nkoudou, 90+2), Alli, Son (sub Dembele, 72); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer; Sissoko; Janssen
Booked:- Wanyama (foul on Martial)
Man Utd (4-2-3-1):- De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Jones, Blind; Carrick, Rooney (Capt.); Lingard (sub Mkhitaryan, 61), Mata (sub Rashford, 79), Tuanzebe (sub Herrera, 61); Martial
Subs not used:- Romero; Michell, Darmian, McTominay
Booked:- Rooney (foul on Eriksen), Bailly (foul on Alli)
Football came second at The Lane today, and so have Spurs!
On the pitch Spurs achieved their one remaining footballing objective for the season (to finish runners-up to Chelsea) by beating Jose Mourinho's Manchester United, thanks to fine goals by Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane. After the game, following what was essentially a good natured pitch invasion, Spurs gave their 118 year old home as fine a send off as you could wish for. There was a film introduced by "Spurs fan" Sir Kenneth Branagh, before a parade of many playing legends from the Double season onward. A choir, band and tenor gave us a haunting, then rousing rendition of "Mine eyes have seen the Glory", and "Glory, Glory Allejuhah" to ensure there was hardly a dry eye in the house. I certainly shed a tear or two today. It was emotional.
The stadium and surrounding area had been decorated for "The Finale", and the sun shone brightly, at least until the post-match parade, when their was some considerable rainfall, and those on parade were issued with transparent brollies.
Once again Kieran Trippier got the nod at right back, but his was the only change from the team which had started at The London Stadium 9 days ago. With his eyes clearly on the prize of The Europa League, and hampered by enforced absences through injury and suspension, Jose Mourinho's choice was somewhat limited. Wayne Rooney skippered the side from a defensive position beside former Spur Michael Carrick. 19 year old Axel Tuanzebe played left side midfield with Lingard, Mata and Martial ahead of Rooney and Carrick.
Flags were waiting for Spurs fans when they reached their seats, and these were waved with gusto at the start of the game in a magnificent atmosphere.
The Man Utd fans tried to take the stage with songs such as "Have you ever seen Tottrnham win the league" but the home fans regaled them with a full repertoire during the game lauding past and present players and indeed managers such as Martin Jol. The atmosphere was enhanced by an early goal (sixth minute) which followed a corner on the left taken by Erksen, and a superb cross by Ben Davies, which was planted firmly past De Gea by the head of Wanyama, in front of the Park Lane crowd.
United responded immediately with a cross from the left by Daley Blind, which was headed over by Mata at the near post. A lot of the early play took place in the middle, where United sought to pack the territory. Jan Vertonghen had a run interrupted and when United responded it was Martial who hit a firm cross/shot across the goalmouth.
Son battled his way into the United area on the left side, getting a shot on target which De Gea saved. Eriksen followed up but hit his effort wide from outside the area. Harry Kane got the better of England colleague Phil Jones in the box on the right-hand side, but another England man - Chris Smalling - did manage to clear for a corner. After the corner, Trippier then Eriksen provided the cross from which Kane's header hit the top of the bar.
Eriksen and Kane operated from the right and tried to put in Dele Alli, but De Gea was first to the ball. Dele did have a shot on target after more good work by Trippier and Kane, who held the ball up for Dele, but De Gea saved at the expense of a corner. Just before half-time, Eriksen passed the ball from the centre to Kane on his right, but again De Gea was equal to the attempt on goal.
The half-time entertainment included an interview with the injury Harry Winks, and Spurs Cup Final songsters Chas and Dave.
Two minutes after the interval, Dele Alli broke up a midfield play and broke forward down the left channel, drawing a foul. Erksen took the free kick, which was whipped in and flicked past De Gea by Harry Kane for his 22nd Premier League goal of the season. Son also had a shot saved by the busy United goalkeeper a couple of minutes later, with Eriksen again the provider. Eriksen and Son combined to give Kane another chance, but this one went wide.
Son won a corner on the right with a shot, but Wanyama scooped his attempt over the bar. United had an attack through Bailly down the right side, with Lingard and Martial exchanging passes before Lingard's effort failed.
Now Mourinho made a double substitution with Herrera and Mkhitaryan replacing Tuanzebe and Lingard. After a Spurs attack broke down Martial attacked the Spurs goal from the left side but his right footed shot was wide. In the 71st minute, Martial attacked the same flank and his cross was converted at close range by Rooney.
Son was replaced by Dembele and shortly after that Kieran Trippier needed treatment and had to be replaced by Kyle Walker. There were half chances at each end. One for Dele Alli, which was blocked, and another for United substitute Marcus Rashford, who managed to get a shot in despite the attentions of Alderweireld and Vertonghen. The ball ran to Lloris.
In truth, the game itself rarely had the adrenalin pumping. The result means that Mourinho's side cannot finish in the top four now, so he must go all out for a Europa League win to gain access to The Champions League where Spurs will of course play next season. Spurs have also completed a complete season of home games at White Hart Lane unbeaten for the first time since 1964-65, and they have equalled their previous record of 14 consecutive home league wins in one season.
There was always going to be a delay at the end of the game, but the pitch invasion took a while to clear before the post match ceremony could begin. It was worth waiting for as the parade included three branches of the Allen family (Les, Paul and Clive), Terry Dyson, Terry Medwin, Cliff Jones (who ran onto the pitch!), and stars from each decade since such as Gilzean, Beal, England, Kinnnear, Robertson, Naylor, Chivers, Falco, Ardiles, Villa, Hoddle, Roberts, Hazard, Mabbutt, Waddle, Sheringham, Keane, Berbatov, Ginola, King, and of course the current team. I have quite probably omitted some names, but I am old enough to have seen them all play.
Many of the players recorded the scenes on their cameras, and by this time the flags were being waved again, and the cheers for all the players were great, with special receptions for too many to mention. It certainly was a brilliant closure of this White Hart Lane era. A beautiful rainbow appeared over the stadium, as if to indicate firm approval for The Lane from a higher place. You might find a picture of Bill Nicholson superimposed on such a picture elsewhere on the internet.
Two away games remain for us next week. Firstly, we will visit Leicester, before our last day game at Hull whose relegation was today confirmed in a 4-0 defeat at Selhurst Park.
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