Alexis Sanchez’s league debut ended in defeat as the third-fastest goal in Premier League history from Christian Eriksen set Tottenham on their way to a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley.
Eriksen’s strike was timed at under 11 seconds – the first goal United had conceded for over 600 minutes of Premier League football – stunning the visitors, before Phil Jones put through his own net in the 28th minute to send the hosts on course for only a second win from six against top-six opposition this season.
United had plenty of chances of their own, but they left themselves far too open at the back. Jose Mourinho’s frustrating evening got worse in the second half, as he had to withdraw Marouane Fellaini just seven minutes after the Belgium international came on as a substitute.
A record Premier League attendance of 81,978 witnessed a defeat that leaves United with a mountain to climb if they are to catch rivals Manchester City at the top, with the gap now 15 points. The three points sees Spurs close the gap on Liverpool and Chelsea in third and fourth respectively to two points, ahead of Spurs’ trip to Anfield on Sunday.
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Trippier (7), Vertonghen (7), Sanchez (9), Davies (7), Dier (7), Dembele (7), Alli (7), Eriksen (9), Son (8), Kane (7).
Subs: Lamela (6), Wanyama (N/A), Sissoko (6).
Away Team: De Gea (6), Jones (3), Smalling (4), Young (4), Valencia (6), Matic (4), Pogba (5), Martial (5), Lingard (6), Sanchez (5), Lukaku (5).
Subs: Mata (5), Herrera (5), Fellaini (N/A).
Man of the match: Christian Eriksen
Wembley was still filling up as Eriksen caught United napping. Harry Kane knocked a long ball down, Heung-Min Son’s effort was blocked, but Eriksen was on hand to sweep home the loose ball to leave United’s defenders looking at each other in disbelief.
United responded well with Jesse Lingard denied by a fine block from Hugo Lloris, before Martial fired over after showing great feet to sneak into the penalty area.
For all United’s attacking threat, at the back, they were carved open time and again by Spurs. Firstly, Kane, closing in on a 100th Premier League goal for Spurs, was denied by a smart David de Gea stop, before Spurs doubled their lead.
Alexis Sanchez made his Premier League debut for United, and my word, what an attacking side the Chile international was part of! United went with a front four of Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Sanchez – away from home! Sanchez for Juan Mata was the only change from the side who beat Burnley in United’s last league outing. Two changes for Spurs from their draw against Southampton ten days ago, with Moussa Sissoko and Serge Aurier replaced by Kieran Trippier and Christian Eriksen.
Trippier fired the low cross in the direction of Kane, Jones got their first, but couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough, diverting the ball past De Gea into his own net. That was the third own goal Spurs have benefited from in the Premier League this season – more than any other club.
Again United responded well, with Martial almost immediately denied by Lloris, but they remained vulnerable at the back for the rest of the half, with Eric Dier and Kane going close to adding to the scoreline.
After the break, United continued to press. Pogba lofted a fine pass over the top for Lukaku, who used his strength before being denied by a smart Lloris stop.
Then came the strange turn of events, as Fellaini came on for Pogba, only to be withdrawn seven minutes later. Fellaini jogged off, without showing any obvious sign of injury, but seemed to be consoled by Mourinho as he left the pitch.
Kane’s quest for that record goal rumbles on, as he twice went close late on. In the end, Tottenham didn’t need their talisman to find his scoring touch, with one of their best team performances of the season yielding a much-needed three points.
Eriksen’s strike was his 50th in all competitions for Spurs since joining in 2013 – second only to Harry Kane at the club in that time (128).
Tottenham have won three successive home league games against Manchester United for the first time since September 1966.
Kane had eight shots (including blocked), two more than the entire Man Utd team. Only twice in his Premier League career has he had more shots in a game without scoring (10 vs Burnley in August and Brighton in December).
Romelu Lukaku has netted just 15 goals in 63 Premier League appearances against the “Big Six” (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur) compared to 81 in 147 against non-big six sides.
Man of the match – Christian Eriksen
Back to his very best, Eriksen had United’s defence in the palm of his hand at Wembley, and the visitors just couldn’t handle him. Eriksen put in eight crosses, two less than United managed as a team, while providing six key passes. The weight of his through balls were exquisite, and deserved to be finished off. If Kane had brought his shooting boots, Eriksen would easily have racked up three assists.