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Spurs 0 – Manchester United 0

December 13, 2008

Christiano Ronaldo takes a free kick against Tottenham on December 13, 2008.

The focus before the much awaited clash with Manchester United was on Spurs’ fans potential abuse of ex-striker Dimitar Berbatov. That proved to not be too much of an issue, however, as Berbatov looked thoroughly unthrilling throughout Saturday’s clash.

Instead, the story of the game has to be the superb play of Tottenham keeper Huerelho Gomes, who saved the day for the London-based club on at least four separate occasions including a wonderful save off of a Ryan Giggs free kick late in the game that was, of course, named the “Brilliant Play of the Match.” The performance of Gomes, who has finally come good in recent weeks by keeping clean sheets in four of Spurs’ last five matches, seems to make transfer rumors concerning potential targets such as Carlos Kameni and Robert Green moot.

Without Gomes, there is no doubt that Tottenham would have dropped a point and allowed United to creep ever closer towards the top of the table today. With Gomes, Spurs passed Manchester City (who lost 1-0 to Everton on a late Tim Cahill strike) for sole possession of 14th place in the Premier League, three points clear of the drop zone and three points from ninth place Wigan.

In other notes from the game, Jonathan Woodgate left in the 11th minute with an apparent back problem. Spurs fans can only hope that the central defender isn’t out for particularly long, if at all, with this injury, as Woodgate as proven to be a vital cog in the Tottenham defense.

Luka Modric continued to adapt to play in the Prem, as the diminutive midfielder had another excellent game, continue his run of good form under Harry Redknapp. Modric had two excellent chances to score, one on a strike and another on a header which he just mishit. When the Croatian is in the lineup, the offense seems to have a little more life, but Modric hasn’t yet scored a goal in a Tottenham uniform, which will be a knock on him until he does.

Aaron Lennon continued his string of impressive performances, beating defender Rafael for fouls on two separate occasions and later for a red card. Lennon even managed to have a few good passes and a cross today, further continuing his evolution into a (potentially) star player.

Tottenham’s strikers proved borderline incompetent again today, as Roman Pavlyuchenko stood like a tree before he was substituted out for Darren Bent who simply failed to make any impact on the game. Harry Redknapp definitely needs to look into bringing in a couple of strikers in the transfer window, as Bent and Pavlyuchenko put up numbers, but seem to disappear more often than they have a positive impact on the game.

The glaring negative from today’s game is the 14 corners that Spurs’ defense conceded, a ridiculously high amount. (United only gave up 4.) Tottenham’s defense clearly missed Ledley King and (after the 11th minute) Woodgate, but performed pretty well considering that Vedran Corluka was moved into central defense and Didier Zokora was dropped to an outside defending role.

With that taken into consideration, it’s rather impressive that Manchester didn’t score, particularly because they had Berbatov, Carlos Tevez and the ever-annoying Christiano Ronaldo playing for a good portion of the game.

Of course, that just means that more credit has to go to none other than Gomes for standing tall in goal and preserving the point for Spurs.

Up Tottenham!

Originally posted at White Hart Lunatic

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