Analysis and Observations: Omnipotent Vidic holds unconvincing United together
Spurs 0-0 Manchester United: Observations and analysis
Vidic: n. vi·di·c, vi·da – supernatural being, who is both perfect and omnipotent in every sense.
Nemanja Vidic stood tall and played out of his skin – not literally, but close to doing so. It was, perhaps, one of his most impressive performances for the club; and that’s saying something. Since he was give the armband at the start of the campaign, he’s almost cranked it up an extra notch, if that were at all possible. However, while Manchester United could look to Vidic as the stand-out performer, they could also reflect on, and rue, their own performance.
“It’s about winning games and keeping your nerve and today, defensively, we kept our nerve.” – Sir Alex
Spurs were excellent. It was fair to say that Tottenham were the better of the two sides – they had the better share of possession, were more penetrative, and, simply put, they created more chances. Rafael van der Vaart, at times forlorn, didn’t have the greatest of games but his movement was excellent and in the few good spells he did have, he looked dangerous and so Spurs were too.
Luka Modric was magnificent to watch and while his opposite numbers Carrick and Fletcher didn’t play particularly bad, he was well in control of the midfield. He was Spurs’ best player – although United might disagree, suggesting that Mike Dean was miles better.
Rafael learns a lesson or two. While the Brazilian is enjoying his best season yet in a United shirt, he didn’t have the greatest of games here. He could have been sent off in the first half for what was a rash challenge (awarded a yellow), and made a series of clumsy challenges. However, when he was shown red for a second bookable offence – it was harsh and was ill-received. Rafael had simply bumped into Benoît Assou-Ekotto. It was a vital lesson for the inexperienced full back. Discipline is key in football.
Tottenham 59% – Man Utd 41%
Attempts on target
Tottenham 6 – Man Utd 4
Attempts off target
Tottenham 10 – Man Utd 3
Tottenham 8 – Man Utd 2
Rooney thrives, Berbatov doesn’t. I recently discussed that the reversal of roles between Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney which sees the Bulgarian playing higher up with Rooney as second striker has been somewhat successful this season for United, but the 14-goal Berbatov struggled at the Lane playing behind the striker. Lining up with a 4-4-1-1 system, Rooney was impressive in the more advanced position – forcing three saves out of Heurelho Gomes. Berbatov, on the other hand, was quiet and failed to muster a single shot in the whole game. He is allowed a few bad games, though, in what has been an excellent season so far.