Manchester United made it nine games without defeat after rounding off the 2014 calendar year with a goalless draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
With both sides playing open, attacking football, the best chances fell to Louis van Gaal’s team but some rare lapses in finishing and an excellent display by the hosts’ goalkeeper Hugo Lloris led to the game ending in stalemate.
Van Gaal named an unchanged side to the one that defeated Newcastle United 3-1 at home on Boxing Day, making it the first time since November 2012 that the Reds’ line-up remained the same in consecutive matches. It also meant a second start in as many games for Radamel Falcao who seems to have proven his match fitness to the manager, whilst the only alteration on the bench had Luke Shaw putting himself in contention for a first appearance since November after overcoming ankle ligament damage. Tottenham made three changes as Mauricio Pochettino looked to rotate his players. In-form Harry Kane kept his place in the starting line-up as he looked to continue his fine run of form with 15 goals in all competitions this season.
The game took twenty minutes before really sparking into life, with excellent work by Juan Mata on the edge of the box releasing Falcao for a tame shot, followed by two excellent pieces of play by Tottenham and England winger Andros Townsend. The latter wriggled free from his markers both times, to firstly find the grateful arms of David De Gea with a pass before a left-footed shot from the edge of the area was parried by the in-form Spanish goalkeeper. Moments later a blatant push on Robin van Persie gifted a free-kick to United in a central location, but after Juan Mata’s curled shot was deflected onto the post it was Vlad Chriches who reacted first before the Reds’ no.20 could knock home the rebound.
A series of chances fell to United in the last ten minutes of the half. Falcao could have scored as he latched on to a