Tottenham Hotspur are up to sixth place, just two points out of the top four and three ahead of their Wednesday opponents, Manchester United. Spurs had to endure a scary finish, but found a way to hold on to the lead they build, defeating United 2-1.
The Red Devils were in control early, with Spurs struggling to get a hold of the ball. A couple of crazy clearances from Hugo Lloris and some more sane but similarly effective defending from Michael Dawson helped Spurs to survive the initial storm until the midfield found their footing. Things began to turn around in the 14th minute, when Roberto Soldado found Aaron Lennon in the box for a big chance, though David De Gea came up with an excellent save to deny Spurs.
That led to a fairly even spell of play until the 34th minute, when Emmanuel Adebayor fired Spurs in front. Soldado set up the chance again with another through ball down the right flank, this time finding Christian Eriksen. He created space for himself with Nemanja Vidic in his face and crossed for Adebayor, who rose up above Chris Smalling to head in at the far post.
Both teams made major substitutions around the hour mark that changed the state of the game considerably. Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez came on for United, replacing Michael Carrick and Chris Smalling. Those moves pushed Antonio Valencia to right back and Wayne Rooney to midfield, changes that would ultimately prove decisive. Tim Sherwood countered by making a sub that looked to have more to do with fitness, bringing on Nabil Bentaleb for Etienne Capoue.
Valencia looked very much like a winger filling in at right back on Spurs' second goal, scored by Eriksen in an uncharacteristic manner. Lennon set it up with a cross that took a big deflection, fortunately falling into the path of Eriksen, who headed in after Valencia failed to track his run.
Just as soon as Spurs looked very much in control of the match, everything turned United's way in a flash. Just a minute after Eriksen's goal, the hosts hit back, with Adnan Januzaj picking out Danny Welbeck with a diagonal ball. He beat Vlad Chiriches for pace, then finished calmly to bring United back within a goal. Adebayor was injured on the play and had to exit on a stretcher, with Nacer Chadli replacing him.
In need of a goal and with an extremely attack-minded team on the pitch, United camped in Spurs' half for the remainder of the game and did an excellent job to snuff out most counters. There were some decent spells for Spurs that ran through substitute Harry Kane, but they were merely pressure-relieving moments, not genuine attacks.
The final minutes were all United and featured numerous blocks off the line on set pieces and clearances by Lloris, but Spurs defended well enough that Lloris was never forced into a truly difficult save from open play in the final minutes as they held on for a massive win.