Tottenham Hotspur are better than the team that got demolished by Manchester City, they're better at White Hart Lane than anywhere else and Andre Villas-Boas was not actually a bad result away from getting the sack. These are things that most Spurs supporters knew before Sunday, but everyone will be much more secure in their beliefs after their team earned a very respectable 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Villas-Boas changed up his tactics, perhaps learning something from his naive approach at Eastlands. He picked a midfield three of Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Sandro, but Spurs lined up in what looked more like a 4-4-1-1 than the expected 4-3-3, with Paulinho playing behind Roberto Soldado and the two wingers staying wide. It worked, but a couple of easily avoidable errors gifted United a point that they should have needed to work harder for.
Kyle Walker got Tottenham off to a brilliant start with his third career free kick goal in the 18th minute. Paulinho drew it for him, baiting Jonny Evans into hacking at his legs just outside the penalty area. Having apparently read whatever scouting report was prepared for him, Walker hit a drive under the jumping wall, beating David De Gea in the process.
Unfortunately for Spurs, Walker gave away the lead for his team as quickly as he earned it. In the first of two instances in which an equalizer would be gifted to Wayne Rooney, Walker misplayed a cross by Phil Jones, directing it right into Rooney's path for him to finish in the 32nd minute. The goal came just two minutes after Soldado skied a great chance from inside the box, set up by Paulinho with a brilliant through ball.
Spurs looked in control early in the first half, but it was unclear where any potential breakthrough was going to come from until Sandro scored his first goal for Spurs in over a year, and arguably the best goal he's scored so far in his professional career. He toyed with Tom Cleverley outside the box, cutting back twice to force the United man to slip, giving him enough space to rip off a 25-yard bullet that beat De Gea to the top corner at the far post. After 54 minutes, Spurs had the lead again.
Less than two minutes later, United were given their equalizer, with Hugo Lloris making the error on that occasion. Danny Welbeck had gotten in behind Vlad Chiriches and was barreling down on goal when Lloris decided to make an aggressive lunge for the ball. Welbeck touched the ball away from Lloris, who caught his trailing leg, and Mike Dean 's decision to give a penalty was an easy one. Rooney stepped up and buried it, capping off the scoring for the day.
Both teams had dangerous looking half-chances in the final half hour, but never forced De Gea or Lloris to make any kind of sensational save. More likely than not, Spurs and United will both see a 2-2 draw as a fair result.
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