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Ratings: Mkhitaryan, Herrera, Rojo and Jones shone against Spurs

Manchester United finally earned a win against Tottenham Hotspur with a fantastic performance that undoubtedly deserved the three points. Tottenham, very much up for the challenge at Old Trafford, pressed with intent and made a couple of excellent plays, but superlative performances from United’s central defenders, combined with a greater attacking impetus, allowed United to come away with a vital win. Sitting just six points behind Manchester City in fourth, now, United has the chance to turn the Premier League upside down over this Christmas period, and with the Europa League Group Stages ending, United can place an extended focus on the Premier League.

Ander Herrera and Henrikh Mkhitaryan did well to create United’s only goal, with the Spaniard’s majestic pass finding the Armenian’s inch-perfect run and his finish matching the calibre of the play. Otherwise, though, United struggled to beat Hugo Lloris once again, as the goalkeeper was in spectacular form. If United is to profit more for their incredible performances, chances need to be buried and games need to be killed by the half, or else there will be an overexertion of effort and United will fatigue quickly, earning fewer points in the process. One thing is for sure, though, top four is not distant anymore, with the fading form of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Goals: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 29′

Assists: Ander Herrera 29′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera (Fellaini 90+6′); Mkhitaryan (Bailly 84′), Pogba, Martial (Rashford 71′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind; Mata; Rooney

Bookings: Antonio Valencia 32′, Paul Pogba 63′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 75′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a couple of solid saves, particularly from free kicks. Looked value for his clean sheet.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Struggled a lot to be as progressive as usual, and was found backpedaling to deal with the threats of Son and Eriksen, but ultimately didn’t fade.

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4 Phil Jones

Solid effort from Jones, who combined stability with a few excellent moments at the end of the match.

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5 Marcos Rojo

Rojo looks a different player, using his aggression to his advantage and commanding the back line with ease. This partnership needs to stay until it is broken.

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36 Matteo Darmian

Struggled with the threat of Sissoko in the second half, but dealt well from a technical perspective.

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16 Michael Carrick

Looked calm and composed against his former team, putting the pieces together and producing a vintage performance.

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21 Ander Herrera

As far as I’m concerned, best player on the pitch. He worked harder, showed more finesse, defending with grit and passion, and creating Mkhitaryan’s goal with an outstanding pass. Replaced by Fellaini.

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22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Scored an excellent goal and running at pace, but was horribly injured and stretchered off. Replaced by Bailly.

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6 Paul Pogba

Deserved a goal after he was denied from two outstanding efforts, the first a free kick smashing the bar, and the second a driving effort that forced an outstanding save from Lloris.

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11 Anthony Martial

Played well and showed excellent intent, but it didn’t quite pay off. Deserves to keep his place in the team because he is United’s best pace outlet. Replaced by Rashford.

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9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Played well, looked solid in build-up play and created a couple of very big chances for teammates.

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Substitutes

19 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Martial. Looked poor, losing the ball and hurting United on the counter.

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3 Eric Bailly

Replaced Mkhitaryan. Got stuck in, but didn’t have enough time to make an influence.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Herrera. Phew.

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