Report: Anthony Martial scores late to send Spurs packing with Old Trafford fear factor returning

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was United who started the game well, having two chances in the first 15 minutes or so. Spurs eventually got themselves into the game, having some chances of their own but not doing any damage.

It was an 81st-minute goal from Anthony Martial, assisted by Romelu Lukaku, who could have scored a few himself, which won the three points for United, extending Spurs record at Old Trafford with them not winning here in four seasons now. United will now move on to get ready for Benfica on Tuesday, then their match with Chelsea next Sunday.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the team which beat Swansea City 2-0 on Tuesday with David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford all returning to the starting XI. It was a bright start from United with Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku starting well, the Belgian getting into the box, passing to Rashford, who could have scored but Hugo Lloris was there to make the save.

United had come out of the blocks running since the start of the match, pressuring Spurs and creating chances. In the ninth minute, Lukaku and Rashford were again knocking on the door, this time Rashford passing to Lukaku into the box, the Belgian then either trying to score or loft the ball higher into the box, the chance heading over to the other flank with Spurs regaining possession.

United won a free-kick in the 12th minute, Rashford taking it, forcing Lloris into making a save. Spurs then went into a period of possession, keeping the ball in United’s half for a short spell, aiming to create a chance which could see them go ahead in the match, United doing what was needed to thwart that from happening.

Twenty minutes into the match, Spurs tried to threaten United’s goal through Moussa Sissoko, but his long-range effort was coolly picked up by De Gea. Spurs won a corner after Chris Smalling made a block, sending the ball out of play. Christian Eriksen took the resulting corner, United clearing the danger, winning possession and breaking forward with Spurs nipping the attack in the bud.

Spurs could have capitalised from a defensive error by Jones after some miscommunication between him and De Gea saw Spurs given the advantage with Sissoko getting the ball and slicing his effort, albeit off target, from the edge of United’s box. United recovered from the miscommunication, not that they needed to after that attempt.

United regained their composure and started breaking against Spurs again in the latter stages of the first half but nothing was going their way. Spurs seemed to be a split of lucky and clinical at times with their tackles and clearances, stopping United from getting any advantage with five minutes of the first half remaining.

Spurs had a shot on goal through Eric Dier, whose looping effort was easily saved by De Gea. One minute was added to the end of the first half with Rashford taking a United free-kick in Spurs’ final third but the delivery was not all that great. United then won a throw-in which Rashford took. United kept the ball in the Spurs half as Jon Moss blew the whistle with the score still 0-0.

Six minutes into the start of the second half, United could have gone ahead with Ashley Young running on the left flank, and Marcus Rashford running into the box. Young hit a low cross into the box but Rashford could not get onto the ball with Lloris getting the ball and Rashford being marked by his man.

United had another chance moments later with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the ball, doing a turn in the box to keep the ball then striking towards goal with Rashford on the prowl. Ben Davies saved Lloris from conceding a goal. Seconds later, United were there again, with Lukaku in the box, the ball played to him, the Belgian unable to find the back of the net. United were starting to gather momentum.

Just before the hour, Rashford was on the ball battling with Dier to break forward, forcing the Spurs midfielder come defender to give United a corner, which came to nothing, United then won another, it pressuring Spurs in the box, but United were unable to find the breakthrough in this game, so far at least.

In the 61st minute of the match, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino made a double substitution with Fernando Llorente replacing Hueng-Min Son and Moussa Dembele replacing Sissoko.

After the Sours changes, United were still banging on the door, winning a series of corners before Antonio Valencia had a stunning strike, which just grazed the crossbar. Mourinho then made his first change with Jesse Lingard replacing Mkhitaryan.

Spurs had the chance to get something from the game with Serge Aurier thundering forward, but before he could shoot, United dispossessed him, pushing forward again in their own attempt to win this match. In the 70th minute, Mourinho made his second change with Anthony Martial coming on for Rashford.

United had a glimpse of the goal with Martial and Lukaku going forward, the Belgian unable to find the back of the net. Valencia regained possession of the ball, tried to create something with Nemanja Matic helping too, then Valencia running into the box, seemingly fouled by Dembele and shown the yellow card for a dive by Jon Moss.

In the final 12 minutes of the match Spurs nearly found what could have been the winner with Dele Alli pouncing on the ball from Eriksen in front of De Gea but missing the target. Minutes later, Lukaku hit the post from a header for United – chances being missed at both ends.

United broke the deadlock in the 81st minute with Anthony Martial finding the back of the net. De Gea started the attack with a free-kick which was won by Lukaku. Dier then allowed Martial to get behind him, through on goal with the Frenchman slotting past Lloris. United just needed to keep Spurs at bay, keep hold of the ball and see this game out. The media will probably say it was a smash and grab!

At the end of the match, three minutes of added time were played just after Lingard had the chance to seal the win for United, breaking through with the ball with Eriksen chasing him, lofting his shot well over the target. Mourinho made his final change in stoppage time with Matteo Darmian replacing Young.

United won the match 1-0, closing the gap on Manchester City to just two points with City yet to play this afternoon. United are now three points ahead of third-placed Spurs with Benfica next up for United in the UEFA Champions League and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League next Sunday before the final international break of the year.

Goals: Anthony Martial 81′

Assists: Romelu Lukaku 81′

Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Jones; Valencia, Matic, Herrera, Young (Darmian 90+3′); Mkhitaryan (Lingard 65′), Rashford (Martial 70′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind; Mata, McTominay

Bookings: Antonio Valencia 74′

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