In what was a heavyweight Premier League affair on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United and Tottenham played out a thrilling 2-2 stalemate at Old Trafford.
With Erik ten Hag’s side opening the scoring after just three minutes as Rasmus Hojlund powered home his second Premier League strike of the season, United knew the importance of claiming maximum points on home soil.
However, pegged back midway through the first half as Brazilian ace Richarlison glanced home, both sides had an abidance of early chances.
While England international Marcus Rashford might have handed United a slender 2-1 lead heading into the interval, Rodrigo Bentancur wiped out their advantage a minute after the restart with a blistering effort.
While Ange Postecoglou’s side might find just their goal difference keeping them behind Arsenal and breaking back into the Champions League places, Manchester United are seeking a real miracle in 2024.
Still sat eight points adrift of finding a route back into the Champions League spots, ten Hag’s side are now tipped as a landslide contender in the top-four chase.
On a Sunday afternoon that saw chances come thick and fast, we have taken a look at the key talking points from Old Trafford.
A point wasn’t enough for United
Although ten Hag might take plenty of positives away from Sunday’s thrilling 2-2 draw, Manchester United fans will know that a single point was not enough.
With their return to Old Trafford rightfully tipped as a must-win showdown for the former Premier League champions, they are still seeking a minor miracle in their bid to punch a crucial top-four finish come May.
With continued speculation over ten Hag’s long-term future, the former Ajax boss will certainly have a real headache over his side’s continued issues at the back.
Although the Reds might have extended on their FA Cup adventure last week as they secured a 2-0 victory away at League One outfit Wigan, Manchester United have recorded just a single clean sheet against top-flight opposition since back on November 26th.
Ending Sunday’s showdown sat eight points adrift of breaking back into the Champions League spots, ten Hag’s downbeat squad have also recorded just a trio of wins from any of their last eight appearances at Old Trafford.
Tottenham still seeking some stability on the road
Only continuing to shine since they welcomed Postecoglou to north London over the summer, Tottenham certainly have a Champions League return at the top of their agenda in 2024.
Gaining a reputation for their free-flowing performances in the final third, Spurs will undeniably feel that they done more than enough to earn a point from Sunday’s trip to Manchester.
However, although the Lilywhites might find just their goal difference keeping them behind bitter local rivals Arsenal, the former Celtic boss will have a mild headache over his side’s inconsistencies outside of the capital.
Signing off 2023 with an action-packed 4-2 loss at the hands of Brighton, Tottenham have won just one of their last five showdowns on the road – a run that stems back to October 27th.
Nevertheless, causing United’s leaky defence a string of issues on Sunday afternoon and with the mood in their camp at a real high, Spurs should take some real positives away from Old Trafford.
Richarlison continues to make an impact
With attacking talisman and skipper Son Heung-Min away with South Korea featuring at this month’s Asia Cup, many fans around the white half of north London were rightfully worrying who would be their key source of goals.
However, although Richarlison might have initially endured a nightmare start to life with Spurs after completing a £60million move from Everton in the summer of 2022, the Brazilian international is enjoying a real purple patch.
While fellow attacking ace Dejan Kulusevski might have been ruled out prior to kick off after struggling with an illness, Richarlison certainly relished his role as Tottenham’s leading man here.
Producing a smart flicked header to drag Spurs level in the first half, the one-time Watford starlet has now bagged six goals in his previous seven appearances across all competitions.
Enjoying by far his most fruitful spell in north London and with Son not expected to return to Premier League duties over the next few weeks, Postecoglou couldn’t be more thrilled by Richarlison’s timely flurry.
Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Dalot, Eriksen, Mainoo, Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund
Subs: Antony, Martinez, McTominay
Tottenham: Vicario, Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Udogie, Hojburg, Bentancur, Skipp, Johnson, Richarlison, Werner
Subs: Dragusin, Emerson Royal, Gil
Goals: Manchester United: Hojlund (3’), Rahsford (40’) – Tottenham: Richarlison (19’), Bentancur (46’)
Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Wan-Bissaka, Rashford – Tottenham: Bentancur
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Johnathon Brooks