Manchester United v Tottenham: Premier League – live | Premier League

Key events

HALF-TIME! Man United 2-1 Spurs

Manchester United have only one league game this month, but what a game it is. We’ve had about three weekends’ worth of action already. United took the lead in the third minute through the new, improved Rasmus Hojlund, who slammed the ball into the top bin as if he’d never struggled to get used to the Premier League. Spurs took hold of midfield, won a lot of corners and scored from one of them via Richarlison’s deft header. United then found a riposte against the run of play, as Marcus Rashford scored the sort of goal he used to reel off last season, a crisp pass into the far corner.

So United lead at half-time at home for the first time in the league this season. Can they hang on? Who knows?

45+2 min Chance! Romero gets his head to the corner, hurls himself at it and hits the bar. Then there’s a shot from someone else, not far wide. And there’s even time for a bit of argy-bargy at the other end between Romero and Hojlund, who collects a cheap yellow.

45+2 min And now a Spurs corner! It would be right on-brand for United to concede again now.

45+1 min United win a corner on the left, making it 5-4 to them on that score. The ball ends up near the D with Fernandes, whose shot is into Row X.

45 min There will be three added minutes.

44 min Chance! For Rashford, who makes the wrong decision this time, cutting back onto his right foot when he surely should have blasted it with his left. Chance at the other end! For Werner, who does use his left foot, but screws his shot wide.

43 min United have had two shots on target and they’ve both ended up in the net. Spurs have had four, three of them tame.

42 min That goal was against the run of play.

It’s official – Rashford is back in form. He stormed the box, played a one-two with Hojlund, did well to shake off two or three defenders, and slotted calmly into the far corner.

GOAL! Man United 2-1 Spurs (Rashford 40)

Back in front!

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, right, scores his side’s second goal. Photograph: Dave Thompson/AP

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United hit the post!

39 min Or rather Spurs hit their own post. Udogie tries to head out for a corner and nearly gets an own goal.

37 min Erik ten Hag has spotted the problem in midfield: he sends Casemiro out to warm up. The home fans, delighted to see him again after four months, chant his name.

35 min It’s still end to end, with Hojlund pressing hard and slipping in Fernandes, who can’t get a shot away. If you’re anywhere near a pub, you may want to drop round there for the second half.

32 min The home crowd wants a penalty as Garnacho goes down in the area, but Gary Neville its having none of it and more importantly neither is John Brooks.

“In the picture of Hojlund scoring the first goal,” says Adrian Godman, “it looks like his head has been (badly) photoshopped onto someone else’s body. Maybe that’s why he was able to score – it wasn’t him?” Harsh but funny.

29 min That Spurs midfield gang up on Jonny Evans and work the ball to Johnson, whose shot is easily saved by Onana. United hit back as Rashford hares down the left, but his cross is also an easy take for the goalie. United win a corner to make it 4-4 on that front.

27 min Spurs are winning the midfield battle and Gary Neville has worked out why. “They’ve got three players in there, Skipp, Hojbjerg and Bentancur, and Udogie dropping in as well.” Mainoo is going to have his work cut out.

25 min It’s 1-1 on goals and now it’s 1-1 on cards too, as Bentancur sees yellow for kicking the ball away.

23 min Another shot from Werner, another miscue. Then Aaron Wan-Bissaka goes in for a sliding tackle on Brennan Johnson and slides all the way into the book, much to the crowd’s displeasure.

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22 min Spurs have the ball now, but Werner’s shot is into Row Z. The goal was Richarlison’s sixth in short order and it means that Spurs have scored in 33 league games running, a new club record.

That was a team effort. Richarlison lined up in a sandwich between Van de Ven and someone else, they all went up for the corner and it was the peroxide head of Richarlison that got a neat deflection into the far corner. Spurs had earned it.

GOAL! Man United 1-1 Spurs (Richarlison 19)

Yet another corner, and this time it does the trick.

Tottenham Hotspur's Richarlison scores their first goal past Manchester United's Andre Onana.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Richarlison scores their first goal past Manchester United’s Andre Onana. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

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16 min United’s forward line are suddenly playing with more confidence, as Gary Neville notes. “Rashford at his best,” he says, “going past Porro as if he’s not there.” This brings yet another corner, which turns out to be yet another non-event.

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15 min From a United corner, Spurs threaten to break, but the danger is calmly extinguished by Kobbie Mainoo. He’s such an old head on young shoulders.

13 min Yet another corner for Spurs, scrappily cleared. In the knights’ box, Sir Alex makes a point to Sir Jim. Even when you’re a legend, you want to get in with the new boss.

11 min Close! Timo Werner goes just wide with a header from Brennan Johnson’s elegant chip. It may take a deflection as a corner is given. Close again! Bentancur gets his head to the corner and Dalot has to head off the line. It’s all happening.

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9 min Fernandes again hunts down Vicario, whose hasty clearance is intercepted. Straight down the other end, where Porro has a shot saved by Onana. This could finish 4-4.

8 min Close! Rashford with a volley from the corner. He guides it nicely but just wide.

7 min United counter again, and Garnacho and Dalot combine well to win a corner on the right.

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5 min So United have scored in the firtstv half, at home, in the league, for the third time all season. But now Spurs have the ball. Richarlison wins a corner which comes to nothing.

It was a counter, started by Onana, made by Fernandes, whose first-time ball found Rashford racing through. His shot was blocked, but it fell kindly for Rasmus Hojlund, who blasted the ball into the top left.

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GOAL!!! United 1-0 Spurs (Hojlund 3)

Didn’t see that coming.

Manchester United's Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund (R) shoots to score.
Manchester United’s Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund (R) shoots to score. Photograph: Darren Staples/AFP/Getty Images

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3 min The first foul is committed by Fernandes. Does he accept the ref’s decision calmly? Have a guess.

1 min And they’re off! With Spurs going back to Vicario and Bruno Fernandes pressing him hard. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is on the left for United, Diogo Dalot the right, rather than the other way round.

The teams come out, with Marcus Rashford bringing up the rear for United. He has gone some of the way back to form since Christmas with an assist and a fine performance against Villa, a goal at Forest, and an assist at Wigan, plus the pass that enabled Bruno Fernandes to win a penalty. Rashford should find some space today behind Pedro Porro – but he may have to track back more than usual, because Porro is a goal threat too.

Jim Ratcliffe was also asked to name his all-time favourite United players. He went with Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona, which casts him in a better light than his views on Brexit. As the cameras find him now, he is listening to a story told by Sir Alex Ferguson and roaring with laughter.

INEOS Sport CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe speaks to Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands.
INEOS Sport CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe speaks to Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

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Today’s other game has finished goalless. Everton had the ball in the Villa net late on, but the flag had gone up for offside. Do join the great Rob Smyth for a few minutes.

Part-owner in the house!

Jim Ratcliffe, who is in the process of buying 25pc of Manchester United and becoming the boss’s boss, is about to see them play in the flesh for the first time since starting his tortuous negotiations with the Glazer family. “I am very excited to be here,” he told PA, “but I can’t answer any questions, really, because that would be inappropriate…”

Is that it, then? Not quite. “It’s a big match,” Ratcliffe added. “We normally do well against Spurs!” Up to a point, Lord Copper.

The PA report continues: “Asked if his deal was as exciting as anything he has ever done, Ratcliffe smiled and said: ‘Correct. Yes. I have done a few exciting things, but this caps it all. There’s no question about that.’”

I’m rather hoping the reporter replied, “What? More exciting than backing Brexit, then switching production of one of your SUVs from Britain to Austria?”

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Teams in full

Luke Shaw is still not well enough to return for United. That won’t help Marcus Rashford, who has hardly had a start on the left with Shaw behind him all season – either one of them has been missing, or Shaw has been at centre-back, or Rashford has been centre-forward or on the right wing. For Spurs, the mighty Micky van de Ven is back after two months out to join Cristian Romero in the centre of defence. Their opposite numbers are still an elderly couple, Rapha Varane and Jonny Evans.

Manchester United (probable 4-2-3-1) Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Dalot; Mainoo, Eriksen; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund.

Subs: Bayindir, Heaton, Kambwala, Martinez, Casemiro, McTominay, Antony, Pellistri, Forson.

Tottenham Hotspur (probable 4-2-3-1) Vicario; Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Udogie; Skipp, Hojberg; Johnson, Bentancur, Werner; Richarlison.

Subs: Forster, Austin, Royal, Dorrington, Dragusin, Santiago, Gil, Donley.

Referee John Brooks.

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Teams in brief: Timo Werner starts!

Timo Werner, who was rumoured to have caught United’s eye, instead goes straight onto the left wing for Spurs after arriving on loan from RB Leipzig. Spurs’ other new boy, the centre-back Radu Dragusin, has to settle for the bench. There’s no Dejan Kulusevski, which may be a relief for United after he engineered Pape Sarr’s goal against them in August.

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Teams in brief: Martinez and Casemiro on the bench

Erik ten Hag’s selection is as expected, with Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro back after long lay-offs but only among the subs. In midfield, Ten Hag decides to start with Christian Eriksen’s creativity and keep Scott McTominay’s combativeness up his sleeve.

Preamble: a true six-pointer

Afternoon everyone and welcome to the match of the day in the Premier League. Yes, it’s fifth against ninth! And there are star players missing on either side. But this is still a big occasion and a true six-pointer.

When Man United went to the Tottenham Stadium back in August, it set the tone for both sides’ season. Spurs were brave, and fortune favoured them. United were half-good, half-awful, and only the bad part had anything to show for it. Both sides managed six shots on target, but Bruno Fernandes missed a sitter whereas Pape Sarr hit a half-volley as if it was his 50th goal for Spurs, rather than his first. With a half-fit Lisandro Martinez adding an own goal, Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs were up and running towards the top of the table. They had a reality check in November but have recovered well with four wins in the last five league games. They’ve even got a tune out of Richarlison.

United, meanwhile, have carried on being Dr Jekyll and Mr Hag. They have improved lately against the top teams (drawing at Anfield, beating Villa), while reserving the right to be wildly inconsistent (losing at Forest, battered at home by Bournemouth).

Spurs have 39 points, Man United 31. If Postecoglou can pull off another win today, that gap will be 11 points and United will be as good as out of contention for the Champions League. If Spurs lose, the gap will shrink to five points and the battle for fifth will be a six-horse race, featuring these two clubs plus West Ham, Brighton, Newcastle and a fitfully resurgent Chelsea.

Once upon a time, United used to sign Spurs’ most stylish players. Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov … Christian Eriksen is in that tradition (even if he didn’t go straight from Tottenham to Manchester), but these days there’s a different pattern. Spurs sign the sort of stylish players – James Maddison, Pedro Porro, Brennan Johnson – who might have fitted in well at Old Trafford.

Postecoglou’s breezy management has turned Spurs into good travellers, third in the away table with five wins in ten games. The only team with more are Man City, whose heist on Tyneside was their seventh away win in 11. Erik ten Hag’s United have become generous hosts, somehow contriving to be as low as 12th in the home table. In ten league games at home this season, they haven’t managed a single first-half lead. It’s as if the players have been told how bad half-time is at Old Trafford – the concourse congested, the toilets overrun, the bar staff overstretched, the meal deal extortionate – and decided to give the fans something else to moan about instead.

It would be just like Ten Hag’s squad of under-performers to lose this game 3-0. But it would also be just like them to win it 3-2. Lads, it’s United.

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