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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 26 November 2020


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It’s back. It might not be quite the same yet, but it’s back — and that’s good enough for us for now.

After Wednesday’s hors d’oeuvres, the first full round of Project Restart Premier League fixtures take place this evening, and the main course is a battle for the Champions League places as Spurs host Manchester United.

Kick off is at 8.15pm. We’ll have the team news right away.

TEAM NEWS: The big news for Spurs is that Harry Kane is fit to start his first Premier League game since New Year’s Day. At the back, it’s Eric Dier alongside Davinson Sanchez as Jose Mourinho’s two centre-halves.

Spurs: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Son, Lamela, Bergwijn, Kane

TEAM NEWS: Paul Pogba has to make do with a place on the bench for Manchester United. Marcus Rashford, who has been having quite the week, makes his first league start since January.

Man United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial

It is hammering down in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the teams come out onto the pitch.

KICK OFF: We’re up and running. A huge game, in extraordinary circumstances, for both teams. If United can’t afford to lose, Spurs really can’t afford to lose.


3 mins – “If he can turn the Tottenham defenders like he can turn the government…” becomes the first laboured Marcus Rashford metaphor of Martin Tyler’s evening. There’s another 87 minutes of this, don’t worry.


4 mins – Nice link play by Spurs. Aurier arrives on the overlap and tries a low cross but it’s turned behind for a corner. United clear without too much fuss.


9 mins – Half a chance for Son to get in behind United’s high line but Lamela tries to dink the ball over the top but it’s nowhere near accurate enough.


11 mins – Wan Bissaka tries a searching ball to pick out Bruno Fernandes down the right but he’s crowded out.


13 mins – Son comes back in off the left and decides that he’ll have a pop from a good way out to make sure de Gea is awake. He doesn’t catch his shot cleanly though and it trickles through harmlessly.


17 mins – Lamela has a pretty unnecessary lunge through the back of Scott McTominay. He escapes without a booking but that’s definitely enough to put him in last warning territory.


19 mins – Bruno Fernandes has two goes from a corner and hits the first man twice: first Aurier, and then Son. Disappointing.


22 mins – Good reaction stop from Lloris. Fernandes snaps a ball into the box first time, Davinson Sanchez heads it straight to Rashford, but Lloris sticks out a foot to make the save.


23 mins – Quick stop for a drinks break. That chance from Rashford was clearly the best of the game so far.

Flag 27Mins

GOAL FOR TOTTENHAM! Tottenham 1-0 Manchester United (Bergwijn, 27′)

Spurs lead — but there are a few Manchester United players that won’t want to see this one again, not least David de Gea. Steven Bergwijn catches Harry Maguire on his heels and the space opens up for him as he cut back inside. There’s power in his shot but it’s straight at de Gea who can’t get enough behind it to keep it out.


29 mins – Chance for United to level it up again straight away but Rashford can’t get a clean contact on Fred’s cross into the box.


31 mins – Save from De Gea! Spurs cut through United on the counter attack and they do everything bar score. Bergwijn has time and space on the right, he finds Son with a good cross to the back post. He tries to pick his spot with his header, looping it up and over de Gea into the far corner, but the United keeper is able to stretch out a hand and palm it over the bar.


41 mins – Jon Moss finds his yellow card, and it’s Daniel James whose name goes into the book. Eric Dier bundles him off the ball and as they got back to their feet, James has a little nibble / trip that gets him in trouble.


44 mins – There’ll be three added minutes at the end of the first half. They don’t stop the clock for the drinks break, in case you’re wondering.


45+3 mins – Bruno Fernandes tries a sighter which swerves and dips in front of Lloris but he gets down behind it.


Roy Keane has just gone off on one as he analyses Bergwijn’s goal on Sky Sports. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’m shocked, I’m shocked at that goal. I’ve watched a lot of football over the years but to give away that goal, I’m fuming here watching this game of football.

“I can’t believe Shaw headed the ball up in the air and then ran forward.

I am staggered at Maguire, staggered that an international player can just get done like this, and I am sick to death of this goalkeeper.

“I would be fighting him at half time, there’s no getting away with it, I would be swinging punches at that guy. This is a standard save for an established international goalkeeper. I am flabbergasted.”


More from Roy on de Gea: “I wouldn’t even let him on the bus after the match. Get a taxi back to Manchester.”

This is better than the first half, if you don’t mind me saying so.


Here’s the video because me transcribing quotes just can’t do that justice:


SECOND HALF: Back underway at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.


51 mins – Lamela gets into a good position again but instead of slipping it through to either Son or Kane on the edge of the box, he plays it between the two of them and out of play.


54 mins – Ooof, Bruno Fernandes skips one by the foot of Lloris’s post. He picked it up near the centre circle and started the move, playing it to Martial and then taking it back again before having a go from distance. He wasn’t far off.


58 mins – Maguire crunches through the back of Bergwijn but Jon Moss plays the advantage. Kane crosses for Lamela but Shaw gets there first and clears.


60 mins – Son dinks a ball towards the back post but Luke Shaw arrives on the scene in the nick of time to head it away from Bergwijn and behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.


62 mins — Manchester United substitutions: Double change for Solskjaer as Greenwood replaces James and Pogba replaces Fred.


63 mins – Pogba’s first touch is a shot as Spurs are pinned back inside their own box but it comes off a white shirt before it can trouble Lloris.


64 mins – Oh my. That would have been quite the equaliser from Manchester United. Pogba drifts out towards the left to pick up the ball. He plays it into Fernandes who spins with his first touch and then picks out Martial with a lovely fizzed pass. Martial delays his shot just for a second and that’s enough time for Dier to get across with a sliding block which takes the sting out of out.


65 mins – Smashing save by Lloris who gets a hand out to push Martial’s shot over the bar. Roy Keane probably would have caught it though.


70 mins — Tottenham subs: Double change for Spurs after the drinks break: Lamela and Bergwijn go off to be replaced by Lo Celso and Fernandes.


75 mins – Fifteen minutes to play. United had a purple patch after the introduction of Pogba and Greenwood but Spurs have got a bit of a foothold again now a bit higher up the pitch.


78 mins – Manchester United subs: Ighalo and Matic are on for Lindelof and Martial. Lindelof is carrying a knock, judging by the way he hobbled off. Scott McTominay will slot in at the back.

Flag 79Mins

79 mins — PENALTY FOR MANCHESTER UNITED! Paul Pogba gets to the byline and shows some nice footwork to skip around Eric Dier. Dier clips him as he tries to get back on terms, Pogba goes down and, after a reasonably long VAR check, the penalty is confirmed.

It’ll be Bruno Fernandes to take it…

Flag 81Mins

GOAL FOR MANCHESTER UNITED! Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United (Bruno Fernandes pen 81′)

… and scores it! Lloris dives to his left, Fernandes goes to the keeper’s right and scores. All square with 10 minutes to play.


86 mins – Spurs are on the front foot again and McTominay needs to look smart to put Fernandes’ cross behind for a corner.


87 mins – Harry Kane — who has been very quiet all night — lines up a free kick about 25 yards out and just left of centre.


88 mins – Into the wall. His quiet night continues.


89 mins — Manchester United substitution: Eric Bailly on to replace Scott McTominay for the last couple of minutes.



It’s Eric Dier again. He stepped in towards Bruno Fernandes in the box and Fernandes goes down in a heap. Oh my.


This one will certainly be checked by VAR.


90+1 mins — NO PENALTY

Jose Mourinho seems marginally happier than he was 30 seconds ago. Dier did step towards Fernandes but if there was any contact, it certainly wasn’t enough to deem it a foul.


90+3 mins – We’re into the fourth of the five additional minutes being played here.


90+5 mins – Mason Greenwood has nearly snatched it with what must practically be the last kick of the game. Ben Davies shows him out on to his right and Greenwood drills one across the face of goal. Just wide.

That’s it — it finishes all square at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a result which Manchester United will probably be marginally happier with on the balance of things. They miss the chance to leapfrog Chelsea and move back into the Champions League places.

For Spurs, the gap to Chelsea is now six points, with Frank Lampard’s side having played a game less until Sunday when they travel to Aston Villa.

That’s all from us for this evening; thanks for reading.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly


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