Tottenham goalie Lloris halts Manchester United’s title surge
Manchester United’s efforts to force their way into the Premier League title race faltered as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. An outstanding display by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris together with wasteful United finishing meant Louis van van Gaal’s side were denied an eighth victory in nine games. Had United claimed three points, they would have increased the pressure on top two Chelsea and Manchester City. Instead they were left to reflect on a missed opportunity, but Spurs, who finished the game strongly, also had cause for regret after failing to enhance their own challenge for a top-four finish.
Van Gaal’s decision to name an unchanged side for the first time since he took charge at Old Trafford was a clear indication of the manager’s growing satisfaction with his team’s efforts after some good recent results. Results, however, have told only part of the story, with United having failed to convince on occasion.
Their defensive struggles, which have allowed goalkeeper David de Gea to shine, gave Tottenham grounds for pre-match optimism, particularly with Harry Kane in such good form. The 21-year-old striker quickly demonstrated he was capable of unsettling United’s back three of Phil Jones, Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans. An excellent threaded pass from the recalled Andros Townsend almost allowed Kane to get in behind the visitors’ back-line, but McNair was alert enough to smother the danger.
Then, in the final minute of the half, the France international Lloris produced an acrobatic, full-stretch save to tip Ashley Young’s curling cross-shot around the post.