Spurs 2-2 home draw was a vast improvement on their last clash with a Manchester club, but left a lot of glaring problems to discuss.
In what was a fantastic day for Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, Spurs and Man United played out an engaging 2-2 draw in front of a passionate White Hart Lane. There was some excellent play from both teams, just as there was some slack play. Below we look at five talking points following on from the Tottenham performance.
There was a vacancy for regular free kick taker, that might not be the case after the game
Many fans have questioned Kyle Walker's presence over set pieces over the last couple of years. After all, his crossing is up and down, and he has seemed to be riding on his (admittedly) fantastic free-kick against Blackburn a couple of years ago for some time now. As Bale rose to prominence, there only seemed to be one player over the dead ball, and rightly so. But against United, Walker had several decent free-kick attempts, scoring one, and also whipped in some decent corners. With none of the attacking midfielders making a successful claim for set-piece taker, Walker has impressed enough to be given that role for the foreseeable future.
Predictable though it is, Spurs are missing a figurehead player to give the ball when under pressure
At times during spells of United pressure, Spurs looked like they were really missing a player they could rely on to do that something a little bit special. With Bale gone, they are the only one of the top six/seven teams that don't have that one outstanding individual to rely on, and all teams need it for when they inevitably have an off day. That's when the outstanding individual pulls them through the game. Spurs have several players that could eventually adopt this role at the club, but right now, they're still looking up hopefully for a powerful Welsh runner.
It's astonishing that Spurs didn't sign a left back in the summer
It is an indication of how good a player Jan Vertonghen is that he can play at left back when he so clearly isn't one. Danny Rose had a great start to the season and convinced AVB to let Benoit Assou-Ekotto leave on loan, but quite why the Cameroonian hasn't been recalled given Rose's extended injury is astounding. It also impacts the central defensive strength of the team, as the team are missing a player voted in the Premier League's top two in that position last year. If there was ever any chance of Fabio Coentrao being included in the Bale deal, Spurs should have snatched Real's hand off. Expect the team to look a lot more settled once Rose returns.
Time to ditch Dawson?
One player that may have benefitted from that reluctance to sign another left-back is Michael Dawson, at times well off the pace this year. The Spurs captain has seen much fewer target-men going up against him in games, as teams adapt to try and breach Tottenham's high line. Never blessed with pace or acceleration, such a decision to persevere with him when playing this tactic is a little too much like football suicide for my liking. A fit Kaboul, or a central Vertonghen, would be a much more suitable option alongside impressive Romanian Vlad Chiriches.
Sandro's goal - best of the season?
All of the "Beast's" goals for Spurs have been spectacular, and if you can't remember them, look up the strikes against Chelsea and Fulham. This was undoubtedly the best of the lot, and he'll be hard-pushed to top it. The big Brazilian dribbled past a couple of United players from the edge of the centre circle, cutting on to his left foot, then back to his right, and smashed an unstoppable drive towards goal from fully 30 yards. De Gea didn't even move, and it somehow swerved just at the last minute to fly into the top corner. It was a truly special strike - possibly the best of its kind this year.
image: © Denise&David