Tottenham Hotspur have Manchester United's number, and this one can't be blamed on David Moyes. The London club hasn't lost to the Red Devils since March 4, 2012, and on New Year's Day, they claimed their second consecutive victory at Old Trafford, cementing a recent domination that began when United were led by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Luck? Maybe. But don't expect Spurs to take any less delight in it.
Five thoughts from Tottenham's 2-1 win over United:
Manchester United didn't know how to attack Spurs
Until Manchester United found themselves 2-0 down, they were completely clueless going forward. Even early in the match when they dominated possession and overwhelmed the Tottenham midfield, United struggled to find chances. Much of that can be chalked up to their bizarre decision to attack with width and crosses into the box against a Spurs team that featured Michael Dawson in defense. If there was anything that Tottenham were equipped to do, it was win balls in the air and clear out crosses, which they did. Had United tried to exploit Dawson's lack of pace, as so many others have this season, all of that possession may have actually led to something.
Tottenham had all of the chances
The Red Devils will surely point to some of their strong midfield play as proof that they were the better team, but being the better team in the middle third doesn't mean much if they are inferior in front of both goals. While United were struggling to break down Spurs' defense with crosses, Tottenham were making the most of their forays forward. A beautiful ball by Roberto Soldado put Aaron Lennon in on goal, while Soldado blew an open chance himself. By the time Spurs were 2-0 up, they had the four best chances of the match. United can point to the midfield all they want, but the chances, and goals, favored Spurs.
Wayne Rooney was not fit
Wayne Rooney was an injury doubt coming into the match, and if his play on Wednesday was any indication, he probably should have been left out of the team. At his best, Rooney was invisible, and at his worst, he was sloppy. He looked like a player playing injured, which, surprise, he was. Moyes gambled on Rooney's fitness and lost, not that he had much of a choice. With Robin van Persie out, the options were Rooney, the out-of-form Shinji Kagawa or Ashley Young. Maybe Young would have been the better choice, but it's tough to fault Moyes for going with Rooney. It just didn't work out.
Athleticism won out in the midfield
Early on, Manchester United was all over Tottenham, but it wasn't so much because of Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick. It was the quartet of players in front of them -- Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj -- who worked their socks off to keep Spurs on their heels. Their pace and work rate didn't let Tottenham into the match, but that changed after the half-hour mark.
Etienne Capoue and Moussa Dembele finally played their way into the match, and once they did, Spurs found their footing. It was the athleticism of the two that won out as they overwhelmed Cleverley and Carrick, rendering them useless. With their physicality and ability to push forward, Capoue and Dembele gained a foothold in the center, which pushed United out wide and allowed Spurs to hide their lack of pace at the back.
Hugo Lloris' craziness paid off
It's tough to call the way Hugo Lloris played on Wednesday "good," but it was certainly effective. The goalkeeper was all over the place, using any excuse to come off his line, even more so than usual. His play certainly caused a heart attack or two among the Tottenham faithful, and had the ball bounced United's way once or twice, Spurs may have paid for it, but it worked out for Lloris and the visitors. He was able to clear would-be United chances with diving punches and collected the ball just before a Red Devils striker on multiple occasions. Lloris was still shaky, dropping a cross and missing a punch, but he wasn't made to pay for it, while his aggressiveness paid huge dividends.