United retain unbeaten record and return to top spot

Tottenham 0 Manchester United 0

Brazilian full-back Rafael was sent off but 10-man Manchester United still kept their unbeaten record as they went back to the top of the Barclays Premier League on goal difference after a frantic encounter at White Hart Lane.

Wayne Rooney brought a couple of smart saves from Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and Rafael van der Vaart also went close on two occasions for Tottenham.

But in the end the two sides cancelled each other out in a game which proved the title race is going to be tight right until the end.

The draw sees Tottenham, who have not beaten United since May 2001 in a run which now stretches 24 matches, stay fifth a point behind Chelsea and outside the Champions League places after a game which was long on effort and passion but short on quality.

The most explosive incident was the once concerning Rafael who was shown a yellow card for a foul on full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto after having earlier been booked for a challenge on Wilson Palacios.

The young Brazilian raged at referee Mike Dean and kicked over a television sound boom as he left the pitch and the FA are likely to want to review the video. Rooney was also booked for his protests.

Yet while Tottenham showed how far they have come under Harry Redknapp it was United who also proved their resilience.

Ryan Giggs was named in the starting line-up for his 600th league appearance for United, just six behind the record of Sir Bobby Charlton.

Sir Alex Ferguson was also boosted by the fact that Rooney returned from an ankle injury after missing two games while Nemanja Vidic and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar were also fit after recent absences.

Vidic's presence was crucial and he was instrumental in halting the forays of the pacy Aaron Lennon down Tottenham's right.

Due to injuries, Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have been in harness too infrequently in recent seasons. There is no doubt United look more solid when they are together.

It meant Peter Crouch, who had been preferred to Jermain Defoe, for the most part was contained and that has a knock-on consequence for Tottenham in that Van der Vaart is starved on the knockdowns which he has been so quick to exploit this season.

As it was United might have taken the lead in the first two minutes, Rooney being neatly played in by Dimitar Berbatov but skewing his right-foot shot across the face of the goal.

A flake of rust in that effort, although there was no sign of it after 22 minutes when Rooney, once again smartly served by Berbatov, brought a stumbling save from Tottenham goalkeeper Gomes.

United had their moments but in that first half the attacking impetus came from Tottenham and especially Gareth Bale who was beginning to give Rafael a torrid time down the left.

One of his trademark whipped-in crosses was inches away from being dispatched into the net by Crouch.

Van der Vaart looked to have cashed in on another raking Bale cross but could only manage to send his downward header into the side-netting.

It was all fast and frantic, strewn with errors and with no time for midfield players to settle on the ball.

Not surprisingly, it was a 45 minutes in which referee Dean was busy, booking Rafael, Wilson Palacios, Darren Fletcher and Van der Vaart, the latter for kicking the ball away.

It needed someone like David Beckham, up in the stands and who has been training with Tottenham this past week, to put his foot on the ball and bring a measure of control.

United began the second half with more composure. They might have taken the lead after 50 minutes when a Giggs corner was flicked goalwards by Michael Carrick but sailed just wide of the post.

A minute later Rooney burst through the middle to unleash a right-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area, only to be denied by a full-length diving save from Gomes.

The Tottenham goalkeeper was certainly the busier.

It was a match with lots of attacking endeavour from both sides but no-one seemed capable of creating the breakthrough.

There were claims for a penalty when Vidic blocked Van der Vaart's effort after clearly holding his shirt in the penalty area but the referee waved them away.

Then came Rafael's moment of madness, at which point United were happy with their point.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map