Premier League
Man UtdManchester United1TottenhamTottenham Hotspur0

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

By Chris OsborneBBC Sport
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan became the first Armenian to score in the Premier League, taking the league's total goalscoring nationalities to 96

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first Premier League goal gave Manchester United victory over top-four rivals Tottenham.

United, still six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, led when Mkhitaryan raced on to Ander Herrera's through ball and hammered into the roof of the net.

Victor Wanyama should have levelled with a header from six yards out, although visitors Spurs created few chances despite plenty of possession.

Paul Pogba almost made it more comfortable for Jose Mourinho's side when he hit a free-kick against the post, but United ended a run of three games without a win in the league.

The game ended in disappointment for Mkhitaryan, who was taken off on a stretcher with an ankle injury in the final 10 minutes at Old Trafford and has been ruled out until Boxing Day.

Spurs missed the chance to replace Manchester City in fourth and remain fifth, three points above United.

Are United finding their form?

There had been a sense that Manchester United's performances were improving this season without the results - particularly in the league - following suit.

But this was an assured display, coupled with a positive result, and will give Mourinho hope that his side can now build on a troubling run of three wins in 12 league games.

A defeat would have proven extremely costly to United's hopes of claiming a Champions League spot and would have put them nine points behind the visitors.

United were able to name the same starting line-up that drew 1-1 at Everton a week ago and that consistency appeared to give them the confidence to allow Spurs plenty of possession, without feeling threatened.

Tottenham produced very little, despite their command of the ball, and it was United who were the more dangerous side through the counter-attacking pace of Anthony Martial, Herrera's neat passing and Mkhitaryan's link-up play.

It was Herrera who created the goal, dispossessing Harry Kane in the middle of the park and releasing Mkhitaryan, while Pogba showed occasional signs of menace, forcing a fine save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris after curling a free-kick against the woodwork.

Mkhitaryan's joy turns to pain

Heat map
Mkhitaryan's work ethic was on display - this heat map shows he frequently helped out Antonio Valencia in the right-back position

It was all lined up to be the perfect afternoon for Mkhitaryan, who has turned around his fortunes at Old Trafford since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

The 27-year-old, who became the first Armenian to score in the Premier League, had started only one league match in his first four months at the club.

But Mourinho has brought him back into the fold and the result was two goals in as many games for the forward, following a strike in Thursday's Europa League win over Zorya.

Mkhitaryan's revival may have been cruelly cut short, however, after he was carried off the pitch following a challenge by Danny Rose.

Mourinho said the injury was not serious and expects him to be back for the Premier League match at home to Sunderland on Boxing Day.

The Armenian's absence could open up a return to the side for Wayne Rooney, who was an unused substitute, while Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata could also be options.

The only other negative for United was the booing from some supporters of Marouane Fellaini while the Belgium midfielder was warming up to come on as a stoppage-time substitute.

Fellaini conceded the late penalty from which Everton equalised last week, moments after he had come off the bench.

What went wrong for Spurs?

It was a disappointing end to a positive week for Tottenham, who hammered Swansea 5-0 last weekend and beat CSKA Moscow 3-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday to secure a spot in the Europa League.

The return of Toby Alderweireld to the defence, following an injury lay-off since October, would have only improved the mood of boss Mauricio Pochettino.

But the goalscoring prowess and creativity of the last two games abandoned them as their laboured build-up play failed to put Kane into dangerous positions.

United contained the visitors brilliantly, but Spurs lacked imagination and Wanyama's header from a Christian Eriksen free-kick, which the Kenyan put wide despite being completely unmarked, was as close as they came to scoring.

Man of the match - Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Midfielder Herrera was the driving force behind most of Manchester United's attacks, making five key passes in the game, including the assist for Mkhitaryan's goal

'We needed the points more than the performance' - what they said

Mkhitaryan 'bringing everything' Mourinho wants

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: "After so many matches playing well but not winning, we needed more the points than the performance.

"But I knew against Tottenham it's difficult to get a result without playing well. But we played very well."

'Calm' Pochettino pleased with Spurs performance

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "I think it was an even game, a really competitive game. A game that was difficult to play, always at Old Trafford.

"We created some clear chances to score but I think they were more creative on goal and from that they scored and we didn't."

How long since United have won a home league game?

  • Manchester United earned their first Premier League win at Old Trafford since September, having drawn their last four in a row at home.
  • Tottenham have lost back-to-back away Premier League games for the first time under Mauricio Pochettino, last doing so in March 2014 (a run of three).
  • Spurs are winless in their last five away from home in the Premier League, their longest such run since April 2012 (a run of eight).
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been involved in four goals in his last four games for Manchester United in all competitions (two goals, two assists).

What's next?

Both sides will find out who they will face in the last 32 of the Europa League when the draw is made on Monday.

After that, Manchester United travel to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, while Tottenham host Hull City on the same day (both at 20:00 GMT).


Man Utd

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A ValenciaBooked at 32mins
  • 4Jones
  • 5Rojo
  • 36Darmian
  • 21HerreraSubstituted forFellainiat 90+7'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 6PogbaBooked at 64mins
  • 22MkhitaryanBooked at 76minsSubstituted forBaillyat 85'minutes
  • 9Ibrahimovic
  • 11MartialSubstituted forRashfordat 72'minutes


  • 3Bailly
  • 8Mata
  • 10Rooney
  • 17Blind
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero
  • 27Fellaini


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 2WalkerBooked at 78mins
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 3RoseBooked at 82mins
  • 12WanyamaBooked at 58mins
  • 19DembéléSubstituted forWinksat 67'minutes
  • 23EriksenSubstituted forNkoudouat 83'minutes
  • 20Alli
  • 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forSissokoat 57'minutes
  • 10Kane


  • 13Vorm
  • 14Nkoudou
  • 15Dier
  • 17Sissoko
  • 27Wimmer
  • 29Winks
  • 33Davies
Robert Madley

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamTottenham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini replaces Ander Herrera.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).

  5. Post update

    Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

  7. Post update

    Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

  9. Post update

    Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

  11. Post update

    Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur).

  14. Post update

    Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur).

  16. Post update

    Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Eric Bailly replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou replaces Christian Eriksen.

  20. Booking

    Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.


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