|11||van der Vaart|
Sir Alex may not be able to call on the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes or Gary Neville anymore, but in the place of cool heads the boss now has pace, power and, judging by this performance, no small amount of panache.
Against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Monday night, United's kids – we can call them that: the side Sir Alex sent out was the second youngest he's ever fielded in the Premier League – ruled the roost and goals from Danny Welbeck, Anderson and Wayne Rooney handed the Reds a victory built as much on vim and vigour as patient passing or tough tackling.
There was also beauty. Anderson's goal was pure pleasure, a simple finish after a crisp passing move and a cheeky backheel by Welbeck tore open the Tottenham defence to leave space for the Brazilian to blaze through the middle. That came sandwiched between two headers: Welbeck's opener and Rooney's second goal of the season, three minutes from time.
But while United were certainly brilliant at times, Tottenham were in this game for long periods – scores were level until 61 minutes – and played a pivotal role in an entertaining, end-to-end affair. The Reds started brightest, though, creating a pair of half-chances inside two minutes, before Tom Cleverley's low side-footed effort drew a fantastic finger-tip save from Brad Friedel as United ramped up the early pressure.
Spurs gradually gained a foothold, although failed to test David De Gea on his competitive home debut until the 21st minute when Gareth Bale's tame shot was fielded easily by the Spaniard down by his near post.