Nevertheless, both sides lined up with attacking formations, each spearheaded by two strikers. In the opening exchanges, each of the quartet chanced their arm in alternation. After Louis Saha's scuffed effort dribbled straight at De Gea, Danny Welbeck capped a surging run by blazing over from just outside the area, before Emmanuel Adebayor blasted a 25-yard effort over for the hosts.
The game's first effort of note was executed by Rooney, who curled a powerful effort into Brad Friedel's midriff after impressive approach play from Nani down the right flank. For all the attacking intent on show, however, the first 15 minutes of the game were bitty, with both sides guilty of sloppy distribution.
De Gea produced one such errant pass to inadvertantly forge Tottenham's first glaring opening, but the Spaniard atoned by dropping to his left and parrying away Adebayor's low, curling effort after he had been allowed to advance to the edge of the United area.
As the game's flow coagulated under heavy pressing from both sides, set pieces grew in significance. Spurs were given a free-kick from 25 yards, only for Youne Kaboul to drill just off-target, via a slight deflection, before Rooney hooked a low corner from Young goal-wards, but straight at Friedel. The deadlock remained in-tact, but wavered in an almighty scare for the Reds.
Aaron Lennon, hitherto well-shackled by Patrice Evra on the hosts' right flank, switched sides and motored past Phil Jones. His pull-back was well turned away by De Gea, but Saha's follow-up struck Adebayor on the chest and then the arm and, though the Togolese striker flicked home a