29.09.01, White Hart Lane
(Richards 15, Ferdinand 25, Ziege 45)
(Cole 46, Blanc 58, van Nistelrooy 72, Veron 76, Beckham 87)
Tottenham: Sullivan; Taricco, King, Richards, Perry, Ziege; Poyet, Freund, Anderton (Rebrov, 83); Ferdinand, Sheringham. Subs not used: Keller, Etherington, Davies, Thelwell.
United: Barthez; G.Neville, Johnsen, Blanc, Irwin (Silvestre, 46); Beckham, Veron, Butt (Solskjaer, 40), Scholes; Cole, van Nistelrooy. Subs not used: P.Neville, Carroll, Chadwick.
Having lost 3-1 on visits in the previous two league campaigns, the Reds conceded a triple salvo of goals once again - only this time all the Spurs strikes came in a frightening first half. Glenn Hoddle's new £8million defender Dean Richards opened the scoring, Les Ferdinand followed up and then Christian Ziege made it 3-0 with a diving header.
Older United fans could be forgiven for flashing back to the 1960's when Tottenham tore the Reds apart 6-2 and 5-1, but thankfully the outcome in 2001 would be quite the opposite. Whatever Sir Alex Ferguson said at the break, it swiftly bore fruit with the heads of Andy Cole and Laurent Blanc reducing the arrears to 3-2 before the hour mark. Then came a magnificent late flourish to make it 5-3. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham - on the turf of his grandfather's favourite team - all scored between the 72nd and 87th minutes to complete a colossal comeback for the league champions.