Five memorable times we toppled Tottenham
Today's International Champions Cup game in Shanghai pits Manchester United against one of the club's most familiar opponents.
United and Tottenham Hotspur, whose pre-season meeting will be shown live on MUTV, have played against each other competitively on 191 occasions, dating back to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup at Spurs’ old ground Asplins Farm in January 1899.
The Reds have recorded 90 wins against the north Londoners in all competitions, and we've delved into the archives to take a look at five of the most memorable...
United 4-1 Spurs, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup second round, 10 December 1963
Bill Nicholson’s Spurs had become the first English team to win a European trophy the previous season, demolishing Atletico Madrid to claim the Cup Winners’ Cup. They qualified for the next campaign as holders and in the second round were drawn against United, winners of the FA Cup. After goals from Dave Mackay and Terry Dyson secured a 2-0 victory for Spurs in the first leg at White Hart Lane, we looked to be exiting the competition, but a brace from David Herd at Old Trafford levelled the tie on aggregate with half an hour left to play. Jimmy Greaves replied immediately, leaving Matt Busby’s side needing another to force a play-off in the days before the away goals rule. Bobby Charlton proved to be the hero, netting not once but twice in the final 10 minutes to win the tie, heralding the beginning of the end for Tottenham's famous double-winning team.
United 5-1 Spurs, First Division, 18 December 1965
The Reds had been thrashed by the same scoreline at White Hart Lane just two months previously, so this represented sweet revenge for Matt Busby’s reigning champions. Having won seven of our 10 games since that London demolition, the Reds raced into a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes, courtesy of a stunning Charlton volley and a tap-in from Denis Law. Phil Beal’s unfortunate own goal had United three up and cruising by half-time, before Cliff Jones reduced the arrears. Spurs, chasing an unlikely comeback, were then caught upfield and Herd, who would go on to be our top scorer that season, thrashed home a fourth. There was still enough time for Law to add to his tally, completing what is still Tottenham’s worst-ever defeat at Old Trafford.
Spurs 3-5 United, Premier League, 29 September 2001
United were struggling defensively after the departure of Jaap Stam and came into this fixture at White Hart Lane – against a Spurs side featuring Reds old boy Teddy Sheringham – having conceded 10 goals in our opening six games. That record soon worsened, when goals from Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege threatened to condemn the Reds to our third consecutive defeat in N17. But this United side were used to fighting back from adversity, and when Andy Cole headed in straight after the break, the comeback was on. Stam’s replacement Laurent Blanc reduced the deficit further just prior to the hour mark, before Ruud van Nistelrooy powered past Neil Sullivan to equalise. Spurs were reeling at this point, and minutes later Juan Sebastian Veron drove in from the edge of the box to complete a remarkable turnaround. David Beckham – the driving force behind our second-half renaissance – added a fifth late on in what is still revered by Reds as one of our best-ever Premier League away days.
Spurs 0-4 United, Premier League, 4 February 2007
One of our most emphatic Premier League wins in north London came in 2007. After defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates just weeks earlier, we needed all three points to keep Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at bay at the top of the table. A nervy first-half performance ended with Cristiano Ronaldo firing us into the lead from the spot after he’d been tripped by Steed Malbranque. A Nemanja Vidic header and a Paul Scholes tap-in – after more good work from Ronaldo – then put us in an unassailable position early in the second half, before Ryan Giggs made it four on the break. However, without doubt, the most memorable moment of this match came in the dying moments. Edwin van der Sar suffered a broken nose, but Sir Alex Ferguson had used all three of his substitutes. With no replacement possible, the travelling Reds were left to glory in the sight of defender John O’Shea keeping goal – and ensuring a clean sheet – during the closing stages.
United 2-1 Spurs, FA Cup semi-final, 21 April 2018
Despite being second in the Premier League, we arguably came into this semi-final tie at Wembley as the underdogs. Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs had emerged as 2-0 winners in the most recent league meeting, and the Londoners were effectively playing on their home ground, with the national stadium standing in while the new incarnation of White Hart Lane was being built. When Dele Alli put Tottenham in front after just 10 minutes, it looked like it could be a long old afternoon for the thousands of Reds who’d made the long trip down to the capital. But United were in the mood for yet another comeback against the Lilywhites, and Alexis Sanchez headed us level midway through the first half. Eric Dier then hit a post for the local side, before Ander Herrera smashed home after 62 minutes to secure a record-equalling 20th FA Cup Final appearance for the 20-times champions of England.
As with all our pre-season games, United v Tottenham in Shanghai on Thursday (12:30 BST) will be shown live on MUTV.