Togo's Adebayor helps Tottenham defeat Manchester United 2-1

AP, Wednesday 1 Jan 2014

Togo frontman Emmanuel Adebayor scores the opening goal in Tottenham's 2-1 Premier League victory over Manchester United on Wednesday

Tottenham Hotspur's Adebayor heads and scores his goal against Manchester United during their English Premier League soccer match in Manchester (Photo: Reuters)

Tottenham claimed a second straight Premier League win at Old Trafford by beating Manchester United 2-1 on Wednesday to drop the champions further out of title contention.

Emmanuel Adebayor put Spurs ahead with a header in the 34th minute before Christian Eriksen turned from supplier to scorer to leave United 2-0 down in the 66th.

Danny Welbeck responded a minute later with his fifth goal in his last five league matches, but United slipped to a fourth home defeat of the campaign and is now 11 points behind leader Arsenal.

Spurs, who had gone 23 years without a league win at Old Trafford until a 3-2 victory last season, is unbeaten in four matches under new manager Tim Sherwood. They climb above United to sixth, two points behind fourth-place Liverpool.

Both teams had experienced a turbulent first half of the season, and were lying in sixth and seventh place in the standings. However, impressive sets of results over Christmas had left confidence high at both clubs of bridging the gap on their title rivals.

While Tottenham's revival under Sherwood had seen the team pick up seven points out of a possible nine, United was seeking a fourth straight win over the festive period and was further buoyed by the return to the starting team of Wayne Rooney after a groin strain.

Yet David Moyes' side lacked its sharpness of late, with Spurs crisper with its passing and sturdy in defense, while Adebayor continued his purple patch since his return to the first team.

His goal was a classic striker's finish, drifting to the back post and beating back-pedaling full back Chris Smalling with a downward header into the corner from Eriksen's pinpoint cross. Adebayor has now scored three goals and set up two others in his last four games.

It was one of a number of good chances created by Spurs in a low-key first half in which Aaron Lennon was denied by the feet of United goalkeeper David De Gea and Roberto Soldado just failed to apply a back-post finish from Lennon's cross.

United's frustrations were building. Rooney was booked for a blatant tug on Eriksen and Welbeck also should have been yellow-carded for a dive in the penalty area just before the hour.

Moyes removed Smalling and holding midfielder Michael Carrick to go all-out attack for the final 30 minutes but United was caught on the counter-attack for Eriksen's goal.

Adebayor launched the move and Soldado fed Lennon, who burst into the box and sent in a cross that deflected up off Nemanja Vidic. Eriksen nipped ahead of Antonio Valencia to head home from six yards out.

The two-goal cushion lasted barely a minute as Adnan Januzaj curled through a pass that Welbeck seized upon, before chipping the outrushing Hugo Lloris for a fine finish.

Spurs hung on in the final stages, with Lloris escaping punishment for a reckless lunge at Ashley Young, before denying Rooney with a sprawling save to his left. Lennon also cleared off his own line as United's foibles at home continued.

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