Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham: Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first Premier League strike sees off Spurs
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 12/12/16 12:08am
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first Premier League goal was enough for Manchester United to see off Tottenham 1-0 on Nissan Super Sunday.
The Armenian continued his impressive recent form and fired the hosts into the lead at Old Trafford just before the half-hour mark, with United looking potent in attack throughout the match.
There was an unfortunate end to Mkhitaryan's afternoon as he was stretchered off with five minutes of the game to play after picking up an ankle injury, but his goal saw United pick up their first home league win since September 24.
Jose Mourinho's side have closed the gap to three points on Tottenham, who looked off the pace for much of the 90 minutes and remain in fifth on 27 points.
The hosts could have got off to the perfect start with a goal inside the opening two minutes. Mkhitaryan powered through the middle of the park before sliding in Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the right.
The Swedish striker then found Paul Pogba in the middle of the box and he went for goal, but Hugo Lloris was down to make a good stop.
Tottenham had a few half chances in the opening exchanges. Heung-Min Son curled just wide of the post after a decent break from the visitors. Then a great cross-field ball from Toby Alderweireld nearly saw Dele Alli connect at the back post but some good defending from Phil Jones sent the ball wide.
The north London side continued to see the better of possession - with David de Gea pushing away a great free-kick from Christian Eriksen in the 19th minute - but United looked the more dangerous in attack and nearly broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.
A sublime ball over from Michael Carrick found Ander Herrera in the box, who played the ball back to Mkhitaryan to fire towards goal, but a great block from Jan Vertonghen resulted in a corner.
Danny Rose was then on hand to block a Jones header, before Herrera's thunderbolt effort from 20 yards was collected by Lloris.
But the hosts found the breakthrough five minutes later as Mkhitaryan deservedly got his goal. It was a sloppy pass from Kane that saw Herrera slide the ball through two Spurs defenders to set off the Armenian international, and he rocketed the ball into the back of the net for his first Premier League goal.
United very nearly had a second six minutes later as a great cross from Antonio Valencia on the right just evaded the over-head kick of Pogba, before a pinpoint shot from Ibrahimovic was well saved by Lloris. A minute later, Son went for glory at the other end - but De Gea produced a fingertip stop to push it over the crossbar.
It was a much better start to the second half from Tottenham, who came close to getting themselves level in the 56th minute as Eriksen whipped in a free-kick to find an unmarked Victor Wanyama at the back post, but he skewed his header into the floor and it went agonisingly wide.
Pogba was twice denied the chance to grab a goal in quick succession as the game entered into the final half an hour.
He smashed a free-kick against the crossbar in the 64th minute before Mkhitaryan found the Frenchman at the top of the box two minutes later after another good break from United, but his effort was palmed away by Lloris.
Mkhitaryan's game came to a abrupt end in the 85th minute as he was stretchered off after clashing with Danny Rose and injuring his ankle, but received a standing ovation from the home crowd as he made his way down the tunnel.
Both sides had penalty shouts dismissed in the six minutes of added time as Rose went down in the box after a challenge with Jones before Ibrahimovic was fouled at the other end. But United managed to see the game out to end a run of three successive 1-1 draws.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Valencia (7), Jones (7), Rojo (7), Darmian (7), Herrera (7), Carrick (7), Pogba (7), Mkhitaryan (9), Ibrahimovic (8), Martial (6).
Subs: Bailly (6), Rashford (6), Fellaini (n/a).
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Walker (7), Alderweireld (7), Vertonghen (7), Rose (6), Wanyama (6), Dembele (6), Eriksen (7), Alli (6), Son (6), Kane (5).
Subs: NKoudou (5), Sissoko (7), Winks (6).
Man of the match: Henrikh Mkhitaryan