Wayne v Kane showdown falls flat in stalemate at Spurs

Harry Kane’s burgeoning reputation brought comparisons with Manchester United’s captain but the best the pair could muster was one shot between them

When you’re Louis van Gaal even a blunt and slightly frantic 0-0 draw can offer the consolation of being proved unarguably right. Manchester United were inventive and territorially dominant in the first half at White Hart Lane. In the second they were flat, most notably towards the end of a match that was “not football”, according to United’s manager, but “a struggle for life”, presumably up there with the Christmas Truce Match on the Van Gaal scale of festive footballing miracles.

The issue of burdensome festive programming pre-dates by at least a century the Van Gaal era at United. But here, for all the (undoubtedly correct) concerns over conditioning and preparation, it also provided a handy piece of misdirection for a manager who would naturally prefer not to discuss poor finishing or another enforced tactical rejig that began to come loose at the seams a little as Spurs were increasingly dominant in the second half.

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