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23 Aug 2011

Manchester United swept Tottenham aside in impressive fashion as the Premier League champions made a powerful statement of intent at Old Trafford.

Spurs were without unsettled Luka Modric as he continues to be linked with a £30m move to Chelsea - and he was sadly missed as United overpowered Harry Redknapp's side after an evenly-contested first half.

Sir Alex Ferguson embarked on an expensive summer rebuilding programme, but it was United's home-grown talent that built the platform for their second successive win as they go in search of a 20th domestic title.

With England coach Fabio Capello an interested observer, Danny Welbeck headed in Tom Cleverley's cross just after the hour and the young striker then produced a wonderful instinctive flick to set up a second for Anderson.

Wayne Rooney completed the formalities with a pinpoint late header from Ryan Giggs's centre to extend Spurs' miserable sequence of 22 years without a win at Old Trafford.

United's new goalkeeper David de Gea suffered more uncertain moments of handling but Phil Jones, another summer acquisition from Blackburn, ensured injured Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were not missed with an outstanding performance.

The hosts' new arrivals made an impact early on as Jones and Ashley Young led a sweeping counter attack before Cleverley brought a fine fingertip save from the stretching Brad Friedel on his Spurs debut.

De Gea, watched from the directors' box by his predecessor Edwin van der Sar, was a focus of attention after early blunders following his summer move from Atletico Madrid and he needed to show neat footwork as Rafael Van der Vaart threatened to catch him in possession.

Young's movement was presenting problems for Spurs and he was inches away from giving United the lead with a looping header from Rooney's cross with Friedel stranded as he scrambled back towards goal.

Spurs wasted an opportunity to strike just after the break when Aaron Lennon was desperately wasteful with a cross inside the area, an incident that saw Van der Vaart pull his shirt over his head in fury.

It was the signal for United's most concerted spell of pressure - a decisive phase of the game that eventually led to them taking the lead just after the hour.

Friedel excelled once more with a fine double save from Anderson and Rooney, but he was powerless to prevent Welbeck taking advantage of Cleverley's inviting delivery by glancing a fine header into the corner.

United were carrying all the momentum and threat, with Friedel in acrobatic action again to save Rooney's free-kick as it seemed destined for the top corner and Welbeck's ambitious overhead kick.

Welbeck was oozing confidence after his goal and he illuminated Old Trafford with his part in Anderson's second 14 minutes from time. He took Anderson's pass inside the area before delivering an instant backheel which the midfield man took in his stride to score.

Tottenham rallied briefly and Jermain Defoe volleyed against the post following a rare De Gea error, the Spaniard flapping at a cross and allowing the Spurs striker to strike the woodwork from the angle.

But Rooney's third was simply confirmation of United's superiority as they move into second place behind neighbours Manchester City in the table.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "The second-half performance was absolutely fantastic.

"It was a fast game in the first half, it was end-to-end. Tottenham had a lot of possession, but in the second half we just took off."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "I'm sure [Luka] Modric will stay. The chairman has made his mind up."

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