For the first time in 23 years, Manchester United have failed to beat Tottenham in the league. Full marks to Tottenham for continuing to plug away just when it seemed the match had slipped away. They really didn't deserve to lose. And they didn't. So all's well. In fact, on the balance of play they might argue they deserved to win, especially as David de Gea had to make a number of fine saves. United's lead over Manchester City has been cut to five points. They were gritty but rarely played with enough quality in attack. We'll leave the final word to Ian Copestake: "He's going to go purple anyway over the Rooney penalty that wasn't given."
Tottenham have equalised in the last minute of AVB Time! Isn't that what Manchester United are supposed to do? This has to go down as a mistake by David de Gea. Assou-Ekotto flung a cross towards the far post and De Gea flapped at it, only sending his punch as far as Lennon on the right of the area. He showed wonderful presence of mind and composure to just roll the ball across to Dempsey, who stroked the ball into the bottom-left corner from six yards out!
90 min: We'll have three minutes of AVB Time.
89 min: United have had two shots on target and they're going to win. "A Ferguson meltdown would melt the snow and they could resume the game," says Mark Judd.
87 min: But, then, Manchester United have Robin van Persie.
86 min: Bale, who has been largely anonymous, flies in from the left and crunches a shot goalwards with his right foot from 25 yards out. It takes another deflection off Ferdinand's chest and whizzes inches wide of the post with De Gea beaten. Spurs don't deserve to lose this. "Huddlestone's hair is sexy," says Bronwyn Jones. "So there."
85 min: The snow's really coming down now. They should call this game off, just for the nuclear meltdown that would follow from Ferguson.
83 min: Dembele somehow emerges with the ball despite being fouled by Jones in the centre circle. He romps forward and then wonks a terrible shot miles wide.
81 min: Looking to make amends for that miss, Defoe has a go from the edge of the area. It's straight at De Gea, though, and his handling has been impeccable today. When are people going to admit how good he is?
80 min: Tom Huddlestone and his silly hair replace Scotty 'Scott' Parker.
79 min: United almost punish Defoe's wastefulness by scoring on the counter but Evra's cross doesn't reach Welbeck, who was free in the middle. Meanwhile Rooney is booked for a clumsy foul on Lennon.
78 min: Oh Jermain! What a chance, Tottenham's best of the match and they wouldn't have wanted it to fall to anyone else. It was made by Aaron Lennon, who threw off the United midfield with a brilliant dummy in the middle of their half. His pass to Defoe, free on the left side of the area, was judged to perfection but the striker wanted way too much time, allowing Ferdinand to fly across and deflect his shot behind for a corner.
77 min: Rafael, who was sent off here two years ago, is booked for something or other. I missed what for.
75 min: Antonio Valencia replaces Tom Cleverley.
74 min: Just as Van Persie prepares to pounce and score United's second, Dawson slides in with a magnificent challenge and even wins a goal-kick for good measure, the ball coming off Van Persie on its way behind.
72 min: The game is slipping away from Tottenham here. They don't really have enough attacking options on the bench to change the flow of this. He might be a frustrating galoot but they've missed Adebayor's physical presence.
70 min: "I have decided to set my alarm 1 minute and 52 seconds earlier tomorrow morning so I can get the time back that I just spent watching the Frogtown trailer," says Ian Copestake.
68 min: Tottenham's problem is that United will catch them on the break. Rafael darts up the right flank and sends a cross to the far post. On the stretch, a sliding Welbeck turns the ball wide. It was an open goal, of sorts, but was no more than a quarter-chance such was the angle.
66 min: Tottenham are getting closer. Defoe's shot deflects off Ferdinand and squirms through to Dempsey, whose shot is pushed into the side-netting by De Gea. Some of the crowd thought it was in! Ha! Their eyes played tricks on them!
66 min: Caulker's foul on Rooney is one of the clearer penalties you will ever see. I blame the Ferguson Association.
65 min: Assou-Ekotto replaces Kyle Naughton.
63 min: Rooney's first act is to go tumbling under a challenge from Caulker in the area. Nothing doing. He reacts with typical cool, blasting hot air in the direction of the linesman.
62 min: Gareth Bale attacks Jones down the left and fizzes a superb cross across the face of goal that beats the sliding Dempsey at the far post. That was just begging to be tapped in but Spurs aren't getting enough players in the box. United respond by bringing on Wayne Rooney for Shinji Kagawa.
61 min: Vidic's clearing header falls to Dempsey 30 yards from goal but his shot is tame and straight at De Gea.
60 min: Tottenham are going to bring on Benoit Assou-Ekotto. That should do it.
59 min: It's increasingly defence v attack, but Tottenham are struggling to break United down down. The visitors are defending very well. This has been the problem for Tottenham at home - they lack creativity.
58 min: My colleague James Dart has sent me a clip of the Congo goalkeeper celebrating. Watch and marvel.
56 min: "Rowdy Roddy Piper has to impregnate as many women as possible in a world run by frogs," says Alister Wedderburn. |He's wearing some sort of electronic codpiece. The trailer contains this line: 'If anyone's got a chance in Hell of rescuing the virgins from the evil clutches of Toady, and escaping from Frogtown - it's Sam'. This is literally not even the half of it."
55 min: If United want to bring on a striker, they can choose from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. Tottenham have:
52 min: United counter, Welbeck beating Dawson for pace on the left. He finds Kagawa on the edge of the area but his shot is woeful.
51 min: What a save from David De Gea! And again it's with his feet! Who needs hands? Out of nowhere, Dempsey zigzagged into the United area, evaded a desperate lunge from Evra and found himself with a clear sight of goal, eight yards out. He hammers it low towards the bottom-left corner and De Gea somehow manages to divert it wide with an outstretched boot. His reflexes are absurd.
50 min: This would have been superb. Van Persie, Cleverley and Welbeck combine with some neat one-touch football but Caulker sticks out a boot to stop the final pass getting through to Kagawa.
49 min: From the edge of the area, Bale tries to bend one with the outside of his left boot. Over. But close.
48 min: "I'm watching Congo v Ghana too," says Tim Daw. "It was a very soft penalty but the dive was ridiculous. Nowhere near as ridiculous as the Congolese keepers goal celebration though. He sat on his arse with his legs out in front then did this dancing bunny thing with his hands and bouncing around on the floor. He's a big bloke too with a beard, shaved head and a massive ponytail growin out the top of his baldy head. It's much more fun than English footy."
47 min: United respond, Van Persie's flick sending Evra to the left byline. He pulls it back to Kagawa, who holds the ball up and then lays it off to Welbeck. His shot is blocked.
46 min: Here we go again and straight away Defoe misses a presentable chance to equalise. Ferdinand put United in trouble with a poor ball out of defence and Lennon played Defoe down the inside-right channel, only for him to slash his shot wide of the near post. "Worst film ever," says John Whalley. "Cyborg. Hands down. Bad guy starts roaring at the start and doesn't stop till the the damn thing mercifully ends. Thought you were hinting with the Vidic reference to be honest."
Tottenham have pressed hard. Manchester United have Robin van Persie.
45 min+1: There will be two minutes of added time.
45 min: Tottenham are living dangerously as the half draws to a close. On the left, Van Persie scoops a pass for Welbeck to run on to. He gets there before the hesitant Caulker and gets to the byline, forcing Lloris to deflect his cutback behind for a corner.
44 min: Up the other end, Evra is inevitably booked for bringing down Lennon.
43 min: What an escape for Spurs. Welbeck breaks in behind Walker down the left and should cut the ball back for Kagawa to shoot, only to get the cross horribly wrong and allow Dawson to clear.
40 min: David de Gea makes a wonderful save to deny Gareth Bale. A loose ball breaks to him on the edge of the area and he lets fly with his right foot. It takes a nick off Ferdinand but although he's going the wrong way, De Gea manages to stick out a leg and divert it away.
38 min: Bale has hardly had a kick. I haven't seen him this quiet for a very long time. Rafael does tend to have very good games against him.
37 min: Carrick plays a stunning pass inside Dawson and Walker that momentarily looks set to send Welbeck clean through but Walker is so quick and just manages to recover in time. What a pass that was.
35 min: "Isn't this the sixth consecutive game in which United haven't conceded the first goal?" says Jason Jawando. "What is the world coming to?" Vidic is back.
33 min: "I've just seen a play on the Ghana V Congo DR game where, if I was the referee, I would have awarded a penalty (because it was a foul) and also a yellow card to the fouled player (for doing a ridiculous flop after the foul)," says John Willoug. "Anyone else think this is a reasonable scenario? (I'm pretending Ghana, in white is Spurs, 'cos it's preferable to the numbing reality of WHL, which is that Man U will probably play badly and win with a couple of counter attack goals...)"
31 min: Looking at United's goal again, there were two Tottenham defenders at the far post and Van Persie's movement was too much for both of them. By the time the ball came to him, he had about two or three yards of space.
30 min: Dawson is booked for clattering Evra, who's down. There wasn't really a lot in that but you're not allowed to tackle now.
28 min: Dempsey makes a nuisance of himself in the United area and Bale tries to turn and shoot ... it's blocked out for a throw. "Mick Jagger - Evil Henchmen - Trying to steal Charlie Sheen's brother's head," says Darren McNamara. "Utterly ridiculous."
27 min: Looking for an instant riposte, Defoe turns and shoots from a ludicrous angle on the right, forcing De Gea into an awkward save down by his near post. Van Persie heads the corner away. Is there anything he can't do?
Who else? Van Persie has been booed mercilessly by the Tottenham fans but he's silenced those jeers with yet another goal and United have hit Spurs with the ultimate sucker-punch. It all started with two brilliant passes from Kagawa and Carrick, the former opening Tottenham up with a sweeping pass out to Welbeck on the left. Suddenly it looked ominously for Spurs. He picked out Cleverley on the right of the area and his cross, sent invitingly to the far post, was emphatically headed past Lloris by Van Persie. That is an unstoppable header.
24 min: Villas-Boas has a towel over his legs. "Hudson Hawk is clearly the worst film ever, pound-for-pound," says Michael Giambra.
23 min: Nothing comes from the corner. Nothing ever comes from the corner.
22 min: Michael Carrick is booked for getting his shorts dirty, sliding in to bring down Dempsey. Bale swings the free-kick to the far post and Carrick has to concede the corner.
21 min: Without any runners in the side apart from Welbeck, who's not got into the match at all, United are very one-paced. Tottenham have more energy about them. "Batman and Robin," says Aidan O'Donnell. "Seriously. What were they thinking?"
19 min: For all of you suggesting stupider films than Die Another Day, it's important to note that Die Another Day has Madonna in it as a fencing instructor, so that wins by default.
18 min: We haven't seen much of Bale yet. That is all.
17 min: Vidic is down with a head injury. A lull. A lovely, lovely lull. "Does he stick the gum under his seat when he's done old school style?" says Neal Johnson. "Just wondering!" What do you think Mike Phelan's there for?
16 min: "At The Blizzard Q and A last Tuesday, the pointy-heads on the panel speculated that the next big thing in football tactics might be the ball-playing centre-half exploiting space left by the false nine," says Gary Naylor. "If a Phil Jones type may be the future, a big old bruiser like Vidic is the present." Did anyone discuss the role of the pivote?
14 min: Lennon, who has been in seriously good form under Villas-Boas this season, darts in from the right, United backpedalling at a furious pace. Space opens up on the edge of the area so Lennon has a go, sending a low skidder with his left towards the bottom-right corner. De Gea gets down to push it out and then saves the rebound from Defoe, who was offside anyway.
13 min: The first glimpse of Robin van Persie. He's so quiet and then BANG! Jones picked him out with a peach of a cross and he peeled off his marker, but could only guide his header straight at Lloris. He couldn't get enough pace on the ball.
11 min: Scotty 'Scott' Parker runs at the United defence and tries to play a pass through to Defoe. It's blocked by Ferdinand but comes back to Parker, who curves a shot well wide from 25 yards out. Tottenham are the better side. "Come now, Highlander isn't even the most stupid Highlander film!" says Ryan Dunne. "Its sequels make the original look like an understated, cinema verite masterpiece."
10 min: Lennon, who has so often tormented Patrice Evra, nips the ball past the United left-back on the right touchline and is sent flying. Nemanja Vidic heads the free-kick away. Everyone talks about the influence of Robin van Persie as one of the key reasons for United being top of the league but the return of Vidic could be just as important.
8 min: I think United might struggle a bit without their natural width, but the problem is that Nani is only just coming back from an injury and Antonio Valencia is horribly out of form. "There can be only one - and it's Highlander," says Rob Hardy. "A group of immortals, who can only be killed by having their heads chopped off, fighting to the death for a 'prize', the action moving from the 16th century Scottish Highlands to 1980's New York. And a Queen soundtrack."
6 min: After a spot of head-tennis in the United area, the ball drops to Dempsey, 20 yards from goal. He spanks a fine volley with his right foot and Vidic just stands there and blocks it. I think he might be a cyborg. He didn't even flinch and Dempsey hit that one hard.
4 min: Nothing's happened yet. It's a shapeless mess, albeit with plenty of time to improve. Snow out! "That clip brought back memories of my time working in a university in Piura north Peru," says Andy McIntosh. "I took my lovely girlfriend to the cinema one night and she chose "Little Man", which even with Spanish subtitles seemed to amuse most of the audience to an unfathomable degree of hilarity. Said lovely girlfriend was concerned about why I wasn't laughing..."
3 min: "Comfortably the maddest film I've seen is Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Peter Fonda is in it FFS!" says Gary Naylor. I watched the George Lazenby classic On Her Majesty's Secret Service the other day. I didn't realise how bad he was. It's as if they replaced him with a robot.
2 min: Manchester United have lined up with Danny Welbeck on the right, while Shinji Kagawa appears to have license to roam as he pleases from the left.
1 min: And we're off at a snowy White Hart Lane. Tottenham, all in white, get us going, attacking from left to right. Manchester United are wearing their red shirts and black shorts. "Nice that you put up a photograph of Dennis Violett scoring," says Stephen Shaw. "I remember seeing him playing for Great Harwood in the Lancashire Combination at the end of his career. He was class even then."
The teams are in the tunnel. And now they're on the pitch, just like that. Let's get on with it. "Stupider film than Die Another Day?" says Peter Harmer. "Easy - Brotherhood of the Wolf - The film begins during the French Revolution with the aged Marquis d'Apcher writing his memoirs in a castle, while the voices of a mob can be heard from outside. The film flashes back to 1764 when a mysterious beast terrorised the province of Gévaudan and nearby lands. Grégoire de Fronsac, a knight and the royal taxidermist of King Louis XV of France, and his Iroquois companion Mani, arrive in Gévaudan to capture the beast."
I've thought of another film. This is comfortably the stupidest film of all time.
"Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers," says James Barnes. "Beat that." Ok.
"Hawrite ubiquity's Jacob Steinberg!" says Ryan Dunne. "Given the Hoth-like conditions, is nobody else surprised that, in our commercialised age, football teams haven't thought of having Snow Strips (to go with original, change, third) for special conditions? They could have fur on them! I'd be up for a furry, Red White and Blue Glorious Glasgow Rangers number."
"Full snow suit on for today's MBM, Jacob?" says Simon McMahon. "Boots, ski goggles, the lot I hope." I'm dressed like I'm in the ice castle in Die Another Day. What a ridiculous film. Name a stupider film.
The White Hart Lane pitch has just passed a pitch inspection after a day of snow.
Preamble? No time for a preamble! Let's get on with it.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton; Lennon, Parker, Dembele, Bale; Dempsey; Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Jones, Cleverley; Kagawa, Van Persie, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Valencia, Anderson, Rooney, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez.
Chris Hoy Chris Foy.