Once again, Manchester United have the chance to end an unconvincing season with a blitz of the finest silver. The winners of this competition under Louis van Gaal in 2016 and the Europa League and the League Cup under José Mourinho last year secured a place in another final after condemning Tottenham and their coach Mauricio Pochettino to another campaign without coronation [1
But in a heated atmosphere, it was Spurs warming up the quickest, Harry Kane within 30 seconds of her first shot and Son Heung-min's clever twist United Defense in the second minute into real trouble. From the beginning, United fought with the speed and intensity of their game, and when they found their way back into the competition, it was only after Tottenham himself pointed the way. Mousa Dembélé, one of several key players who were ultimately disappointed with the Spurs, let the ball play deep in his own half, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sánchez combined brutal, beautiful punishments and from then on the game changed.
This was after Spurs, dominating the early exchange, had taken the lead with the goal of humiliating simplicity. Ashley Young forced himself to push the ball deep into the Tottenham half and Davinson Sánchez struck him long in the gap that the United left-back would have had to cover. It was a place that Christian Eriksen had in his own right and with Pogba behind him, he took the time to measure his cross, which Deli Alli entered.
There could be more in the following minutes. Sons looping cross was just too long for Kane, and his low cross seemed to be rebuilt by Alli until Phil Jones cleared it. Kane built up Eriksen for a shot that bounced through the gate and Son's attempt hit Valencia.
Michel Vorm, who had held the post for Spurs during the Cup run, was up to Kieran Trippier, with the ball on the right flank, declined the chance and instead went to Mousa Dembélé, who might have brought the ball into contact, but had tried to pass Pogba and failed. From there, the Frenchman turned and delivered a delicious mid-dipping Sánchez head for the equalizer.
At that moment, United gave encouragement to adjust to the intensity of the rivals, and the remainder of the first half was much more balanced and ended with good long-range shots from both sides. Pogba's curler was tipped off the post and Eric Dier's drive in injury time was deflected by Chris Smalling and hit David de Gea's right post.
Smalling also got Tottenham's first noteworthy shot in the second half, deflecting kane's effort far. The fact that this happened almost 14 minutes after the break reflects a phase of diminished speed and precision. But now it was United who more often won the second balls and had the edge in the first races. The Spurs were pushed into error. Ander Herrera embodies the better work ethic by scoring the second goal. He sprinted the entire length of the field and came with perfect timing to the edge of Tottenham's penalty area. Sánchez's left pass threw Romelu Lukaku's lugs, was left by Jesse Lingard, and the Spaniard's low ride flashed past Vorm.
After surviving their bad start, United flourished to finally show authority. Pogba impressed again, got an assist and beat some delicious long passes to Lukaku. Sánchez showed the effervescence that marked his finer performances for Arsenal. Spurs, increasingly frustrated, sometimes played as if their main target was not United's goal, but Lingard's ankle. With Kane peripheral for a long time, there was only one big chance as they watched the game as Victor Wanyama Érik Lamela's free kick went harmlessly high in the 89th minute. Instead, United, a weird time on a pair of substitutions, could have broadened their advantage in the resulting downtime. First Lukaku only let Marcus Rashford free for Dier to exterminate him in the penalty area, and then Vorm ran out of his area to block a pass on Lukaku – with his back instead of what many United fans suspected was his hands. But if this win was never meant to be comfortable, he was convincing in the end.