Ashley Young returns at a crucial time for Manchester United

Manchester United kept up their pursuit of Manchester City in the title race with a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. In a game which saw Wayne Rooney make a goalscoring return to the United side, the influence of another returning forward that grabbed the plaudits.

After a goalscoring performance for England in their midweek defeat to Holland, Ashley Young continued his impressive form for his club side. In a frustrating first season at United, which has seen impressive form interrupted by injury, his return to a United side still in the hunt for honours and with this summer’s European Championship looming, the former Aston Villa man’s recent performance will give both his club and his country plenty of cause for optimism.

On the stroke of half time, having seen Emmanuel Adebayor’s strike for Spurs disallowed, United would turn the tide of the game, with Young’s first key moment of the match. Combining with fellow England international, Rooney, restored to the United side after illness, getting in front of his marker to head home from Young’s corner kick, to give United the lead going into the interval.

Much like the first half, United would again pounce after a period of dominance from the hosts. On the hour mark, after a strong run from Nani, his cross could not be cleared by the Tottenham defence, falling to Young at the far post, to finish impressively, his acrobatic volley from a tight angle, managing to clear three retreating defenders as well as Brad Friedel in the Spurs goal. After doubling United’s advantage, Young would double his tally for the afternoon just nine minutes later in a manner fast becoming a trademark finish for the England winger.

Receiving the ball from Patrice Evra, Young drove in towards the edge of the penalty area, unleashing a curling effort around Friedel, finding the top corner to seal the points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. After finding the net with an identical strike against Arsenal back in August, Young’s return to the sensational form of the beginning of the season, after a stop-start, injury-plagued campaign, Young’s form could be pivotal as the title contenders look to their upcoming title run-in.

Sitting two points behind rivals Manchester City, United enter the final months of the season looking to produce another end-of-season surge, which has become synonomous with Sir Alex’s United sides. With key players, including Rooney and Young, returning to the side in good form, United would appear to be as strong contenders as ever, to chase yet another Premier League crown.

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