LONDON – Christian Eriksen fired the fastest Premier League goal of the season as the Tottenham midfielder’s strike after 11 seconds inspired a 2-0 win over Manchester United on Wednesday.
In the Premier League era, Eriksen’s express finish is tied for second-quickest with a Mark Viduka effort for Leeds against Charlton in 2001.
Only Ledley King’s 10-second goal for Tottenham against Bradford in 2000 and Alan Shearer’s after the same time for Newcastle against Manchester City in 2003 are ahead of Eriksen and Viduka.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side made the most of their explosive start, and an own goal from United defender Phil Jones wrapped up the points before halftime.
After taking just three points in five games this season against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United, this was a much-needed statement that Tottenham can still compete with the big guns despite an inconsistent campaign.
Fifth-placed Tottenham are now just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.
The north Londoners, unbeaten in their last seven league games, head to Anfield for a crucial clash with third-placed Liverpool on Sunday.
Second-placed United’s first defeat in nine league matches leaves them trailing 15 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Adding to Jose Mourinho’s misery, Alexis Sanchez was utterly anonymous in his first league appearance for United following his blockbuster move from Arsenal.
It was also the first time United midfielder Paul Pogba had finished on the losing team in 37 Premier League appearances, dating back to October 2016.
Tottenham paraded new signing Lucas Moura at halftime, but the former Paris Saint Germain winger’s new teammates quickly showed they already have plenty of attacking power.
With a Premier League record crowd of 81 978 still getting settled in their seats, Eriksen gave Tottenham the perfect start at Wembley.
Harry Kane overwhelmed Jones to flick a header into Dele Alli, and he clipped a deft pass to Eriksen, who punished United’s slack marking by firing home from close-range for his eighth club goal of the season.
Jones was struggling to deal with the movement of Tottenham’s forwards, and Kane evaded him for a shot that forced United goalkeeper David de Gea into action.
A bad night for the United defender got even worse in the 28th minute.
When Kieran Trippier whipped over a low cross from the right, Jones should have cleared easily, but instead he responded with a panicked attempt that diverted the ball past the stunned De Gea at his near post.
United were short of energy and composure, and it didn’t help that they were getting a subdued performance from Sanchez.
The Chile forward was jeered mercilessly by Tottenham fans for his time with their arch rivals Arsenal, and hardly looked worthy of his billing as the Premier League’s highest-paid player.
Pochettino has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but when his team play like this, they are a match for Europe’s superpowers.
Tottenham were in complete control, and should have had a penalty before halftime when Antonio Valencia hacked down Alli, only for referee Andre Marriner to ignore their appeals.
So poor in the first half, United finally found some rhythm after the interval, but they were denied a penalty when Son Heung-Min blocked a Sanchez header with his arm, while Lukaku saw his drive turned over by Hugo Lloris.
That was the extent of the United comeback bid, and Son almost rubbed salt into their wounds with a stinging drive that De Gea pushed over.
With Tottenham fans serenading their team’s passing with chants of ‘olé, olé’, United’s ignominious evening was completed when Mourinho took off Marouane Fellaini just seven minutes after sending him on as a substitute, although it was unclear if the Belgian was injured.