James Lawton: Fergie always finds way to fan United's flickering flame
Howard Webb and his team of World Cup final officials were roughly a millimetre away from yet another goal-line controversy, but if there is any lingering uncertainty about the denial of the goal Demba Ba claimed when David de Gea scooped away his header, another debate is surely stone dead.
It is the one suggesting that Alex Ferguson, despite the acquisition of Robin van Persie, has recently been doing no more than attempting to delay the realities of inevitable decline.
Tottenham's win at Old Trafford, a defence apparently approaching the point of a collective nervous breakdown and a midfield running short of both legs and creativity, may have written the word 'crisis' in the sky above Tyneside yesterday. United, though, kept their heads down and applied them to the tricky challenge of subduing the likes of Ba and Papiss Cisse.