|OPPONENTS||Manchester United at Old Trafford|
|DATE||Monday 27th August 2018|
Is it a good time to play United ? Well, if you believe the media
reports of Mourinho losing the dressing room, players criticising
the style of play and a rift between manager and Chief Executive.
For Spurs, it is never a particularly good time to play Manchester
United at Old Trafford, with our recent record not bad, but over the
years it has been a bit of a points graveyard for us.
Spurs have their own worries, with Danny Rose supposedly leaving for PSG in the next few days, with the French club also looking to bid for Christian Eriksen (whose contract talks have reportedly hit the buffers) and Toby Alderweireld a target for United in January, while, all the while, the new stadium is casting a large shadow over where the team will play their matches (unsurprising, the size of it !).
Bur on the pitch, things have gone well for Tottenham with two wins out of two and while they have not hit their stride yet (and neither have United), there are a few signs that things are coming together. It is a question of players returning from the World Cup lacking game sharpness and Pochettino not yet being able to play a first choice XI. The monkey off Kane's back in August will help, with Eriksen looking sharp, Trippier a new threat from free-kicks, Moura a willing nuisance to other teams and Jan and Toby back in tandem at the heart of our defence. With Lamela and Winks returning to the squad, there are a variety of options for the manager, who will probably go three at the back to put pressure on United and try to capitalise on their frailties.
With Manchester United regularly linked with interest in Alderweireld, Kane, Rose, Trippier and Dier, Tottenham must be doing something right !
While the media are already writing off United, you have to realise that their squad has a lot of quality in it. Pogba showed in the World Cup that he can run games when on form; de Gea is a top quality keeper; Mata can open up defences with his passing; Matic directs things from in front of the back four; Lukaku can be a handful when he wants to be and Rashford and Lingard add youthful energy up front. They have the smattering of annoying players, such as Herrera, Fellaini, Sanchez and Young, but I don't know much about Fred, but he cost a lot of money, although the game in Ukraine is very different to the Premier League.
The weakness of the United team, apart from their disjointedness caused by players not playing as a cohesive unit, is their defence. Mourinho has benefited from inheriting solid defences or at least stable ones. At United he has not and in trying to rectify that, has spent big money on players who have not made a difference (Lindelhof and Bailly), leaving him with a problem that he had hoped Ed Woodward would solve by negotiating the signing of Toby Alderweireld. Will this be an audition for a January move to United for the Belgian international or an opportunity to see that he is better off where he is than at the Theatre of Dreams ? With Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Rojo and Valencia all suspect, Tottenham could find space to create in wide positions, although Luke Shaw is having an upsurge in form despite a fractious relationship with the manager.
I think that he might play a
part in a narrow Tottenham victory that will improve on our good
start so far and heap more pressure on the United manager, but for
Mourinho, it is not pressure, as he has enough money to worry about
being dismissed and enough of a CV to get another top job somewhere
if he fails at Old Trafford.
|PREDICTION||Manchester United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Premier League||Kick off 20:00|
Tottenham Hotspur 3 (0)
Kane 49m 29s
Moura 51m 42s
Moura 83m 56s
|Crowd : 74,400||Weather : Dry, mild|
|Referee : Craig Pawson (Sheffield)||Assistant Referees : Mr, Ed Smart; Mr. Richard West|
|Fourth Official : Jon Moss|
|Manchester United kicked off and played towards the East Stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
Herrera (foul on Moura) 19
Valencia (foul on Dele) 58
Moura (foul on Jones) 10
Kane (foul on Valencia) 24
Rose (foul on Pogba) 77
|Manchester United :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
David de GEA
21 Ander HERRERA ( 7 Alexis SANCHEZ 55)
12 Chris SMALLING
4 Phil JONES ( 2 Victor LINDELOF 58)
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Kieran TRIPPIER (24
10 Harry KANE (29 Harry WINKS 89)
|Manager : Jose Mourinho||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : EON||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Tottenham were slightly off the pace in the first half at Old Trafford, but by the end they had out-stripped the home team, easing to a 3-0 win that maintained a 100% record after three games and more importantly, a blow against the constant focus on our record against other top six sides away from home. Harry Kane and a brace form Lucas Moura heaped pressure on Jose Mourinho and his side and while they had first half chances, Spurs should have been ahead with a blatant penalty ignored by the referee.
Having lost Erik Lamela in
the kick up before the game, Pochettino had to change the bench with
Amos joining the subs, but the side was changed moving to a
back four with the re-introduction of Danny Rose, while Mousa
Dembele came in to pair up with Eric Dier in front of them.
Lucas Moura continued up front with Harry Kane.
Spurs had a move break down
on their right wing and United took advantage of the space where
Trippier should have been to play in Shaw, whose low ball pulled
back to Lukaku was scuffed and Lloris got his body behind the shot.
Valencia tried an effort from range, but it was well wide and that
followed Herrera crude hack on Moura that saw him go in the
refereeís book. Pawson got a bit trigger happy booking Kane for a
foul on Valencia when the United captain rolled around after losing
a tackle. It hinted that the obvious would happen sooner or later.
United were living dangerously at the back with de Gea lofting a
ball just over Mouraís head and
United built a bit of
pressure when they worked a ball to Pogba, but Lloris parried his
low shot away, although it went back in for the ball to bounce off
Janís leg and agonisingly drift narrowly wide. A couple of corners
saw United players try to box Lloris in, but he got one away and
then punched the second after the corner came in. Unitedís fans felt
robbed every time their players lost the ball and didnít get a
free-kick, while Tottenham nearly had a chance, when Vertonghenís
long ball into the box unexpectedly dropped at Mouraís feet with his
back to goal. He ran it out to Eriksen, but his shot bobbled through
to de Gea without causing him too much worry. Moura was involved
again, as a long ball from the right went over his head (and he was
baulked by Herrera) to Dele at the back of the box. He took a touch
and lined up a shot that was blocked by the recovering Herrera.
Lucas was just a foot away from Deleís pass into the middle of the
box and that was about the last notable
United started the second
half as they did the first, with Dele getting brought down and not
being given a free-kick allowing the home team to break up the left
with Shaw, whose pass inside found Pogba. His curled effort had Hugo
scrambling, but went wide. Spurs got up the other end with Kane
getting away on the left and looking for Moura in the centre of
goal, but de Gea knocked his low cross up into the air and once
again, just over Lucasí head. Then, a long pass down the right and
United looked to hit back
straight away and when a bobbling ball around the edge of the box
was controlled by Dembele, but straight into the path of fellow
countryman Lukaku, his immediate shot was well pushed wide by
Lloris. Chances came thick and fast, with Spurs capitalising. It was
Eriksen on the right again, this time ignoring Kaneís run to the
near post to drag the ball back to Moura, who beat Herrera to it and
steered a low shot into de Geaís right hand corner to make it 2-0
within a couple of minutes.
As ever, a 50-50 went
Unitedís way and a free-kick was given when Pogba should have been
penalised. The free-kick came to nothing, but it needed some
determined chasing the ball down to deny United any momentum. Spurs
managed a couple of balls into the box, which were just a little
ahead of the runners, but Tottenham were still looking to hit United
on the break. Fellaini went down as Trippier engaged with him by
grabbing his arm, but there had already been a nudge by the Belgian,
so no penalty was given despite the crowdís imploring.
Lucas Moura showed that his fitness has made him a player who can make a difference in games, so is like a new signing. His effort as well as his finishing showed a player who is revelling in playing regular football. His link up play with Kane up top might need a little polishing, but if they score like this, they will continue to improve. Eriksen made a telling contribution to our attacks, but the midfield worked hard and the defence were sharp to keep United at bay. It was also the way that we created our goals. Kane losing Jones for the first, Eriksenís run into space and the well weighted ball in front of Moura for the second and then the sleight of foot to leave Smalling for dead by Moura to slot past de Gea for number three. All quality goals and using the weaknesses in Unitedís defence.
Pochettino deserves great
credit for his choices and the way the team was set up. Mourinho
sprung a surprise at the back, but despite having some half-chances,
with Lukakuís from Roseís back pass the best. Spurs could have had a
penalty and then Dele had a similar chance in the second half, but
couldnít make the most of the poor back pass. The three goals came
against one save that Lloris had to make from Lukaku and the lack of
threat showed how far United have fallen.
Sid E Netting
Jose Mourinho's biggest home defeat in his managerial career.
Mauricio Pochettino's 200th career game as a manager.
Manchester United's 50th home Premier League defeat.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Arsenal||3||West Ham United London||1||Saturday|
|Huddersfield Town||0||Cardiff City||0||Saturday|
|Liverpool||1||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Saturday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||1||Manchester City||1||Saturday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||3||1||0||2||3||5||3||-2|
|20||West Ham United London||3||0||0||3||2||9||0||-7|
Position before match :
Position after match : 2nd
Position after the weekend : 2nd
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