It took a 6 minute blitz from Spurs to further dent Manchester United’s hopes of gaining a place in the Champions League.
United started the game well, taking advantage of the game’s late kick off and seemingly catching Tottenham cold but they despite this they failed to muster a shot on goal.
Erik Lamela could have given Spurs the lead but managed to direct his header wide from just yards out as United sought an offside call.
At the heart of United’s impressive player was youngster Timothy Fosu Mensah who was everywhere, cleaning up at the back as well as pressing forward but having to go off injured, things fell apart for United.
Spurs first goal came from Fosu Mensah’s replacement Matteo Darmian falling asleep and it was down hill from there.
United’s capitulation won’t have come as a massive shock as we have seen it before, but it is still a far cry from the United we had grown accustomed to under Sir Alex Ferguson and largely Louis Van Gaal has to shoulder the blame again with some baffling decisions.
We spoke to Jason Cundy about the game and he has some interesting points to make about United and Van Gaal:
United turned up late and it seemed to affect Spurs more. It isn’t nice for either party, the late comers or the team waiting. Being told told you’re waiting half an hour throws you off mentally and physically and it can be hard to readjust. I’ve experienced it with Ipswich I think it was, and remember having to warm up and stretch on the bus!
It looked like United were more prepared for it than Spurs. They started quicker and Spurs couldn’t deal with them even if United were unable to create any real chances. United looked decent at the back, were winning the midfield battle and managed to isolate Kane up top.
Whilst very impressive, Timothy Fosu Mensah going off shouldn’t have changed anything. He’s not a dominating midfielder or a player in that mould (despite having played in midfield at u21 and u18) but this and another important moment changed the course of the game. Martial had a chance at 0-0 that he should have scored; he did well to create it but if he scores it, it becomes a different game. He went for power and hammers it Lloris when he would have done better to pick a corner and place it. With that chance squandered and Fosu Mensah going off, Spurs seized the opportunity.
Their first goal came directly from Fosu Mensah’s absence, his replacement Darmian was asleep and the capitulation that followed was shocking.
A large part of the problem on Sunday was selection; I don’t think Mata can play wide of a front 3 and the change he made at half time had me and everyone else scratching their heads. I thought I was seeing things when he took Rashford off, brought Young on and then proceeded to play the winger as a centre-forward whilst leaving an actual forward in Anthony Martial on the wing.
I get the impression he doesn’t fancy Martial as a striker, which is strange to me given that he has scored some good and important goals for United this season.
It would have made more sense to have Lingard and Young out wide, Mata in the middle and Martial up top but he got every single player wrong, and that takes some doing to get 0 out of 4 right!
It’s another set back for United, who have seen the 1 point gap between them and City open up to 4 again and with time and games running out they may miss out on the Champions League.