New look Spurs punish lacklustre Manchester United
Manchester United’s vulnerabilities were exploited in their first loss of the season as they were blown away by a stylish display from the hosts.
The two sides came into the second round of fixtures after conflicting openers, as despite a positive performance Spurs shared the spoils at the Gtech Community Stadium, meanwhile Manchester United’s lacklustre win at home posed more questions on what to expect this season.
The home side made two changes, as Pedro Porro and Pape Matar Sarr came in for Emerson Royal and Oliver Skipp respectively. The visitors remained unchanged but Harry Maguire found himself left out of the squad which only added to the uncertainty of his future.
The hosts attempted to follow Ange Postecoglou’s blueprint from the off, with full-backs inverting during build-up as wingers held the width higher up the pitch.
Chances came early as Antony released Rashford who forced Vicario into a solid save. United once again looked uncomfortable with defensive transitions, Kulusevski was left with an abundance of space on a number of occasions vacated by Luke Shaw.
A penalty appeal for a handball by Christian Romero was waved away by referee Michael Oliver, who deemed the Argentine to be in a natural position. Arguably the best chance of the half fell to Bruno Fernandes who couldn’t get his header on target.
The sides went into the break with the match perfectly poised but the away team in particular would have rued missed chances.
The Lilywhites came out of the blocks flying after the interval and took the lead courtesy of Pape Matar Sarr after Kulsuvski’s cross was deflected directly into his path. Antony almost squared the game again shortly after with his trademark cutting in onto his left foot and bending it around the keeper but was denied by the post.
In a desperate attempt to salvage at least a point from the game the visitors made three changes. Which saw Bruno Fernandes returned to his questionable role out wide that seemingly never fails to underwhelm.
Making little in the way of genuine opportunities, United’s slumber was punished once more, a cross from Perisic scuffed off the boot of substitute Davies before Lisandro Martinez put it into his own net.
Albeit early in the season, both Wolves and Spurs have created the formula in which to dominate Manchester United – the midfield. The trio of Casemiro, Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes hasn’t just failed to impress but has performed miserably thus far. Too many gaps and struggling to link defence to attack consistently has made them easy to play against.
Their baron run of form away against the top nine teams in the league continues with just one draw in nine matches.
Meanwhile, Postecoglou will be delighted with how his new-look Spurs side has started the season with two positive displays and four points already on the table.
Ange Postecoglou heaped praise on his players and said: “We put on a show and showed the team we want to be. There is a long way to go but I really liked what the players did today.”
Ten Hag commented: “I liked the first half, a very good performance but we have to score. We created good chances, really good press and had many chances to score.”