Friday, 8 April 2016

Tottenham vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

The penultimate month of the Premier League features a blockbuster game today between two teams in the top 5: Tottenham against United at White Hart Lane. The North London club are currently 2nd after 32 games with 62 points whereas the Reds of Manchester lie in 5th place after 31 games with 53 points, one point off 4thplaced Manchester City.

Tottenham are challenging for the title this season after playing some brilliant football. Their season has consisted of some stand-out performances from the likes of Harry Kane, who the league’s top goal scorer with 22 goals so far. Dele Alli, a young English attacking midfielder, has certainly caught the eye this season with 7 goals and 5 assists in the league. Spurs as a whole have deserved their place in the league since they have one of the best defences in the league (United’s is the best this season with the most clean sheets but that’s no surprise…well maybe it is). They have also only lost twice away from home this season. That’s enough praise now for Spurs.

United on the other hand have endured a very mediocre season: with the magnitude of the club much more is expected. We do accept that we are still in a phase of a transitional period under Louis Van Gaal but our season can still and will be justified with some silverware (from the FA Cup) and a place in Europe, preferably the Champions League. United’s top goal scorer this season has been Anthony Martial with 8 goals and even though he has had a good season, in comparison to Tottenham’s top goal scorer Harry Kane, United’s front line has been below average. Our squad should have a number of strikers each of whom are scoring 15+ goals as a minimum.

Today’s game will certainly be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, both teams desperately need 3 points for their respective campaigns. For Tottenham, a win would keep them in 2nd place and up to 65 points. For them, it is vital that they win and keep the pressure on Leicester since they need to close the gap of 7 points if they want to win the league this season. United need a win today to keep their hopes of a top-four finish and a Champions League place alive. A lot is at stake for the Red Devils with three points lifting them into 4th place with 56 points above our noisy neighbours City. Even if we win our place is dependent on other fixtures. For example, a win for City will keep them above us. Moreover, it is a three-horse race for 4th place with West Ham United also challenging so no team can really afford to slip up at this crucial stage.

Another reason why today’s game will be interesting is because of the way in which it will be played. As previously stated, both teams cannot afford anything other than a win so how will they both play. Could the game end as 0-0 draw if both teams decide to play a defensive game at the expense of not losing? Maybe the game will finish 1-1 if the fixture is a cagey affair since both teams will be cautious of losing and not gaining any points. Or could we have a 2-2 draw where both teams go attacking but one scores a last-gasp equaliser? The likelihood of a 3-0 thumping from one side is pretty unlikely but if the league has taught us anything this season then it is its unpredictability and to expect the unexpected!

In Tottenham’s last game, they drew 1-1 to Liverpool at Anfield. It was obvious that their manager Pochettino was devastated and viewed the result as “two points lost” rather “one point gained”. Tottenham cannot afford to pick up 2 points out of a possible 6 in their last two games so a draw today is really not an option for them. Kane scored a brilliant equaliser for them against Liverpool so United’s defence will need to stick to him like glue. Smalling most likely will be the man to do this after marking Lukaku against Everton. Spurs are likely to keep the same starting 11 that played against Liverpool.

United found themselves picking up another 3 points after beating Everton last week at Old Trafford. Martial scored his eight goal of the season and United’s 1000th home goal in the Premier league. We also kept a clean sheet which was a bonus. United too will most likely keep the same starting 11 that played against Everton although Blind is a doubt for the game after picking up a knock.

Hopefully we will be for a great game. Score predictions? We are going for a 2-2 draw but if things go our way then United could sneak a 2-1 victory. #GGMU

Line-Up Analysis:

Man Utd have switched up formation today choosing to play a 4-2-3-1. In goal remains the enforcer that is De Gea. In defence sit Blind,Rojo, Smalling and Fosu-Mensah. In a game as crucial as this I do question why Darmian has been left on the bench and Mensah is starting. Overall the defence is pretty much what is expected. In defensive midfield positions sit Schneiderlin and Carrick. Both need to defend well today and really provide solid cover for the defence otherwise Utd could be punished today by Spurs. In attacking midfield sit Mata, Lingard and Martial. In the striker position sits Rashford. Now the problem that I'm starting to have is perhaps Utd are lacking leadership in the absence of Captain Rooney. They are not getting that leadership from Carrick either I think. And another problem is how is Rashford managing to keep his place in the first team, how that's been allowed to unfold is somewhat shocking. Martial should be playing that striker position and I think today he will be the man expected to infiltrate the Spurs defence and it's a much harder job doing so from the wide position he is playing. Lingard has been quite the past few games and same goes for Mata, he really needs to up his game if Utd are going to pose any threat.

First Half Analysis:

Manchester United took on Spurs at White Hart Lane on Sunday at 4pm and in the first half it was a really close game, United dominated the opening twenty minutes having more possession but not creating any real chances to score. As the first half went on Spurs grew into the game and started to threaten De Gea’s goal.

In the second part of the first half Spurs were really troubling United’s back line with the pace they have in their front line, but United managed to deal with it. De Gea made a couple of good saves to keep the game goalless and both teams went in at half time 0-0.

Second Half Analysis:

The second half got off to a bizarre start with Ashely Young replacing Marcus Rashford upfront leaving Anthony Martial on the left wing. The latest of so many mind boggling substitutions made by Louis van Gaal. Tottenham swarmed all over United with the high energy pressing too much for them to handle. The difference in the two teams was incredible Tottenham full of energy, enthusiasm and creativity compared to a United team that mirrors its manager, dull and lacklustre.


It took Tottenham until the 70th minute to find a breakthrough that came from Dele Ali. A goal that Manchester United are incapable of scoring with the quick thinking of Harry Kane to pick out the run of Christian Erikson who found Dele Ali in the box. This was the first goal in a 10 minute collapse from United. The second goal for Tottenham came from shocking defending by Marcos Rojo who's half hearted pathetic attempt to challenge Toby Alderwerield failed miserably allowing the Belgian defender to smash in a loping header. The rout was complete when yet more horrific defending from Matteo Darmian allowed Danny Rose to sure down the left wing and pick out Erik Lamela who pinged to ball past David De Gea to finish off yet another miserable performance from Louis van Gaal and his team. It could have been 5 or 6 to Spurs who must have taken pity on this embarrassing team and clueless manager.

Individual Player Performances:

3 best players:

Fosu Mensah- He was by far the best player on the pitch for us. Pure talent. Put in a great shift at right back. Hope his injury isn't too serious

David De Gea- This man performs week in and week out and never seems to have an off game. Today the three goals conceded were dependent on factors out of his control. Poor defending and marking is not his fault. Last season he carried us to fourth place, can he do it again?

Martial- Our best attacking threat and our only shot on target throughout the whole game, came from an electrifying run from him. The shot was poor and was easily blocked by Lloris.

3 Worst players-

Rojo- Can be one of the best left backs in the league on his day but today wasn't his day. He was beaten for pace every time Kyle Walker came running down. He was also out strengthened which is rare to see. Couldn't get the ball into the feet of Martial very often.

Blind- This mans a player who works hard to overcome his shortcomings however today he was really bad and nearly let Dembele score as he stopped running waiting and praying for the offside flag which never came.

Young- Can this man ever do anything right in a red shirt? He only played for half the game and he was worse than most. He was sloppy in possession and couldn't find a pass.

Overall Analysis:

United started the game with a bang, the first 20 minutes were ours. There was good attacking play with a lot of possession as normal. Furthermore there was intent on the faces of the players to win. However it turned out that, that period was the best time for Manchester United in the whole game. Spurs took the game from us after the opening period. They were better defensively and offensively. There was a plan to deal with Kane which worked, but looks like the tactician forgot about Lamela, Eriksen and Alli.

Manchester United's defence was pretty rock solid for the first 60 minutes with the young and athletic Fosu-Mensah at right back keeping Eriksen quiet and it can be argued that Eriksen only came alive after Fosu-Mensah was subbed off. Smallings didn't look at his best and Blind is a poor excuse of a CB partner for Smalling. Marcos Rojo was poor also as he wasted possession again and again.

Danny Rose was a constant threat on the left flank, with his blistering pace, winning balls that shouldn't have been his. Dembele is also a great addition in midfield with his vision and passing prowess. Schneiderlin and Carrick were missing and could've actually learnt a thing or two from their Spurs counterpart. Alli is continuing to be a revelation for Spurs with a fantastic finish against David De Gea, who couldn't do anything about it apart from getting a hand to it. Alli was apart of the MK Dons team which beat Manchester United 4-0, no one thought to buy him then unfortunately.

Martial had the best chance of the game for us and that was it. Young was sloppy in possession and his hold up play was the worst I've seen in a long time. Lingard popped up a few times but nothing special from him either. And what was Memphis thinking, a pitch is a place of playing football not fighting.

Fourth place seems very far away now especially since City won their previous game increasing the point difference to 4 now. Will it be enough for Ed Woodward if United fail to achieve fourth, and will it finally cut the loose thread that Louis Van Gaal has been hanging on for a very long time now?

One things for certain, the Manchester United team bus should've stayed stuck on the M4.

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