Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United Match Analysis

In what was arguably the worst performance of the season, Manchester United were essentially spectators for what eventually became a 2-0 victory for Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

United came out in a 4-3-3 featuring Ashley Young at left back, Valencia at right back and Phil Jones and Smalling plugging the middle.

With Young figuring to venture forward along with Valencia, the centre-back pairing of Jones and Smalling figured to have to withstand plenty of pressure.  It was obvious from the opening whistle, the duo wasn't up to the task.

Tottenham nearly scored the fastest goal in Premier League history when just 11 seconds into the match, Vertonghen played a long ball from his own half of the field that was headed down in the box by Harry Kane.  The ball found its way to Christian Eriksen in acres of space in the attacking box, and the winger fired one past a helpless David de Gea to give the home side a 1-0 advantage instantly.

Eriksen's goal at 11 seconds trails only another Spurs man Ledley King who scored a goal 10 seconds into a match away at Bradford City in December of 2000 for the fastest goal in Premier League history.

The goal seemed to put United on the back foot, and the visitors were unable to recover.

The midfield, particularly with the addition of Alexis Sanchez, figured to be the strength of the United side in this match, and for the rest of the season.  Sanchez joined Pogba, Lingard,Martial and Matic for what figured to be a potent attack.

What followed was poor linkup play, poor decision making and bad touches enabling Spurs to control the game, and keep the United defense on their heels all evening.

Prior to the Eriksen goal, United hadn't conceded in almost 600 minutes of play in all competitions.  After the Eriksen strike, they conceded just 27 minutes later.

Tottenham utilized a high press for most of the match and it was extremely effective in the first half especially.

Unable to play out of their own half, Spurs routinely had possession and took the United forward trio of Martial, Sanchez and especially Lukaku out of the game for the most part.

Kieran Trippier, who was a factor all day for Spurs on the flank, took a pass from Eriksen and played a ball low and hard toward Harry Kane.

Phil Jones had the run covered, but for some reason, the centre-back tried to play the ball awkwardly with his right foot instead of toe poking it with his left foot out of danger.  The result was what ended up being a somewhat brilliant finish into the top of the wrong goal to give the Spurs a 2-0 advantage which held to half time and then full time.

You figured at some point, United would fight back and out of half time, they had a moment of proactive play.

Playing out from the back, Lukaku found himself on the end of a well-weighted ball from Sanchez and fired one near post that Lloris was equal to and it kept United off the score board.

A goal there might have been early enough to buoy United's hopes but as it stood, Tottenham still had the 2-0 advantage.

As the half wore on, United's attack was barely a whimper and it was the United goal that was pressured with regularity as Harry Kane wasted chance after chance to get on the score sheet.

All told, Spurs had 22 attempts compared to only 6 for Man United on the day.

Of the 22, 6 were on target, while United only hit the target 3 times with all of the attempts saved by Hugo Lloris.

The Spurs maintained their high press which continued to keep United hemmed in for much of the second half.

Paul Pogba was rightfully subbed off in the 63rd minute for Juan Mata.  Pogba's touches betrayed him all day and he seemed at odds with Jose Mourinho in terms of his deployment in the match.  It appeared Mourinho wanted the midfielder in a more withdrawn role helping to linkup between the defense and forwards of United while the player wanted to push more forward.

With Pogba forward, Sanchez found himself in the box to box role assisting on defense, but limiting his value in attack.  In a day of awful performances, Sanchez was a small bright spot.

It appeared that United's plan for the match was to hit Tottenham on the counter, but being unable to play out from the back, the United play was thwarted and Mourinho couldn't come up with an answer.

Fans don't want to hear this, but it will take time integrating a player the level of Sanchez into the squad.  His involvement on the left side of the pitch made Martial move to the right.

The French winger had been in great form on the left and played terribly on the right against Tottenham today.  He routinely made bad decisions, and gave away the ball far too easily.  If he wants to keep his spot, he will need to figure out how to deal with the change.

Another note, Fellani was subbed on along with Mata to get some run and he was immediately subbed off after three minutes appearing ineffective and possibly injured again.

All in all, a completely lost day for the Red Devils-Simply not good enough,


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