At Old Trafford, it was a terrible Manchester United performance who were hammered by a brutal Tottenham Hotspur. Despite going down to ten men, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were insipid, spineless and he has a host of problems to resolve. For Jose Mourinho, revenge was very sweet.
Red Card for Anthony Martial No Excuse for Dire Manchester United
Manchester United were poor. They had a great start with Davinson Sanchez at fault, giving away a penalty after just two minutes. Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot once more. That was as good as it got for Manchester United. Two minutes later, Spurs were level through Tanguy Ndombele. The defending was comical. Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly were falling over each other and Ndombele was able to equalise. Then United capitulated. Harry Kane won a free-kick and was ahead of everyone as he popped the ball down and played the ball to Son Heung-min. Son chipped the ball over David De Gea and Spurs were ahead. This was a brutal Tottenham Hotspur performance.
When Tottenham gained a corner kick on the half-hour, Manchester United needed to keep their concentration. Instead, they went down to ten men. Erik Lamela was lucky not to see red himself as he pushed his arm across Anthony Martial. Martial reacted and pushed the Argentine in the face. The reaction from Lamela was over the top. The red card was issued to Martial but Lamela remained on the pitch. The red card did not change the game in reality. Tottenham could have been four, five or six up before the red card. Kane made it three one after the corner was taken and Son made it four just five minutes later, with Luke Shaw nowhere to be seen.
As bad as Manchester United were, that cannot detract from just how good Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham were. The reaction to the penalty and going behind so early was rapid. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was comfortable on the ball, with Moussa Sissoko and Erik Lamela giving the United backline and midfield no time on the ball. Kane often dropped deep and his playmaking performances are catching the eye. It would be hard to ignore the fact that Kane is one of, if not, the, best striker in world football right now. He is strong, athletic and clinical. In his post-match interview, Kane hit the nail on the head, telling Sky Sports: “We were ruthless.”
Serge Aurier got Tottenham’s fifth before Ben Davies was brought down by Paul Pogba and Kane scored from the spot. Tottenham hit United for six and it could have been so much worse for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ole at the Wheel
The issue facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is how he motivated his squad. Players who have commanded massive fees went missing. Some didn’t turn up at all. Pogba gave the ball away, shied away from challenges, and when he did challenge he gave away the penalty. The body language was languid. It was defeated and lazy.
Harry Maguire keeps making mistakes. His positional play is poor, he is missing challenges and the fee paid for him is looking like a huge millstone around his neck. Kane was stronger against him, more intelligent and quicker in every way. The penalty aside, Bruno Fernandes was anonymous.
The Manchester United fans sing of Ole being at the wheel. At this moment, that wheel has fallen off and United need to act quickly to avoid driving into a crisis.
Tottenham Showing Clear Signs of Toughening Up
Jose Mourinho wants his Spurs side to be tougher; to be clever and brutal. At Old Trafford, his players were all of those things. Tough, strong, physical and clinical. Tottenham Hotspur have played four games in seven days, collecting four points in the Premier League, going through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and advancing to the group stages of the Europa League.
It’s been a week full of positives and a bright season looks to be in order for Jose Mourinho’s brutal Tottenham Hotspur.