Tottenham vs. Manchester United (Recap/Rant)
Tottenham drew 1-1 with Manchester United in London following goals from new boys Steven Bergwijn and Bruno Fernandes. The result leaves the table as it was, with United and Spurs sitting at 5th and 8th respectively. The Red Devils dominated the ball, finishing the game with 61.1% possession. They also completed over 200 more passes than Spurs. It was not a pretty game for the home side at all and ended in a very frustrating way, but I’m sure if you asked 100 fans before the game, most of them would have said they would be happy with a draw, considering the form United were in heading into the lockdown.
The game started with a little back and forth, both teams were trying to get a feel for the game again. United started to settle down first on the ball and started to take control of it. The difference between to two midfields was noticeable early on. Fred and McTominay have formed a very good partnership over the season, while Winks and Sissoko were often clashing due to the similar styles of play.
Spurs were allowing United to play out of the back, but were doing a good job of not letting them get chances in the final third. United found themselves with the first big chance of the game in the 22nd minute. A cross from Fernandes was deflected to the feet of Rashford, who then tried to fire it home first-time, but a great feet-save from Lloris denied the visitors. A few minutes later, the referee blew his whistle for the first cooling break. A few minutes after play resumed, Bergwijn found himself clear on goal after poor defending from Maguire. He then fired it on goal and De Gea could only parry it into his own net. Aurier got the assist after he won the ball following Shaw’s header. Bergwijn has scored in all three home league games for Spurs that he has been involved in.
Spurs soon got another chance as Bergwijn played a beautiful ball from the right side of the box over to an unmarked Son, who heads a good shot on goal, but De Gea was ready and tipped it over the bar. The momentum continued for Spurs as they took control of the game heading into the break.
Paul Pogba was brought on with Mason Greenwood with around 30 minutes to play. The game was almost instantly changed as United started to take control once again. United had back-to-back good chances just a few minutes after he was brought on, including another great save from Lloris, denying Martial. Mourinho used his only subs of the game after the second cooling break, bringing on Gio Lo Celso and Gedson Fernandes for Lamela and Bergwijn.
Spurs couldn’t contain Pogba forever, and that was made clear after his clever footwork to get around Dier and draw the penalty. (RANT ALERT) It was a very poor decision from Dier, one that makes me question the team selection. I do not understand why Mourinho would rather play a midfielder at that position and not Toby or Jan, I understand they may not be fully fit, but if one plays the first half and the other plays the second, it will allow the team to have quality without risking too much. Davidson and Jan or Davidson and Toby could have seen us win the game. Aurier and Davies actually played well today, despite a few moments of poor positioning. Now, back to the game. Fernandes put the penalty away brilliantly and equalized in the 81st minute.
Part of me wanted us to keep pushing forward and find a winner, but the realistic side of me knew that United was the better side and would without a doubt punish us if we were too aggressive. Gedson and Lo Celso did a good job of moving the ball up the field but at that time I could tell the players that started the game were not going to do anything. I think Bergwijn should have stayed on. Harry Kane hardly touched the ball all game, he was not fully fit. It reminded me of the Champions League finals last season. He was returning from a lengthy injury and was silent throughout the whole game. Son played decent considering he is returning from an injury as well.
The 90th-minute penalty call was thankfully overturned, the fact that it was given in the first place made it seem like the ref had money on the visitors. The whistle finally blew after yet another good chance for United in the 5th minute of stoppage time. Spurs remain four points behind United, but pull within two of Sheffield and one of Wolves, both with games in hand.
Spurs’ next game is at home against West Ham on Tuesday, while United head back home to face Sheffield in another big match in the race for Europe on Wednesday.