OPPONENTS Manchester United at Old Trafford
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Monday 27th August 2018
PREVIEW Is it a good time to play United ? Well, if you believe the media reports of Mourinho losing the dressing room, players criticising the style of play and a rift between manager and Chief Executive.  For Spurs, it is never a particularly good time to play Manchester United at Old Trafford, with our recent record not bad, but over the years it has been a bit of a points graveyard for us.

Spurs have their own worries, with Danny Rose supposedly leaving for PSG in the next few days, with the French club also looking to bid for Christian Eriksen (whose contract talks have reportedly hit the buffers) and Toby Alderweireld a target for United in January, while, all the while, the new stadium is casting a large shadow over where the team will play their matches (unsurprising, the size of it !).

Bur on the pitch, things have gone well for Tottenham with two wins out of two and while they have not hit their stride yet (and neither have United), there are a few signs that things are coming together.  It is a question of players returning from the World Cup lacking game sharpness and Pochettino not yet being able to play a first choice XI.  The monkey off Kane's back in August will help, with Eriksen looking sharp, Trippier a new threat from free-kicks, Moura a willing nuisance to other teams and Jan and Toby back in tandem at the heart of our defence.  With Lamela and Winks returning to the squad, there are a variety of options for the manager, who will probably go three at the back to put pressure on United and try to capitalise on their frailties.

With Manchester United regularly linked with interest in Alderweireld, Kane, Rose, Trippier and Dier, Tottenham must be doing something right !

While the media are already writing off United, you have to realise that their squad has a lot of quality in it.  Pogba showed in the World Cup that he can run games when on form; de Gea is a top quality keeper; Mata can open up defences with his passing; Matic directs things from in front of the back four; Lukaku can be a handful when he wants to be and Rashford and Lingard add youthful energy up front.  They have the smattering of annoying players, such as Herrera, Fellaini, Sanchez and Young, but  I don't know much about Fred, but he cost a lot of money, although the game in Ukraine is very different to the Premier League.

The weakness of the United team, apart from their disjointedness caused by players not playing as a cohesive unit, is their defence.  Mourinho has benefited from inheriting solid defences or at least stable ones.  At United he has not and in trying to rectify that, has spent big money on players who have not made a difference (Lindelhof and Bailly), leaving him with a problem that he had hoped Ed Woodward would solve by negotiating the signing of Toby Alderweireld.  Will this be an audition for a January move to United for the Belgian international or an opportunity to see that he is better off where he is than at the Theatre of Dreams ?  With Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Rojo and Valencia all suspect, Tottenham could find space to create in wide positions, although Luke Shaw is having an upsurge in form despite a fractious relationship with the manager.

I think that he might play a part in a narrow Tottenham victory that will improve on our good start so far and heap more pressure on the United manager, but for Mourinho, it is not pressure, as he has enough money to worry about being dismissed and enough of a CV to get another top job somewhere if he fails at Old Trafford.

PREDICTION Manchester United    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Premier League Kick off 20:00
Manchester United  0 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  3 (0)


Kane  49m 29s
Moura  51m 42s
Moura  83m 56s
Crowd :   74,400 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee :  Craig Pawson (Sheffield) Assistant Referees :  Mr, Ed Smart; Mr. Richard West
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss  
Manchester United kicked off and played towards the East Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 minutes.
Herrera (foul on Moura)  19
Valencia (foul on Dele)  58

Moura (foul on Jones)   10
Kane (foul on Valencia)  24
Rose (foul on Pogba)  77


Manchester United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  David de GEA

21  Ander HERRERA       (  7   Alexis SANCHEZ  55)
12  Chris SMALLING
  Phil JONES  (  2  Victor LINDELOF  58)

25  Antonio VALENCIA     
  6  Paul POGBA
17  FRED
31  Nemaja MATIC  (27  Marouane FELLAINI  61)
23  Luke SHAW

14  Jesse LINGARD

  9  Romelu LUKAKU

Unused subs: 
13  Lee GRANT
18  Ashley YOUNG
10  Marcus RASHFORD

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER  (24  Serge AURIER  76)
  3  Danny ROSE       (33  Ben DAVIES  82)

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE

27  Lucas MOURA        
20  DELE Alli
Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE         (29  Harry WINKS  89)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  Luke AMOS
18  Fernando LLORENTE

Manager :  Jose Mourinho Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   EON Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Tottenham were slightly off the pace in the first half at Old Trafford, but by the end they had out-stripped the home team, easing to a 3-0 win that maintained a 100% record after three games and more importantly, a blow against the constant focus on our record against other top six sides away from home.  Harry Kane and a brace form Lucas Moura heaped pressure on Jose Mourinho and his side and while they had first half chances, Spurs should have been ahead with a blatant penalty ignored by the referee.

Having lost Erik Lamela in the kick up before the game, Pochettino had to change the bench with Amos joining the subs,  but the side was changed moving to a back four with the re-introduction of Danny Rose, while Mousa Dembele came in to pair up with Eric Dier in front of them.  Lucas Moura continued up front with Harry Kane.

An early chance came Manchester United's new signing Fredís way on 15 seconds, when Lingardís flick header saw the Brazilian benefit from a bounce of Toby Alderweireld and his quick shot was sliced to Llorisí left but wide.  The home side tried to impose themselves physically on Spurs, as Jan Vertonghen went down under a heavy tackle from Valencia and was holding his ankle, while his back was paining him after getting clattered by Lukaku, but Lucas Moura was the first in the book for a raised foot that caught Jones in the face. The first clear opening of the game came after Danny Rose hit a poor back pass and Lukaku was in on it. Lloris was out quickly to his left and while the Man U striker went around the keeper, he was pushed wide enough to force him to put his shot across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. It was a big opportunity and should really have been on target at the very least, but Hugo did well to make him take it wider than he wanted.

Spurs had a move break down on their right wing and United took advantage of the space where Trippier should have been to play in Shaw, whose low ball pulled back to Lukaku was scuffed and Lloris got his body behind the shot. Valencia tried an effort from range, but it was well wide and that followed Herrera crude hack on Moura that saw him go in the refereeís book. Pawson got a bit trigger happy booking Kane for a foul on Valencia when the United captain rolled around after losing a tackle. It hinted that the obvious would happen sooner or later.  United were living dangerously at the back with de Gea lofting a ball just over Mouraís head and
then when it got to Matic, Eriksen closed him down and Dele was into the box, but he was caught between shooting or playing Kane in and lost the ball. Lukaku put a 10 yard header wide as he tried to glance it across Lloris, but a quick free-kick sent Lucas Moura spinning away from Jones and leaving him for dead until the defender bundled into him from behind in the box, but the referee didnít seem inclined to give a penalty against United. Once more, Spurs are denied by weak refereeing at Old Trafford. Making the most of their good fortune, the home side burst forward and Fred cut in from the right to bend a left foot shot just wide with Hugo at full stretch.

United built a bit of pressure when they worked a ball to Pogba, but Lloris parried his low shot away, although it went back in for the ball to bounce off Janís leg and agonisingly drift narrowly wide. A couple of corners saw United players try to box Lloris in, but he got one away and then punched the second after the corner came in. Unitedís fans felt robbed every time their players lost the ball and didnít get a free-kick, while Tottenham nearly had a chance, when Vertonghenís long ball into the box unexpectedly dropped at Mouraís feet with his back to goal. He ran it out to Eriksen, but his shot bobbled through to de Gea without causing him too much worry. Moura was involved again, as a long ball from the right went over his head (and he was baulked by Herrera) to Dele at the back of the box. He took a touch and lined up a shot that was blocked by the recovering Herrera. Lucas was just a foot away from Deleís pass into the middle of the box and that was about the last notable
incident of the half.

United started the second half as they did the first, with Dele getting brought down and not being given a free-kick allowing the home team to break up the left with Shaw, whose pass inside found Pogba. His curled effort had Hugo scrambling, but went wide. Spurs got up the other end with Kane getting away on the left and looking for Moura in the centre of goal, but de Gea knocked his low cross up into the air and once again, just over Lucasí head. Then, a long pass down the right and
Eriksenís first time ball back across the box was met by Dele, whose controlled shot touched off a defender for a corner. Kieran Trippier took it and with Kane losing the weak presence of Jones to plant a header back across the goal and in at the far post with de Gea only able to look on as the lead went to Tottenham.

United looked to hit back straight away and when a bobbling ball around the edge of the box was controlled by Dembele, but straight into the path of fellow countryman Lukaku, his immediate shot was well pushed wide by Lloris. Chances came thick and fast, with Spurs capitalising. It was Eriksen on the right again, this time ignoring Kaneís run to the near post to drag the ball back to Moura, who beat Herrera to it and steered a low shot into de Geaís right hand corner to make it 2-0 within a couple of minutes.

A rash of United substitutes brought about a chance for Lingard when he got onto the end of Lukakuís knock down, but Toby made an excellent recovery to get back and knock the ball over the bar as Lingard closed in on goal six yards out. Rose brought down Pogba a yard outside the box to the left side and Fred whipped it in for Lindelof to rise at the far post, but only heading it into the side netting. The Swede put a back pass well short of de Gea and straight to Dele. He took it wide around the keeper, but his shot was kept out by de Gea and 3-0 would have wrapped the game up.  From the corner, Kane could have scored, as he got free of Lindelof, but with a straight header into an unguarded post, he put it wide.

As ever, a 50-50 went Unitedís way and a free-kick was given when Pogba should have been penalised. The free-kick came to nothing, but it needed some determined chasing the ball down to deny United any momentum. Spurs managed a couple of balls into the box, which were just a little ahead of the runners, but Tottenham were still looking to hit United on the break. Fellaini went down as Trippier engaged with him by grabbing his arm, but there had already been a nudge by the Belgian, so no penalty was given despite the crowdís imploring.

Smalling was getting much tighter to Kane than Jones had, so it was difficult to hold up play. United were pushing hard and Shawís shot come cross flew off with Lukaku unable to get a finishing touch on it. Lingard had a shot from 12 yards out, which Mousa Dembele got a touch on to take it over the bar a couple of minutes before Sanchez fired a volley way into the Stretford End.  Christian Eriksen won the ball in midfield, strode forward and hit a 20 yarder that didnít quite dip enough to trouble de Gea. Another soft free-kick for United as Lingard couldnít withstand the strength of Dembeleís challenge, but it mattered not. Tottenham won the ball back, Kane let it bounce over a red shirt in midfield and found Lucas in the centre of the pitch with space and Smalling in front of him. The Brazilian ran straight at him, leaving him for dead before moving right and sweeping his shot across de Gea and into the inside of the side netting to give the score-line a healthy 3-0 look to it.

Could United find a goal to get a way back into the match ? Well, Fred had a header when well placed eight yards out but put it wide and Sanchez tried to beat Lloris with a 25 yard free-kick, but Hugo took it comfortably under his bar.  Like West Ham, the seats emptied well before the end and the faithful United fans showed what they think of their teamís performance by voting with their feet. It was only the Spurs fans that you could hear singing as Tottenham saw out the five added minutes.  United were undone by their weakness in the middle of their back four. It didnít matter who were in that back four tonight, as Spurs made the most of the chances they created. United did have chances of their own, but they were mostly off target. Fred looks way off Premier League pace and Pogba had another game that he flitted in and out of but didnít dominate. But Unitedís problems are well documented and problems of their own Tottenham are nine points out of nine and clinically put United away tonight, with a solid and disciplined performance.

Lucas Moura showed that his fitness has made him a player who can make a difference in games, so is like a new signing. His effort as well as his finishing showed a player who is revelling in playing regular football. His link up play with Kane up top might need a little polishing, but if they score like this, they will continue to improve. Eriksen made a telling contribution to our attacks, but the midfield worked hard and the defence were sharp to keep United at bay.  It was also the way that we created our goals. Kane losing Jones for the first, Eriksenís run into space and the well weighted ball in front of Moura for the second and then the sleight of foot to leave Smalling for dead by Moura to slot past de Gea for number three. All quality goals and using the weaknesses in Unitedís defence.

Pochettino deserves great credit for his choices and the way the team was set up. Mourinho sprung a surprise at the back, but despite having some half-chances, with Lukakuís from Roseís back pass the best. Spurs could have had a penalty and then Dele had a similar chance in the second half, but couldnít make the most of the poor back pass. The three goals came against one save that Lloris had to make from Lukaku and the lack of threat showed how far United have fallen.

So, United suffer their biggest home loss to Spurs in nearly 50 years and have their worst start since 1992-93.  As for Spurs, not a lot was said, as it was all about Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.  And that's the way I like it.

Sid E Netting

Match Notes

Jose Mourinho's biggest home defeat in his managerial career.

Mauricio Pochettino's 200th career game as a manager.

Manchester United's 50th home Premier League defeat.



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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 3 West Ham United London 1 Saturday
Bournemouth 2 Everton 2 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 0 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Southampton 1 Leicester City 2 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Watford 2 Crystal Palace 1 Sunday
Fulham 4 Burnley 2 Sunday




League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 3 3 0 0 7 0 9 +7
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 3 0 0 8 2 9 +6
3 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 8 3 9 +5
4 Watford 3 3 0 0 7 2 9 +5
5 Leicester City 3 3 0 0 7 4 9 +3
6 Manchester City 3 2 1 0 9 2 7 +7
7 Bournemouth 3 2 1 0 6 3 7 +3
8 Everton 3 1 2 0 6 5 5 +1
9 Arsenal 3 1 0 2 5 6 3 -1
10 Crystal Palace 3 1 0 2 3 4 3 -1
11 Fulham 3 1 0 2 5 7 3 -2
12 Manchester United 3 1 0 2 4 7 3 -3
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 3 1 0 2 3 5 3 -2
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 0 2 1 3 5 2 -2
15 Cardiff City 3 0 2 1 0 2 2 -2
16 Southampton 3 0 1 2 2 4 1 -2
17 Newcastle United 3 0 1 2 2 4 1 -2
18 Burnley 3 0 1 2 3 7 1 -4
19 Huddersfield Town 3 0 1 2 1 9 1 -8
20 West Ham United London 3 0 0 3 2 9 0 -7


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  2nd



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