Tuesday 28 August 2018

Match report: United 0-3 Tottenham

Spurs hit three second half goals to maintain their 100% start to the season and condemn United to a second successive defeat despite a much improved performance.
In a strange tie in which the scoreline doesn't tell even half the story, the Reds had looked strong in a first half in which we were sparky, lively, determined and confident. Romelu Lukaku's bad miss from a gilt-edged chance turned the game on its head, and a quickfire double from Harry Kane and then Lucas Moura in the space of two second half minutes knocked the stuffing out of the team.
Its our worst start to a season since 1992 but few could have predicted the carnage that was to follow after an opening burst that saw United send out a message of intent. Spurs had arrived at Old Trafford having won both of their opening matches against Newcastle and Fulham, but the visitors were pegged back as the Reds tore into Mauricio Pochettino's side with pace, power and energy.

Fred went close with an early sighter, but the best chance fell to Lukaku on the half hour mark. Danny Rose's underhit backpass was seized upon by the Belgian, and he looked to have the hard work when he rounded the onrushing Hugo Lloris. Although he evaded the keeper's dive, he rolled his shot wide of the post from a tight angle ten yards out. He had two further, more difficult, openings, and Paul Pogba then went close from distance only to be denied by a sprawling save from Lloris. At the other end, Tottenham threatened for the first time through Dele Alli, who robbed the returning Nemanja Matic and advanced on goal, only to be thwarted by Chris Smalling's lunging intervention.
David de Gea saved from Christian Eriksen before one final chance went United's way in the final moments of the half through Fred, who curled a shot wide with a 20-yarder. We continued this intensity after the break as Pogba went close again from distance, but if you don't take you chances you will be punished and so it proved.
Spurs goals at OT have been as rare as wins but Kane put them ahead after 50 minutes when he outjumped Jones and planted a header beyond the flat-footed De Gea. With the Reds still reeling from the shock, Tottenham struck again through Lucas Moura two minutes later, when Eriksen picked out the Brazilian winger and he finished well in front of a stunned Stretford End.

United had suddenly gone from solid and organised to shambolic and disjointed at the back. Even sub Victor Lindelof was hit with the infectious spread of the defensive disease, as his woeful backpass released Alli, but De Gea rescued his Swedish colleague as he blocked the effort with his foot.
United were fading fast as the first half optimism gave way to a chastening night with the team chasing shadows. Things got worse six minutes from the end when the whippet speed of Moura saw him skip past Smalling and fire in the third.

Overall team performance: 6/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Luke Shaw

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