3 things we learned: Man United v. Tottenham

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Manchester United – Tottenham was one of the most dramatic encounters we’ve seen in recent Premier League seasons, as the first half saw five goals, one red card and a humiliation of his former club by Jose Mourinho.

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There is a lot to break down from Manchester United – Tottenham and the 6-1 win for Spurs.

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Man United took the lead after one minute via Bruno Fernandes’ penalty kick, but Tanguy Ndombele and Heung-min Son struck back twice, Anthony Martial was sent off, then Son and Harry Kane grabbed one each before Serge Aurier and Kane rubbed further salt into the wounds.

Here is a look at what we learned from Manchester United – Tottenham in a game which had pretty much everything in the first 45 minutes alone.


Martial red card unjust, but problems were plentiful before that

Anthony Martial should not have been sent off, should he? Yes, he flicked Erik Lamela in the face (see the video below) and he was sent off more for reacting and by the letter of the law rather than for striking out with excessive force. Lamela played him a treat. Lamela nudged him and elbowed him under his chin and Martial reacted. He shouldn’t have, of course, but both players should have been booked after a VAR review and that should have been that.

Truth be told, Tottenham were already ripping Man United apart before Martial was sent off. At 2-1 up and when Man United had 11 players on the pitch they were hemorrhaging chances. Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire were all over the place. Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka switched off. The midfield was obliterated. Man United should not have been reduced to 10 men but that wasn’t the biggest problem here. It just magnified all their problems.


 Manchester United defenders floundering as pressure builds

Heading into the final 24 hours of the summer transfer window it is clear that the pressure is building on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United. They look set to sign left back Alex Telles from FC Porto and free agent forward Edinson Cavani, but that’s it. Surely they need extra defensive reinforcements?

Last season they had the third best defensive record in the Premier League but this season they were smacked 3-1 by Crystal Palace in their opener, somehow won 3-2 at Brighton (after Brighton hit the woodwork five times) and then shipped six against Tottenham. Victor Lindelof was dropped after mistakes galore and Maguire has made some huge errors, while Shaw, Bailly and Wan-Bissaka haven’t been good enough. David de Gea couldn’t do much on Sunday but questions will be asked as to exactly why Solskjaer wasn’t backed in the transfer window this summer to sign a new central defender in Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly. Heck, they even missed out on Reguilon, Bale and Thiago Alcantara who have all moved to the PL.

With an obsession over signing Jadon Sancho, and one which seems like it will be unsuccessful, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hasn’t backed Solskjaer this summer even though Man United are said to be in a strong financial position and were building from a position of strength as they returned to the Champions League. This should have been the summer when Man United kicked on to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City. Instead they’re in turmoil.


Razor-sharp Harry Kane the creator dominates as Tottenham hit stride

The story will be about Manchester United’s dramatic collapse, but let’s not overlook how ruthless Spurs were. In a week which saw them beat Chelsea on penalties on Tuesday, then beat Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in the Europa League on Thursday to seal group stage qualification, Spurs were rampant as they smashed six past Man United.

Harry Kane created havoc by dropping deeper and he already has six assists this season, one short of his personal best of seven which came in 2016-17. With Son, Lamela and Ndomble running off Kane, there were so many options for him to pass the ball to and the England captain once again showcased his incredible creative talents on top of his goalscoring ability.

Jose Mourinho has this Tottenham side hungry and the fact they’ve had so many games early in the season may have made them fitter and sharper. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon look like fine signings and with Gareth Bale to come, Spurs have totally changed their narrative in a matter of weeks after the opening day defeat to Everton. Credit to Mourinho, as his powerful side dominated Manchester United.