SUNDAY 11TH APRIL, 2021
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) MANCHESTER UNITED 3(0)
Man Utd scorers:-
Referee:- Chris Kavanagh
Assistants:- Adam Nunn, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official:- Andre Marriner
VAR:- Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR:- Harry Lennard.
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Dier, Rodon, Reguilon; Ndombele (sub Lamela, 78), Hojbjerg; Lucas Moura (sub Bale, 82), Lo Celso (sub Sissoko, 61), Son; Kane
Subs not used:- Hart; Alderweireld, Tanganga; Winks, Dele; Vinicius
Booked:- Sissoko (foul on Fred)
Man Utd (4-2-3-1):- Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (Capt.), Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford (sub Greenwood, 72), Fernandes (sub Matic, 90), Pogba; Cavani
Subs not used:- De Gea; Telles, Tuanzebe, Williams; Mata, Diallo Van de Beek
Booked:- McTominay (foul on Ndombele), Cavani (foul on Rodon), Fred (foul on Aurier), Shaw (foul on Lucas Moura), Maguire (foul on Kane)
What a shambles
THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!
Never mind Champions League. Qualifying for Europe at all will be a challenge. Our best chance might be the League Cup Final, but an unlikely victory in that game would only give us passage to a new third tier European competition. Better to take next season off Europe and have the easier programme that has enabled West Ham to be six points ahead of us tonight. I can't remember the last time that happened.
Spurs had a first half lead, which arguably they did not deserve as United had a goal disallowed because Son had been slapped in the face in the build-up to the "goal". Sorely aggrieved, United were clearly fired up to avenge what they saw as an injustice, and ultimately they did that convincingly.
Spurs' quest for a rare league double over United (the last was over 30 years ago) goes on. With early notice having been given of season ticket renewal, club chairman Daniel Levy has some serious thinking to do regarding the issue of filling our ground as and when that is allowed in these Covid-stricken times.
Spurs are a team sorely low on confidence. I watch most of the televised games and I am not aware of any other team in the league that consistently reaches attacking positions before passing the ball backwards often as far as the goalkeeper. On the other hand we also consistently pass the ball to players who are not in space, who are easily pressed and dispossessed. There are times when we get ourselves into promising positions but then lose our confidence to play forward, to continue the good work that has preceded. Other teams with such poor confidence levels are closer to the bottom of the table. Luckily, we do already have 49 points. The challenge I suppose is for the players to dust themselves down and try to finish as high as possible and perhaps win another place in the Europa League. The trouble is that nobody can feel confident in our ability to win any of our remaining games.
Eyebrows (at least mine) were raised at Mourinho’s decision to again leave Alderweireld out (at least he was on the bench) and to play Dier next to Rodon. Dier’s last Premier League start was on February 21st at West Ham. Aurier was given a place and Son started this game with Lo Celso in the middle and Lucas Moira on the right.
Paul Pogba has not consistently been in the United Premier League starting line-up, but he played on the left of midfield here, with Fernandes inside and Rashford on the right. Edinson Cavani, now 34 years old, has been used sparingly this season and proved to be a star turn up front for United.
As at all Premier League matches this weekend, the game was preceded by two minutes’ silence in memory of Hus Royal highness the Duke of Edinburgh who died on Friday, two months short of his 100th birthday.
United kicked off, playing towards the South Stand, but after a minutes play, Spurs advanced with a quick move down the left flank through Reguilon, Lo Celso and Son, who passed to Lucas Moura towards the right of the area, who won a corner. After the corner, Son had a shot from the edge of the area, which was hit into the ground and passed over the goal. Another corn er won by Lucas Moura was cleared.
Rashford had a right footed shot blocked by Dier, leading to another corner, but neither goalkeeper had been tested in the first quarter of an hour. McTominay got an early yellow card for a foul on Ndombele. The United midfielder might have had two more, including the incident where he was decreed to have fouled Son in the build-up to the disallowed goal.
After clever midfield play by Ndombele and a pass by Kane, Spurs got themselves into a good position down the right flank, but this was one of those occasions that deeply hurts me, because we passed the ball back deep within our own half. United and other good teams do not do that. (England do it too. I wonder where they picked up the habit).
Aurier passed to Lucas who crossed, but Henderson held the ball with Son challenging. The disallowed goal came in the 34th minute. Son went to the floor clutching his face after the slightest of touches and McTominay’s pass to the left was quickly developed with Pogba making a clever pass inside the area anticipating Cavani’s movement. Cavani hit a shot through Lloris’s legs, but then came the VAR review and the recommendation for referee Chris Kavanagh to view the monitor. He disallowed the goal, but McTominay was not booked because apparently his contact had been accidental.
Spurs firstly tried to take advantage down the left flank with Son passing to Kane on his outside, but Kane’s cross passed through the danger zone. Spurs’ goal soon followed and it was started by a good midfield ball by Lo Celso to Ndombele, who hit a long pass fielded by Kane. Harry found Lucas to his right with a good ball, and Lucas passed back inside the area to Son, who scored with a left foot shot inside Henderson’s right post.
United felt deeply riled and aggrieved. Cavani was booked for a foul in a spat with Rodon in front of the Spurs goal.
Spurs kicked off the second half. Early on, Ndombele was one of two players who defended well inside his area before bringing the ball forward in a move which led to Kane having a shot on goal, which passed over the net. Fred got United’s third booking early in the half for a foul on Serge Aurier during this move.
Lloris saved a shot by Wan-Bissaka at his left post after Luke Shaw had provided the pass from the left. The problem was that United players were too often being found in space. Hojbjerg went to the ground and required treatment, although there had been no contact with the player. He was able to continue. There was good skill shown by Lucas Moura in getting the ball into promising territory, but then came the inevitable backward play.
Pogba passed from the right of the area for Cavani, but Rodon managed to put this ball out for a corner in front of the near post. Subsequently, Pogba passed to Wan-Bissaka from the left of the area. The right back teed up McTominay, whose 22 yard driven shot was saved by Hugo. It wasn’t long though before United drew level. Fred and Cavani advanced in tandem inside the Spurs box. Fred passed to Cavani whose shot was saved but only parried by Lloris, allowing Fred to snap up the rebound for his first goal this season and only his second Premier League goal.
Spurs tried, but failed to regain the lead. Hojbjerg joined the attack and passed to Aurier who crossed to Son towards the left of goal. “Sonny” hit a right foot shot which was saved. Lo Celso was replaced by Sissoko and Ndombele took up a more attacking position. Tanguy did hit a good long ball for Kane, but Henderson raced out of his area to claim the ball and to clear.
Spurs lost the ball on their right-hand side at the back and Fernandes was allowed a 20-yard shot which was saved well with a stretch to the left by Hugo. United came close after shaw’s cross was returned by Fernandes and Pogba tried to back-heel the ball into the net but lost his balance, and a decent enough connection on his attempt.
After Maguire was booked for a foul on Kane, Son swung in a free kick, but Aurier headed well over the target. Rashford was replaced by Greenwood.
Harry Kane led a move and passed to Ndombele who crossed from the right. The ball was met by Hojbjerg and passed to Son to the left of the area. Son passed inside and Kane’s shot was saved at the near post, winning a corner. After the corner, the ball was lifted into the box by Ndombele and Aurier lifted a shot over the goal, but had been offside anyway. Greenwood had a shot at the other end which hit the back of the side netting.
Ndombele was replaced by Lamela, but I don’t remember Lamela touching the ball. Almost immediately after he came on Spurs were behind when Greenwood crossed from the right and Cavani (I too much space) headed inside Hugo’s left post. Lucas was replaced by Bale, but he too failed to offer any impact. Spurs came closest to scoring from a corner taken on the right and headed by both Pogba and Cavani towards the back post, where the ball did bounce out off the woodwork.
The points were sealed in the sixth minute of added time with the Spurs defence in disarray (not for the first time) and allowing too much space for Pogba to feed the ball from left of centre to Greenwood, who scored with his weaker right foot inside the post on Lloris’s narrow side.
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