Manchester United’s indifferent start to the season took a drama change in outlook on Sunday evening after the Reds fell to a shocking 6-1 home defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite taking the lead through a Bruno Fernandes penalty, the hosts were quickly pegged back thanks to strikes from Tanguy Ndombele and Heung-Min Son. A petulant slap on Erik Lamela from Anthony Martial saw the Frenchman receive his marching orders just before the half-hour mark. Spurs took advantage of that with another goal from Son before a well-taken Harry Kane goal saw the visitors rack up a scarcely believable scoreline before the break.
They were not done there though as Serge Aurier’s drive into the bottom corner in the 51st minute made it five, with Kane rounding off proceedings from the penalty spot.
Here are three things we learnt from an unbelievable evening at Old Trafford:
New low for United?
Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, there of course have been some poor moments for the Red Devils throughout the respective reigns of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but this defeat just about tops them all. It was Manchester United’s heaviest defeat in the Premier League since a 6-1 destruction by eventual champions Manchester City in 2011 but this one is arguably worse.
At that time, the Red Devils were going up against a City side that would of course go on to hoist the Premier League crown come the end of the campaign, netting 93 goals in the process. This time around, they were up against a Spurs side who whilst have been impressive in the opening weeks of the season, only managed to finish sixth last term, some way off qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Following their defeat against Crystal Palace in their opening home match of the season, there is now a real chance that United could lose three consecutive matches at Old Trafford for the first time since 1979 – a barely believable statistic considering the size of the club.
One of the main reasons behind the defeat to Spurs was the sheer inadequacy of the Manchester United defence. Since Sir Alex Ferguson passed the Old Trafford reins over to David Moyes, the Red Devils have splashed an eye-watering £300m just on defenders which includes the astronomical sums spent on the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, ironically three quarters of the defence that started the match on Sunday.
Too many glaring errors from Maguire and Shaw allowed Spurs to scythe through the hosts almost at will, not the mark of a title-challenging or perhaps Champions League chasing defence.
As evidenced, spending is not always the answer but the club’s mistakes really do need to be rectified. The potential arrival of FC Porto left-back Alex Telles goes a long way in plugging a gap so it remains to be seen whether he can improve United’s woeful defensive displays.
Son and Kane strike again
For all of the criticism that United have taken for their performance, the majority of it perfectly valid, praise really does have to go to Tottenham Hotspur and their boss Jose Mourinho for a ruthless performance. The Lilywhites were constantly hassling their hosts, taking their chances as of when they came their way.
The two standouts once again though have to be Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane. In just four Premier League appearances so far, the England captain has three goals and six assists, whilst the South Korean has six goals and one assist to his name. The two have already linked up for five goals so far this campaign, being one of the most profitable partnerships in the league so far. If they can keep up those numbers, then there is no reason to believe that Spurs won’t return to the UEFA Champions League next year. They currently sit at odds of 9/5 with Betfair to do just that with a top four finish.
Manchester United: De Gea (4); Shaw (3), Maguire (2), Bailly (3), Wan-Bissaka (4); Matic (4) (McTominay (4), 45′), Pogba (4); Rashford (4), Fernandes (5) (Fred (4), 45′), Greenwood (4) (van de Beek (4), 68′), Martial (2).
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (6); Reguilon (7), Dier (7), Sanchez (6), Aurier (8); Ndombele (7) (Alli (6), 69′), Hojbjerg (7), Sissoko (6); Son (9) (Davies (6), 73′), Kane (9), Lamela (6) (Moura (7), 45′).
Goals: Fernandes (PEN 2′), Ndombele (4′), Son (7′, 37′), Kane (30′, PEN 79′), Aurier (51′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Lamela (32′), Bailly (63′), Shaw (84′)
Red Cards: Martial (28′)
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