Six days on from their nightmare at Old Trafford, Manchester United came roaring back as they secured a thumping 3-0 win away at a sluggish Tottenham side on Saturday afternoon.
Coming under real scrutiny following their woeful 5-0 drumming at the hands of Liverpool last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got just the response that he would have been hoping for in north London.
Putting in a professional display on their travels and more than deserving of maximum points in the capital, United also pilled more pressure onto Nuno Espírito Santo’s shoulders.
On an afternoon that saw Solskjaer turn back to his most experienced stars, we have taken a look at the major talking points from a largely one-sided affair.
Solskjaer’s veterans to the rescue
Blown away at Old Trafford last weekend and heading into Sunday’s meeting with just a single point from their last four Premier League outings, there is no doubt that Solskjaer has endured his most testing spell in the United dugout.
With a large section of the red half of Manchester making it clear that they want a new manager to take charge with immediate effect, United’s Norweigan boss got a perfect response in north London.
While the pressure might not be fully off of Solskjaer’s shoulders yet, his side took a more than deserved lead five minutes before the break as Cristiano Ronaldo produced yet another moment of magic.
Latching onto Bruno Fernandes’ precise cross, the Portuguese icon struck a Robin van Persie-esc far-post volley across Hugo Lloris as he landed his first Premier League strike over the past six weeks.
With Solskjaer making the decision to bring in Edinson Cavani from the start, the former PSG striker put in a standout display in the capital as his energy and work rate drastically helped United’s pressing issues.
Almost putting the game to bed as he produced a cool finish to double United’s lead after 64 minutes, Sunday’s travelling support were sent into overdrive as Marcus Rashford continued on his eye-catching return from injury.
Bagging his third goal in his last four outings, Rashford’s strike late into the second-half also helped Manchester United secure their largest winning margin in north London since 2007.
Spurs turn on Nuno
While Tottenham might have hoped that they had managed to put their September nightmare behind them, Spurs find themselves in the midst of another dreadful run of form after Sunday’s hammering on home soil.
Although most of the headlines prior to kick off might have been focused on Solsjkaer, there has also been a growing amount of pressure on Nuno Espirito Santo’s position in north London.
Suffering a shock 1-0 loss away at Vitesse in the Europa Conference League only days prior to their derby day defeat against West Ham, the former Wolves boss has largely failed to gain any stability during his early tenure in the capital.
Met by a chorus of boos from the 60,000 home supporters when heading down the tunnel at half-time, Tottenham’s continued issues over the past couple of weeks have been highlighted by their rather glaring struggles in the final third.
With Harry Kane once again looking a shadow of the player that claimed his third golden boot last season, Tottenham failed to record a single shot on David de Gea’s goal and they have now remarkably gone almost 150 minutes of Premier League action without recording a single shot on target.
With Nuno branding his team’s performance as “horrible” following their 3-0 drumming on Sunday, the 47-year-old now finds himself priced at 6/4 with Betfair to be the next Premier League boss heading for the exit, despite only taking charge in the capital over the summer.
What’s next for both?
Eventually claiming a 3-0 win in north London on Sunday thanks to the help of his aging attacking talismen, there is no doubt that Solskaer will be desperate to build off of that result and prove their weekend display was the start of a real resurge, and not just a minor boost.
Before Manchester United welcome defending champions Manchester City to Old Trafford next weekend, the Reds turn their attention back to Champions League duties for what could be another action-packed affair against Atalanta on foreign soil. Making the trip out to Italy on Tuesday night, Solskaer’s inconsistent squad face a difficult spell before they enter November’s international break.
On the flip side, coming off the back of their nightmare display, Nuno and his struggling Spurs side will know that they also need an immediate response when they feature in the Conference League on Thursday.
Before they make the trip to Goodison Park next weekend, Tottenham will be next seen when they face Vitesse on home soil in what now appears to be a must-win contest for Sunday’s hosts.
Tottenham: Lloris (4), Emerson (4), Romero (3.5), Dier (3.5), Davies (3), Skipp (4), Højbjerg (4), Moura (4.5), Lo Celso (3.5), Son (5), Kane (3)
Subs: Bergwijn ( ), Ndombele (3.5), Alli ( )
Manchester United: De Gea (7), Lindelöf (7), Varane (7.5), Maguire (7), Wan-Bissaka (7), Shaw (7.5), McTominay (6.5), Fred (5.5), Fernandes (7.5), Ronaldo (8.5), Cavani (8.5)
Subs: Rashford (6), Matic (6), Lingard (6)
Goals: Ronaldo 39′, Cavani 64′, Rashford 86′
Yellow Cards: Tottenham: Romero, Davies – Manchester United: Fred, Shaw, Maguire
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Stuart Attwell
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