Spurs’ trip to Old Trafford saw 30 minutes where progress met reality, Spurs’ reality, where everyone from top to bottom got it wrong and they paid the price.
Back at the end of last year it was a disappointment that Spurs could only manage a nil nil draw at home to Man Utd, who wouldn’t take that result today after the reverse fixture?
Back then through various circumstances, basically unavailability of players, Pochettino got his team almost right on the day, this weekend he didn’t and after an initial phase when it looked might it may not matter it went on to do so.
Start with the reverse fixture the best three Spurs players on show defended well, Vlad at right-back, Fazio centre-back and Stambouli in the middle of the park. In this fixture none played, none had a chance of playing and their replacements managed one tackle between the three of them, compared to 11 from the outcast bunch.
I posted previously that against ManUre and the Spammers you have to play Fazio. OK he’s not the best with the ball at his feet, nor the quickest but he wins things in the air and up against the Belgian bog brush Fellaini he’d be ideal. Dier is a decent player, the future, but he’s a young lad and he didn’t impose himself at all in the game. Fellaini would have known Fazio was there, he hadn’t a clue Dier was.
Vlad, no one seems to like Vlad, yes he can be a bit clueless at times but he can defend, he’s not there to just run. In a mass of ineptness Walker stood out as the worst on show. Apparently he said he’d learned more about defending during his injury absence. I doubt he can even spell the word. If he is putting into practise what he has learned then gawd ‘elp us. There were rumours of United being in for a £20m bid for the player, after that display Levy would be lucky to get 20 bibs.
Clueless just doesn’t quite cut it with this player. He cannot defend for toffee nor any other type of confectionery. No positional sense, no ability to tackle and no guts to block a cross. He can run. He doesn’t have a clue what to do when he ends his run but he can run. He made Ashley Young look like a good winger.
Rose got some glowing reviews, well he did manage 8 tackles and Mata didn’t get his usual brace against Spurs, but everything Man United did with success came down the Spurs right, targeting the dolt Walker.
In the middle we have the fan’s favourite Bentaleb. A useless article, a nothing player, Mr Sideways. The new Jenas.
To make things worse Pochettino again went with Townsend. He did play in that reverse fixture, wasn’t much cop then and was even worse here. Dembele had played his part in previous victories over United under AVB in the last two seasons, going for three in a row he didn’t start. One very bad half against West Ham and after playing himself back into the starting line-up the Belgian was jettisoned very quickly to the bench.
Pochettino did make the right decision in replacing the *insert adjective already probably overused to describe this and other players* Townsend with Dembele, early in a game for him. But y then with United two up it looked too late.
United were by now two up and cruising against a Spurs side whose only touches of the ball seemed to be when Hugo picked it out of the net.
It started on the seventh minute when the gaping hole chasm between Walker, who for once was on Young, and Dier was found by Carrick, in it was Fellaini who shot past Lloris into the far corner. Hell they let the lanky bog brush score with his feet.
Ten minutes later they let Carrick score with his head. Fellaini meets a corner, Chadli weakly knocks it back to the wide open Carrick who nods it in. None of this not celebrating scoring against your old team for Carrick.
With the way Spurs were playing that was game over but just after the half hour, when things hadn’t got any better, they got worse.
An absolutely unbelievably shocking sideways pass from Bentaleb went straight to Rooney – it’s not possible to describe how Bentaleb this pass was – who ran straight at goal brushing off Bentaleb’s pathetic attempt at a challenge, which was followed up by weak efforts from Dier and Vertonghen, before really finishing the game off.
And people can’t see that is Bentaleb all over. His sideways passes cause trouble and he’s always around about the player who eventually scores without doing anything worthwhile to stop them. Oh, he’s one of our own, he is.
After the break Spurs had more of the ball – they were winning the possession!! – but did bugger all with it. All summed up by shots on target. De Gea in the United goal had two saves to make. One in the opening minutes when a Jones’ backpass was heading in before the ‘keeper deflected it out for a corner with his leg. The second was Spurs’ only shot on goal, it came from Kane in the 89th minute.
In between those two incidents Spurs did nothing of any merit going forward.
man United had a back four that contained Valencia, Smalling and Jones and bar that one incident above they had to do nothing in the game. Valencia, Smalling and Jones, nothing.
This was a United for the taking, more so than even under Moyes, more so than the previous season’s victory and Spurs went there and were just plain, good old Spurs.
No this was no vindication of van Gaal, no rebirth of Rooney and United as a whole, this was just an inept Spurs who didn’t turn up.