A game of two halves…

Manchester United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - August 27th, 2018

how cliched.

Spurs’ trip to Old Trafford looked to be going along similar lines in the first half but changed around with three second half goals, a convincing victory and general laughing at Jose Mourinho.

Coming off the back of two victories to start the new season, while the hosts had floundered against Brighton, Man U were there for the taking, like they have been quite a bit over recent years, see the cup last season, and like that game Spurs were in an excellent position to do the taking. And lie that cup game Spurs were blowing it.

The first half was atrocious from Pochettino’s men. It looked like the perfect side he put out, not many would complain – yes a few would, they always do – but they could barely string two passes together. The back four looked completely jittery, Toby looking like he was trying to put off a move away from the club, while Danny Rose needed to Google “the basics of football”.

Luckily when Rose gifted United a chance, he set up the right person. It’s funny but did anyone really believe Lukaku was going to score when he rounded Hugo? Fall over… yes, score, nah. Are we still having this Lukaku versus Kane thing? The big dumb lump fired wide… it wasn’t quite as bad as his attempt in the warm up…

… but it was an open goal. Against a top side and we know he doesn’t do it against them.

But Spurs have a poor record against ’em as well, especially against this one at this stadium and that looked to be continuing with the way they were playing… or not playing. Was it the back four? Could they have done with the extra centre-back? Trippier and Rose certainly didn’t get forward as much as in previous games. Trippier being pretty much occupied by their left-back Shaw. They had a number of chances, Hugo had one decent save to make, the rest went wide.

But saying all that Spurs could have gone in at the break leading. Dele had chances, he dithered, after setting it up himself winning the ball as he and Eriksen closed down the United player. Moura should have had a penalty when charged in the back by Jones by again the officiating at Old Trafford was inept. Cards for nothing, no penalty here and falling for every United struggle with gravity.

Whatever Pochettino said and did with his staff at half-time it worked. They had grown into the game a bit more by the end of the first but after the break it was a far better team. That old cliche.

Five minutes in and from Trippier’s corner, Harry stepped back from his marker, Jones, and guided the ball back across goal into the net, as Lukaku looked on open mouthed at a master of his craft. It was a cracking header, from a player who couldn’t score in August and who couldn’t score at Old Trafford.

Harry wasn’t in it in the first half, but then Spurs weren’t so he wasn’t likely to be but it’s another brickbat that has been discarded. His lumping the ball into the stands, when offside, to waste time now not his best moment at the stadium.

Two minutes later and the lead was doubled, as Trippier fed Eriksen, the Dane who himself bar one weakish shot had been quiet crossed for Moura to add to double his personal tally for the season. The little Brazilian had been Spurs best player and over the last two games has shown why he’s started all the games this season. Funny how he looks a far better player without Sissoko there, thankfully that player wasn’t even in the squad.

While Son has been away on international duty, Lucas has been the perfect replacement. He does all the stuff Son does, scores, assists, while closing down and taking the ball off opposition players. Saves fantasy football weeks.

Between the two goals United could have got back into it but Hugo pulled off an outstanding save, maybe lucky that Pochettino didn’t chose to bench him after his run in with the law during the week.

Dele could have killed the game off completely when gifted a chance with Lindelof doing his Danny Rose impersonation, From the corner, Harry missed a sitter of a header that he really should have scored from.

In the end it took a little while to kill ’em off, six minutes before the end of the 90. Just as the stat was being aired that united have never lost two nil at home in the Premier League era, Moura kept that stat going with his second on the night. Kane played him through the middle and still with plenty more to do, he shrugged off Smalling and blasted the ball past de Gea.

Cue fire alarm at Old Trafford, empty seats for Jose to applaud at the end, it really looked like a goodbye gesture. While Spurs and Pochettino celebrated, Jose was ranting and raving, blaming everyone for the signings he made who he won’t play so is left with the dregs from previous regimes – Smalling and Jones. Though we all find it rather funny about Toby having such a good game in the end. A man who has shown nobody respect demanding respect from everyone.

When everyone is writing your obituary and the only one singing your praises is Big Fat Sam Allardyce, it’s time to call it a day. You know what new signings are nice and all but that lot have spent hundreds of millions over the last few years and you really wouldn’t want one of ’em in your starting XI and would be struggling to pick one for the bench if you had Poch’s squad.

It’s time to forget ’em and focus in on what Spurs and Pochettino did. The other week when things weren’t working out Poch changed the formation and players, at half time here he got them to improve, vastly, from the first half, correcting faults that have been levelled at him over these last few seasons. Yes it’s only three games in but it’s an unbeaten start to the season, with a statement victory at a so called top 4 four/six side.

This isn’t “Lads, it’s Tottenham” anymore…

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