On Monday night at Old Trafford, Tottenham Hotspur were abysmal. It's easy to make excuses; they were missing their best players and playing at Old Trafford is hard. However, Manchester United were - for the first 60 minutes of the match, at least - a fairly average side who were missing five of their first choice players from the starting lineup. Though the goals were impressive, Tottenham deserved to lose, and had United's first choice team been out there, they would have lost by many more goals than they did. In the end, Manchester United netted three to Spurs' zero. Incredibly, that does not reflect how poor the Lilywhites were on the night.
With Luka Modric out, it became incredibly apparent how valuable he is to the team and why Daniel Levy insists he's not for sale at any price. Based on how poorly Spurs passed the ball on the evening, one would have to conclude that Levy is onto something. Without Modric in the lineup - even though Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart were fit - the side lacked creativity and attacking presence.
Furthermore, the players that were out on the pitch did not look 90 minutes fit and were completely played off the park in the final 30 minutes of the match. This is the fault of the management for not getting their players in shape and/or the players for not working hard enough. They looked dead, and there's really no excuse for being so completely outclassed by your opponents in physical fitness.
The first half of the match ended scoreless, and to be honest, it was a poor first half all around. Tottenham's lack of fitness was not exposed in the opening 45 minutes of play, while Brad Friedel made a number of good saves to keep the score level.
Spurs actually looked like the slightly better side to start the second half, but when United turned the corner and took control of the match, they would take over control for the remaining 30 minutes. The opener was scored in the 61st by Danny Welbeck, who brilliantly headed in a solid cross from Tom Cleverley, and the match was all over from there.
Anderson added a second goal just after Tom Huddlestone and Roman Pavlyuchenko entered the game as 74th minute subs, then Rooney added the third goal in the 87th minute with a great header.
In most years, Manchester United would need to turn in an excellent performance to defeat Spurs so easily and by a three goal margin. Instead, they were fairly average with Tottenham looking nothing like a team capable of challenging for the top four. It's only the first game of the season, but it's apparent that without Luka Modric and some buys in the transfer market, Tottenham are not going to be able to compete with the league's upper echelon clubs.