Spurs were playing their fourth match in eight days, so more rotation was on the books. Jose Mourinho still had a strong lineup, including the attacking band of Harry Kane, Erik Lamela, and Heung-Min Son. That last one may have been a bit of a surprise given we were told he was injured last week.
After the drama and fallout from last week’s match against Newcastle United with Eric Dier’s handball, it was much of the same to start this one. Just thirty seconds into the match, Davinson Sanchez clipped Anthony Martial after a passing combination in the penalty area, enough to take him down and concede a penalty. Bruno Fernandes took the penalty and scored, making it 1-0 before many of us were comfortably watching at home.
Spurs could have folded up shop and gone into a shell. Instead, just a couple of minutes later, Erik Lamela forced United into a defensive error that left the ball sitting eight yards out from goal. Tanguy Ndombele had an absolute gift and kicked it through the defense into the net to bring the match level.
If we weren’t already entertained, Spurs gave us reason to be. After a quick foul just past midfield, Harry Kane quickly hopped up and fed Heung-Min Son, who never stopped running. Splitting the defense, Sonny found himself on net and chipped the ball over David De Gea to make it 2-1.
The match settled down after the insanity of the first ten minutes with possession being traded back and forth. United pushed forward in the 20th minute as Marcus Rashford made a run toward net, clanging a shot off the far post. The flag went up right after that for offside as Spurs dodged a minor bullet. A larger bullet was dodged in the 23rd minute as Mason Greenwood got a curling effort off. Hugo had it covered while the shot went wide.
Spurs missed a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 not long after that. Lamela found a streaking Sonny from deep in his own end, springing him free on net. He couldn’t control the ball fully and fed it to De Gea before he could get a shot off.
This is the part where I forever stan for Erik Lamela. On a dead ball waiting for a corner, Lamela managed to get Anthony Martial to slap him in the face or throat and....well, let’s just say he sold it. Taylor saw it and wasted no time in sending off Martial. Not two minutes later, after a woeful defensive error by Maguire, Kane received a pass and side-footed it into the net.
Up a man and smelling blood, Tottenham Hotspur were ready to put United to the sword. Sissoko fed Aurier on the flank, who had acres of space to run in. Composing himself, he passed the ball through the legs of Luke Shaw with a slight deflection to Sonny, who one-timed it into the net, making it 4-1.
Spurs almost had five before the break in stoppage time on a corner kick. Kane got on the end of it and flicked it toward the back post. It could have been a tap in for everyone, but nobody was there to do so.
Mourinho made one move for the second half, opting to bring Lucas Moura on for Erik Lamela since he had a yellow card. United opted to make two changes, bringing off Matic and Fernandes for McTominay and Fred as they looked to limit the damage. It didn’t end well for them.
Spurs absolutely sliced open United in the 51st minute in a wonderful team goal. The key pass was a filthy through ball by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to spring Aurier free. The Ivorian didn’t miss from there, blasting the ball far post to get on the scoresheet at 5-1.
United did what they could down a man, but Spurs controlled the match in every aspect. The home side looked prime for another red card after bad fouls committed by Eric Bailly, who could have been sent off in the first half, and Paul Pogba. Mourinho freshened up the squad after those fouls, bringing Dele on for Ndombele. As expected, there was zero drop off as Spurs maintained control. Kane almost picked up another goal from a Sonny feed in the 72nd minute, but De Gea made a diving save.
Ben Davies came on for Sonny not long after, which wasn’t just a good sub to get him rest, but the Welsh fullback pushed forward almost immediately and drew a penalty. Kane took the penalty as he always does, scoring to make it 6-1.
United didn’t do anything of note except commit cynical fouls and complain to Anthony Taylor for the rest of the match. Spurs kicked the ball around them like it was a training exercise while Hugo Lloris started up his memoirs with nothing else to do in net. Taylor brought the match to a merciful end after a thorough beatdown by Spurs.
Thoughts on the Match:
- Amazing. Simply amazing. After surrendering a penalty thirty seconds in, all it did was p*ss this team off and it showed. They had a mission.
- United’s defending was absolutely shambolic and Spurs made every single mistake hurt. They sliced them open at every opportunity and were clinical.
- I’m having a hard time picking a man of the match. There were so many good performances. Son and Kane were their brilliant selves, but I’m going to point at Sergio and Serge. They were both fantastic today and United had no answer for the flanks.
- Jose Mourinho has to be over the moon after that. That’s the football he wants: Relentless and dangerous.
- United could have easily been down to nine and even eight. Bailly should have been sent off for his stomp and Luke Shaw’s cynical tackle in the last ten minutes was borderline.
- International break is upon us with deadline day tomorrow. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be drawing up the plans to Erik Lamela’s temple across from the stadium.