Well, it wasn’t a win, but it sure was a lot better than whatever that was at St. James’ Park. The Second Ryan Mason Era at Tottenham Hotspur didn’t get off to a perfect start, as Spurs were unable to engineer a win down 2-0 at halftime to Manchester United. That said, they did TRY. Pedro Porro scored in the 56th minute and Tottenham poured on the offense to find an equalizer, with Son Heung-Min firing home a Kane cross to equalize in the 80th minute. Spurs bunkered and withstood a late United rally, but the match ended a fair 2-2 draw.
Three points would’ve been fantastic, but at least the vibes were good! Here are my thoughts on the match.
- Hey, at least we didn’t concede QUITE so early!
- Sancho’s goal was a good strike, but it came from some poor/confused defending between Pedro Porro and Cuti Romero again, with neither really on the same page about who should be defending where.
- Inverting Sonny and Richarlison was an interesting tactical wrinkle from Mason, and if you squint it makes sense as Richy tends to be better and more comfortable on the left. And the way Spurs were playing it was more like Kane dropping in behind Sonny/Richy who were playing as two strikers.
- Richarlison did a quite good job of getting into United’s box in this match, but once he got there his decision making was pretty poor. Lots of passes to players that should’ve been at the back post, but weren’t. Spurs often seemed just once pass/decision away from a really big chance. But Richy did offer something going forward, so I call his contributions a positive.
- Pretty meh game from Oliver Skipp who over the past number of matches hasn’t convinced me that he’s anything much more than a decent squad midfielder on this team when everyone’s healthy.
- It’s kind of distressing (but not at all surprising) how much space Spurs gave Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes on the ball when around Tottenham’s area.
- United’s second goal was just bad luck as De Gea had just stood on his head to make a critical stop from a Perisic shot. Should’ve been 1-1 in a just universe, but Spurs got caught out on a counter after committing people forward. As soon as I saw it was Dier on Rashford, I knew.
- Porro’s goal was great! Just lofted it into the top corner after Kane’s shot was blocked. That right there is why Spurs bought him, goals like that. (Obviously not for his defensive contributions)
- A sub! In the 60th minute! Are we in the upside down?! And Deki’s first real contribution was a wicked cross to the back post that Perisic almost got to.
- Speaking of, Ivan had a good game. A real threat going forward, cleared a ball off the line, not catastrophic defensively.
- No idea how Lindelof didn’t pick up a second yellow for his second half foul on Son. Insane no-call from the official. Skippy also got a hand to the face that wasn’t called either.
- Son and Kane combined like in olden days of yore for that equalizer, and it was a thing of beauty. That Kane pass was disgustingly good.
- Spurs won the xG battle, 2.24 - 2.13. A draw seems fair, but Spurs could’ve won this. OTOH, Bruno inexplicably went off the crossbar, so United could’ve as well.
- Look, Spurs’ tactics were basically “sit deep, hit long balls forward, and hope something cool happens” and yet it was still way more fun to watch than any other Tottenham match over the past few weeks. My soul is so empty, I call that a win. Let Mason cook!