Manchester United suffered their first loss in 2018, after getting pegged back by Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Christian Eriksen’s goal put Spurs ahead after just 11 seconds into the match, while Phil Jones’ own-goal was enough to seal the final result.
The Devils looked uninspiring in their first loss since losing to Bristol City in League Cup and the whole performance was resembling some of those against other top six sides in the Premier League. Here’s what we learned from it all.
Mourinho Getting His Tactics Wrong
Manchester United started the match with their strongest team in a 4-2-3-1 formation and some attacking-minded players. Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba were all in the starting XI, but Mourinho’s team got exposed really fast.
Spurs got their lead before the match even started and lack of real balance in the team was obvious ever since. Pogba played poorly throughout, being all over the place. That made things even harder for Nemanja Matic to cope against a high press Pochettino’s side imposed, while United had troubles to start their attacks properly.
Lukaku Lacking Service And Making No Impact Once Again
It was another match for Lukaku against a top six side and another match without a goal. To be precise, his sixth match this season and the Belgian has played every minute of them. However, his impact has been almost non-existing, except for that assist against Spurs last autumn, in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. That counts no goals, one assist and mere four shots on target in total. That is one shot on target for every 135 minutes on the pitch.
Romelu Lukaku against Top 6 sides in 2017-18:
— Nebojša Marković (@MarkovicNeb) January 31, 2018
To be completely frank, things are getting harder for him with the lack of service he gets. The amount of chances he finds himself into is also impacted by the poor attacking displays from the whole team. Martial had one good chance in first half, but that was it.
Tottenham Press Incredibly Well
When Tottenham, they really play. And this was such a match. Last season, everyone were impressed with how they coped against Chelsea and Manchester City, this time something similar happened to United. Spurs managed to get hold of the game very early due to a goal scored by Eriksen, but nevertheless they outran Mourinho’s side.
Harry Kane made a couple of fouls on Sanchez, trying to be as aggressive in his pressing, which only paints the picture of what Tottenham tried to achieve. United had troubles of getting the ball out from the back, with Ali, Son and Kane denying them space.
Young Is Not A Left Back
This was a perfect example of why Ashley Young is not a left back and why Manchester United always needed a long-term solution. Young proved this season he can play really good football even in that position. However, that should be good for United when they play weaker Premier League sides or in cup matches. This was Tottenham. They knew his weaknesses and fully exploited them with Eriksen’s movement inside and Kieran Trippier’s constant overlapping.