Written By : Lakshya Kamra
On Sunday met two teams with big ambitions. While Spurs are aiming for their first title in the premier league era, United are aiming for a top 4 finish to get champions league back to Old Trafford.
Some typical London traffic meant that the match would start 30 minutes late. Manchester united started brightly distributing the ball quickly in the opposition half, though none of the keepers were called into action. Spurs were sluggish in possession but took hold of the game after 20 minutes or so.
The first major chance would fall to Harry Kane who got hold of Lamela’s cross and beat a charging De Gea only for Fosu- Mensah to dive at his feet and heroically block his attempt. Spurs’ domination looked to have paid off when Eriksen’s cross found Lamela at the back post only for the unmarked winger to head it wide.
Van Gaal’s unusual decision to play Jesse Lingard in the number 10 role meant that Mata had to do all the tracking back leaving behind space for Danny Rose to attack. The second half started in the same way the first had ended with spurs creating chances aplenty with Eriksen pulling the strings. United were largely disappointing in attack until Anthony Martial conjured up some magic when he beat Walker and Dier and it would’ve been something special but for his finish.
Tottenham finally made their domination count when Harry Kane played Eriksen through who put in a peach of a cross for Dele Alli to tap home on the eve of his 20th birthday. They didn’t have to wait long to add that tally when substitute Darmian gave away a freekick. Lamela’s perfect delivery found Alderweireld who headed home for his 4th of the season courtesy of some poor marking by Rojo. And just two minutes later Danny Rose found Lamela who finished unerringly for a brilliant third.
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The match had turned on its head in a 5 and a half minute blitz. White Hart Lane was ecstatic and Van Gaal’s face bore that usual dejection. Before it was over De Gea was called into action again by Harry Kane to save his team’s blushes.
The match finished 3-0.
Points to ponder
- Spurs maintained their hopes of a title alive by coming up big in a game like this. They might not close the gap on Leicester but they are close to securing an automatic UCL spot.
- Van Gaal’s dubious decisions have again been criticised. Mata should’ve been the obvious choice for the number 10 role. Young shouldn’t have been put in as a striker when Martial was on the pitch.
- Spurs might have the best center back pairing in the premier league.
- Fosu -Mensah put in an impressive shift but he was forced off due to injury.
- United’s attack was dismal as it has been for a large part of the campaign.
- United now find themselves 4 points off Manchester City who have now found form with the return of Kevin de Bruyne. United need to win their remaining games and hope city’s UCL distractions could work in their favour.
- Champions league football is now all but ensured to return to White Hart Lane and Mauricio Pochettino is now a wanted man.
- Man of the match would have to go to Erik Lamela for his relentless running and for finishing off the match with a crisp finish.
Manchester United face West Ham in an FA cup replay later today, can this loss be their motivation to succeed?
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