How Manchester United players fared against Tottenham
It does not make a comfortable reading if you are a Manchester United fan. The scoreline of 0-3 is a little flattering considering the capitulation of the United side in the second half. If 2-3 reverse against Brighton was embarrassing, the first home defeat of the season and the worst against Spurs since 1972 was damning in no lesser terms. Here are the inglorious analyses of every Red Devil on the pitch:
David De Gea
The Spanish Spiderman could not do much about the three goals he conceded save taking the ball out of the net. Even so, 6 goals in 2 matches do not reflect well on his match report. His distribution still has to be a lot better if he wants to hold on to the moniker of ‘the best in the World’.
He did make a tremendous one-on-one save against Dele Alli with no thanks to Lindelöf.
An impressive run out for the Englishman, the only constant in the backline during the three matches. He was thrusting in attack and resolute in defence. He sprinted and ran circles around the great English hope in Trippier. With Danny Rose having a nightmare, he might be on course to earning a deserved England call up soon.
He is not a mystery anymore. He is not that young anymore. He is not the next Duncan Edwards for sure. He was culpable for the first goal and at involved in conceding the second as well. True to his career at United, he was later hauled off due to injury in the second half. He was more lucky when it came to penalty, having got away with a lunge on Moura in the first half.
Both he and Smalling have been at the club for more than a quinquennium, they were groomed under the likes of Rio and Vidic and being trusted even with terrible injury record. They have not progressed and a far from being what United needs.
To make matter worse Alderweireld had a stormer for Spurs. Maybe Ed Woodward would have had a better look at him from the stands then on the telly.
The pre-match rallying cry from Chris Smalling ended with the deafening silence at the end of Monday nights. After an impressive return in the first half, he got a chastening in the second. Albeit not as shambolic as his partner in crime Phil Jones, Smalling was responsible for Spurs’s third. Uncomfortable in possession, Chris’s game has never been for the purist but when he turns his defensive tackles into grossly mistimed lunges even Eric Bailley seems like Beckenbauer. He did win few headers and stayed away from other calamities, even putting a goal saving tackle on Alli.
One cannot fault the guy for trying. He would not have ever dreamed about playing a centre-back in his pomp at Athletic Bilbao and so it became a nightmare. He was clueless with positioning and found it hard to play alongside the unpredictable geniuses of Smalling and Jones. If Jermaine Jenas in mid show can see that it must have been crystal clear. And so it showed in the second half.
He had to deal with Harry Kane for most of the match, certainly not the brightest idea that Mourinho has ever come up with. To be fair, he did make a sensational last ditch block on Alli and did ok in possession till of course Spurs went through the gears in the second half. He was the first player to be hooked off.
Captain made his first started and started like a house on fire. The atmosphere was buzzing and so was Valencia, especially in the first half. Expectedly, he tired in the second half unable to carry on the attacking zest when United needed it the most. Maybe father age and mother time have finally caught up with the marauding Ecuadorian.
He showed a lack of match fitess as was expected from someone who has not played in two months and has had a surgery a month back. Replacing the pernicious Perreira in midfield, he gave the ball away at leisure and had one of his characteristic ‘why did we ever buy him’ matches. He will get better in coming matches but he will never likely become the midfielder United craves.
The two Ps stood for ponderous and pedestrian. Even though he has scored to penalties in the campaign he seems a lot worse after becoming a World Cup winner. Maybe he thinks he deserves some special treatment but the man has been atrocious in the last two matches in particular.
He gives the ball away with the freedom of the field, fails to track back or keep up with runners, kill numerous counter attacks and keeps remonstrating like it is somebody else’s fault. He is a physical behemoth but is so easily and frequently robbed of a football that its criminal.
Rather doing his talking on the microphone or micro-blogging site (You know the one) and shooting of the shoulders of his agent, he needs to own up to the badge, the fans and the team he plays for. A far cry from a World beater, Pogba seems to be not up for the fight in the colors of Manchester Red like he was for the Parisian Blue.
The Brazilian was the second most impressive player after Shaw. He was dynamic, feisty and showed glimpses of attacking intent. He was close with a couple of shots but should have done with a free header in the second half when United were looking for a comeback. He still needs time to come to grips with the sheer brutality of the league and did tire when Unitwd needed him to find another gear.
Considering how other midfielders fared, this was an improvement on his earlier performances and could see him cement his place in the staring eleven.
It was a patchy performance from Lingardinho (as he is affectionately called) on his first start of the season. He was lively and purposive in the second half but drifted off in the second. He looks good on the ball, carries it well and has a good shot but lacks composure when it comes to the final ball.
He has scored some real worldies at United and even for England, buthe needs to become more reliable in the final third. Maybe more matches under his belt and in his legs will improve. This could be a very important year for Lingard as Martial, Rashford and even Sanchez are not setting the stage alight. He could get atop that particular list if he builds on his efforts against Spurs.
Nothing new from Lukaku in this match. Horrible open-net misses, hapless holding up and touch of a grenade. The striker scored against Brighton but did not much else. On Monday, he just did less than that. Looking at the pantheon of former superstars that have played in the same position, Dennis Law, Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney, he casts a real big and forlorn figure of frustration.
The difference between Kane and him is much greater than mere goals scored and seems like United are not getting as much bang for their buck as they wished when they splashed the cash for him last summer.
Offered more threat than the rest of the midfielders and forwards combined in the second half. Unlucky to not get another penalty after the late one against Brighton. For all his elbows, follicles and faults, he offers an alternative that not many do.
More graft than craft.
Struggled again after the troubles at Brighton. Almost gifted a goal to Alli but for the heroics of De Gea.
To his credit he gave a prolonged applause to the handful of fans that stayed back after the debacle of the previous 100 minutes. Notwithstanding that this is United’s worst start to a Premier League campaign. They won the first ever Premier League with a worse start.
In his post match conference he demanded respect, respect and more respect but his team’s performances have been average, bad and worse in the first three matches of the campaign. Personally, this is the first time he has lost 2 out of the first 3 matches on a season and the signs of a Mourinho meltdown are rife.
He has won more titles than all other 19 league managers combined but none of them came with United, a different animal to Chelsea. He has an herculean task at hand.
Normally, it is the defensive setup that a Mourinho side is underpinned with but the abject collapse of the last two matches must have completely dazed Mourinho This is his Plan A, B till Z. The fact that his teams are more porous than deltaic soil leaves the man with a grave introspection to affect.
He showed courage to stand and acknowledge the crowd at the end and maybe he has more fire and fight left in him. However, if he cannot rally the troops for a battle against a direct rival for the title (kidding!) after the ‘Nightmare at the Amex’ then the writing is very much on the Old Trafford concourse.