Manchester United's unsung heroes against Tottenham Hotspur
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United faced their first real test against Tottenham at Wembley and came out on top after an absorbing 90 minutes.
David De Gea captured everyone's eye with a man of the match performance, producing 11 saves and earning a second clean sheet under Solskjaer. De Gea deservedly captured the spotlight after the match, but there were several players who were outstanding in the win against Pochettino's team.
Paul Pogba's contribution with an assist, that exposed Tottenham's defense during a counter-attack and Marcus Rashford's superb bottom-corner finish turned out to be deciding factor in Sundays big game.
The first half of the game saw United create more chances and were the better team at the half-time whistle producing three vital saves from Hugo Lloris and finding the back of the net after a swift counter-attack. The second half was a defensive master-class from United, putting everything on the line to hang on to their slender advantage.
Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones were just as important as David De Gea in securing the 3 points for Solskjaer. Lindelof made several crucial interceptions and led United's defensive line with determination.
Lindelof was United's voice at the back and seemed to be pulling the strings, constantly communicating with his partner Phil Jones. United faced a total of 21 shots and the number could have been a lot more if it were not for Lindelof and Jones. It was not surprising to see that Tottenham dominated possession (61%) which forced United to sit back at times and try and soak up the pressure.
The midfield duo of Herrera and Matic were not given as much credit as they deserved for their performance. Herrera started out on the right-side of mid-field but his position was altered in the second half to a more defensive role in which he did a lot of running in the form of tracking back and staying with the Tottenham runners. A lot of his hard-work went unseen due to the magnificence of De Gea.
Ander Herrera was calm and composed with the ball at his feet in tight situations and hardly wasted a pass, finding his man on 40 occasions out of an attempted 45 with a pass completion rate of more than 90%. Matic was just as effective as Herrera throughout the second half. His presence in mid-field helped United wriggle out of tough spots in and around their own box.
The win against Tottenham emphasized the progress the club has made in these 4 weeks under Solskjaer who has passed his first real test at Manchester United with this win against Spurs.
It also highlighted the defensive capabilities of the team and the progress made under Solskjaer. David De Gea deservedly won the man of the match but there were several other players that provided more than their fair share for this victory that takes them within 6 points of 4th place Chelsea.