Premier League 2017/18; Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Player Ratings
The first game of the weekend provided us with a heavyweight clash between two of the league’s potential title contenders. Manchester United welcomed Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho looking to make last week’s historic defeat a distant memory.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino came into the game without his most prized asset, Harry Kane.
What followed was a cagey affair between two tactically well-drilled teams. In the end, it was only a moment of quality from Anthony Martial that separated the teams. The win means United stay clear of Tottenham in 2nd place, only two points behind Manchester City.
Here’s how the players on either team rated:
David de Gea: 6/10
David De Gea was relatively untested throughout the match and had to make 4 routine saves in the 90 minutes. But in Tottenham’s more dominant spells, he also maintained his concentration to snuff out any potential crosses.
Antonio Valencia: 7/10
The powerful right-back found himself even more in the attacking third than usual as Mourinho deployed him in the wing-back role. The Portuguese manager has always favoured him in United’s build-up and the Ecuadorian responded by having 70 touches of the ball and creating 2 chances.
Eric Bailly: 6/10
Bailly made his much-anticipated return to the United starting XI after spending 21 days on the sidelines. However, on his return, Bailly didn’t have much to do as Christian Eriksen refused to run at him.
Chris Smalling: 6/10
The former England captain didn’t have much to do in defence besides cover the irrational Phil Jones. Throughout the course of the game, Smalling won 2 aerials, won 2 tackle and completed 26 passes.
Phil Jones: 5/10
For some reason Phil Jones kept stepping out of his defensive line, often leaving his teammates exposed. Fortunately for the Englishman, Tottenham were adept enough to expose him.
Ashley Young: 8/10
Under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho, Ashley Young has reinvigorated his career. In a time where both Luke Shaw and Daley Blind have failed to step up, the makeshift defender has excelled. Against Tottenham, Young completed 22 passes, won 2 aerials and successfully completed 100% of his tackles.
Ander Herrera: 5/10
The Spaniard’s job in the middle of the park is to press the opposing team and initiate counter attacks. To be fair to him, he did keep Harry Winks quiet but his contribution in attacks were minimal.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
The Serbian shielded his back three efficiently and never really looked vulnerable at any point. He didn't put a foot wrong in either defence or attack, the 29-year-old maintained a 74% pass accuracy through the game.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 5.5/10
Manchester United’s most creative player struggled immensely to break down Tottenham’s compact defence, he was deprived of space and didn’t have the freedom to float on to the wings either. Subsequently, he was substituted in the 65th minute.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5/10
As ever, Marcus Rashford was Manchester United only forward outlet on the counter-attack. The 19-year-old constantly tried to run at the Tottenham defence but his efforts were in vain.
Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10
The Belgian forward was limited in his service, but through his unrivalled power, Lukaku made chances for himself. Romelu hit the post and came close to breaking the deadlock several times on his own.
Anthony Martial: 7/10
The Frenchman came on in the 70th minute and showed Jose Mourinho why he should be starting every match. Martial came on and changed the game, making several attacking runs that stretched Tottenham’s back three. Eleven minutes after coming on, Martial scored the winning goal in a hotly contested affair.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
The pacey playmaker got himself into several threatening positions, but his evident lack of quality meant he couldn’t convert from those opportunities.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
The full-back had minimal time on the pitch and couldn’t affect the game.