Manchester United suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Despite having more possession, United managed just one shot on target over the 90 minutes, and the home side took their opponents apart in less than six minutes.
After the game, Louis van Gaal correctly pointed out there had been nothing between the teams before Spurs’ first goal on 70 minutes, but was wrong when he claimed United had been playing well up until that point.
Neither goalkeeper had much to do, until Anthony Martial broke in to the Spurs box, beating a couple of players along the way, before firing straight at Hugo Lloris.
Had he done better with this attempt at scored, maybe the result would have been different, but he didn’t, so pondering on this point for too long is meaningless.
United fans may point to the substitution of Tim Fosu-Mensah, the right-back who has shown great promise since making his first team debut two months earlier, as all three of Spurs’ goals came within 10 minutes of his withdrawal.
Fosu-Mensah, who turned 18-years-old at the turn of the year, put in some great challenges on the prolific Harry Kane, but was forced off the field on 68 minutes. Two minutes later, with Matteo Darmian in the Dutchman’s place, Dele Ali put the home team 1-0 up.
The collapse that followed was remarkable, with Toby Alderweireld doubling Tottenham’s lead four minutes later, before Erik Lamela wrapped up the points two minutes after that.
We’ve seen similar performances in this fixture in the past, but usually it was from the team playing in white.
The most famous occasion was in 2001 when Spurs went in at half-time 3-0 up, however half an hour in to the second half, United were ahead, thanks to goals from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron. To add insult to injury, David Beckham scored a late goal to make it 5-3 to United.
A repeat of Spurs’ capitulation was seen in the 2008-09 season, with five games left to play, and United just three points ahead of title rivals Liverpool.
With half an hour played, Tottenham were 2-0 up at Old Trafford, and that’s the way it remained until an hour on the clock. In the following 10 minutes, United scored three goals, and went on to win the game 5-2.
Now, United’s performance on Sunday can’t be compared to closely to these matches, as they didn’t have a foothold in the game, but to concede three goals in such a short period of time was ridiculous, and highlighted how little fight this United squad has in it.
It was clear the tables had turned between the two clubs ahead of kick-off, just from looking at the league table, but the result, and the manner of United’s defeat, shows how the roles of these two teams has reversed.
Spurs are unlikely to win the title this season, suggesting they are still falling short of emulating United of the past few decades, but they certainly occupy a position United fans would love for their club to be in.
Republik Of Mancunia for Metro