Manchester United were pegged back having led by two goals to draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
The visitors took the lead inside seven minutes when Jadon Sancho cut in on the left-hand side of the area before finessing a strike into the far corner beyond Fraser Forster, who was in the side in place of injured first choice stopper Hugo Loris.Embed from Getty Images
Sancho could have doubled the lead not long after. The winger was denied by a save from a similar position to where he scored before having the follow-up cleared off the line by the head of Ivan Perisic.
Having gone a goal down so early after being thumped 6-1 at Newcastle last weekend, Spurs looked deflated after going behind and failed to really threaten United aside from one or two half chances.
The best chance for the home side ended up being the foundation of United’s second when Perisic found acres of space on the left wing just before half time; after his shot was saved at point blank range by David De Gea, the Croatian international lost out to Casemiro near the corner flag. The former set it out to Bruno Fernandes who switched the play in the path of Marcus Rashford on the opposite wing where he took on Eric Dier and fired it in at the near post.
The Reds headed into the interval in cruise control, but it would only go downhill from there. Ryan Mason had a big team talk to give on his first game in the hotseat after Christian Stellini’s dismissal, and he certainly delivered.
The men in white come flying out of the blocks with momentum and pressure, which eventually came to pass when Pedro Porro found the top corner with an innovative finish with his right foot in the 56th minute. The ball came out on the volley to the Spanish wing-back after a scrappy sequence of play in the area.
Fernandes had an opportunity to restore the two-goal advantage instantly after, but the midfielder was denied by the woodwork after a nonchalant nutmeg inside the area and a dink that was agonisingly too high.
Man United continued to look sluggish and sloppy, opitimised by Fred who could not get anything right after coming on for Christian Eriksen on the hour mark, and Erik ten Hag’s men were made to pay in the 79th minute when Heung-Min Son tucked in an equaliser.Embed from Getty Images
Harry Kane- the figurehead of Spurs’ rejuvenated spirit- played a sweet ball across the box against the run of play to find Son, who by that point was clear of both Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof to set the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium alite.
A shell-shocked United had the better of the possession for the remainder of the game, but failed to create anything worthy of winning the match as Ten Hag’s men stumbled on the road again in the Premier League.
Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Manchester United (Porro 56’, Son 56’) (Sancho 7’, Rashford 44’)
Man of the match
Luke Shaw was fantastic for his side on Thursday night, in spite of Spurs’ second half comeback.
The Englishman was once again playing at centre-back in light of injuries to Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, and most recently, Harry Maguire; nevertheless, the 27-year-old barely put a foot wrong.
His pace allowed United to play a high line in the first-half, and he often showed his recovery speed when the likes of Kane, Son and Richarlison were played in over the top of the defence.
He showed a different side to his defensive capabilities in the second forty-five with United playing deeper in their own half. His tackling, clearances and passing out the back could not be faulted, and he was a big part of keeping the opposition at bay sometimes.
The bigger picture
Having headed into the interval in control, taking just a point back to Manchester is a bitter pill to swallow for Reds fans. The game management just did not go to plan.
In the eyes of many, United looked tired in the second half. Factoring in the away trips to Seville and London in the last week, plus the 120 minutes at the weekend, it would not be surprising if this was the case.
That leads nicely onto the manager’s changes to accommodate the tiredness. Ten Hag’s substitutions did not work again; Fred came on and put in a very shaky performance, Anthony Martial never had a sniff, and Wout Weghorst at no.10 just never seemed to benefit the side at all. Tyrell Malacia never got into the groove of the game, either.
The squad depth needs to be better next season. United need to be in a position where the players coming onto the pitch are worthy of slotting in comfortably in games. At the moment, fans are holding their breath when Ten Hag looks to his bench.
In spite of the negatives, United are very much in control of getting Champions League qualification, whether it be through third or fourth spot. The point is not the worst point in the grand scheme, arguably.
What is next?
Next up for Ten Hag and United is Aston Villa in the Premier League at Old Trafford this weekend on Sunday 30th April, kicking off at 14:00 (BST).
After that, United head to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday 4th May in the Premier League. That one kicks off at 20:00 (BST).