Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur
After a Premier League result like this – one that will live forever in the memory of Spurs diehards – my question is where do I start?
Do I praise the quiet, determined and professional Tottenham Hotspur for securing their best ever victory at Old Trafford; for a dynamic, disciplined display in a ridiculously, unfairly congested schedule which should bode them well in the season ahead.
Alternatively, do I lay into Manchester United for such a hapless humiliation; a self-inflicted embarrassment which shows the folly of their chief executive Ed Woodward’s ways and the fact that their likable manager is no more than a rookie who is out of his depth.
The truth is – both are equally fair judgments.
Highlights of the game
I’ll start with the hosts – for the impact of this home humiliation must have far more repercussions than merely be accepted as a one-off.
Amateurish defending simply highlighted what United fans have been crying out for all summer – Woodward must surely see that.
A rash moment from Anthony Martial added to the woe, although the reaction from Erik Lamela was embarrassing.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s inability to lift morale was the next fatal error and his limited managerial nous at the top level was then highlighted further by his half-time ‘damage limitation’ substitutions. 1-4 soon became 1-6 in an utter shambles.
But enough about United for this was Spurs’ day and the Premier League betting odds on them securing a top four finish this term have genuine substance.
I doubt anyone could have predicted this outcome beforehand, even less so when Bruno Fernandes coolly fired United ahead from the spot inside two minutes after Martial had been brought down by Davinson Sanchez.
It was to prove the hosts’ only bright spot of the afternoon as Spurs created an afternoon of their own personal Premier League highlights to savour.
Within five minutes, Spurs were ahead.
Tanguy Ndombele smashed home and then Son Heung-Min raced clear to put the visitors in front, both times after abysmal home defending.
By the time United had been reduced to 10 men through Martial’s misdemeanour, Spurs were well on top and added two more quick fire goals to render the contest over by half-time as two more calamitous errors led to Harry Kane and Son making it 4-1.
While he appears out of his depth, Solskjaer could surely not have envisaged such personal individual mistakes befalling his side.
Four had become six long before the end as Serge Aurier roved in behind Paul Pogba to hit home a fine fifth and Kane grabbed his second from the spot after another Pogba mistake – has such a naturally gifted player at the top level ever had such a bad attitude?
The fact remains that it’s almost two years since Jose Mourinho was sacked by Woodward when it was obvious to this SBOTOP observer that the manager should be backed and players he had ran out of patience with – such as Pogba –either improve their attitude or be moved on.
Woodward went for the former option and he has been hiding behind a fans’ favourite in Solskjaer ever since to mask his latest self-imposed mess.
How Mourinho with a point to prove must have enjoyed this.
The day he returned to Old Trafford and stuck two fingers up at his detractors – Woodward and Pogba the most foolish of all.
Kane has been directly involved in nine goals in the Premier League this season (three goals and six assists) – only Thierry Henry in 2004/05 has had a hand in more in the opening four games of a Premier League campaign (10).
Son and Kane are the first visiting players since Edin Dzeko in October 2011 to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game at Old Trafford.
The pair have now combined for 26 Premier League goals; the fifth-most of any duo in the competition’s history, and the most of any current pair.
Tottenham are the first visiting side to score four first half goals in a league game away at United since Spurs themselves also did in November 1957 in a 4-3 win.
This was the first Premier League match to see three goals scored in the opening seven minutes since Burnley v Man City in April 2010, and first in which both sides scored in this period since Nottingham Forest v Man Utd in February 1999.
United have lost their opening two home games to a league season for only the fifth time, and first since 1986-87.
They last conceded multiple goals in each of their first three fixtures of a top-flight season in 1972-73.
Their 41 Premier League games since the start of last season have produced 21 penalties (16 for and five against), which is second only to Leicester City’s total of 22.
Mourinho has only lost three of his 23 matches against United in all competitions. All three defeats were at Old Trafford, with one apiece for Chelsea, Inter Milan and Spurs.
Man Utd go to Newcastle next in the Premier League (October 17) and then are at last season’s runners-up Paris St Germain in a Champions League heavyweight clash three days later before a Premier League heavyweight meeting as Chelsea come to Old Trafford on October 24.
Spurs host West Ham in the league a fortnight today and then welcome LASK to White Hart Lane in the Europa League four days later before traveling to Burnley the following weekend.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.