If first impressions are still anything to go by, then Manchester United failed ignominiously from the onset on Sunday. The match was delayed for half an hour after United apparently got stuck in traffic on their way to White Hart Lane; but that’s not the half of it.
Louis van Gaal’s charges went on to lose the match 3-0, a result that saw Tottenham Hotspur beat United at home for the first time in a decade and a half.
The victory ensured Spurs kept their title chase alive by narrowing the gap between Leicester City to seven points, having began the day ten points adrift of the league leader who had an early kick-off. Here are my four observations from United’s loss against Spurs.
Fosu-Mensah is a hidden gem
Despite making his debut as a substitute a little over a month ago against Arsenal, Timothy Fosu-Mensah has taken to his new surroundings like a duck to water.
For the 68 minutes he was on, the 18-year old was United’s best player on the pitch, keeping Erik Lamela in check whilst almost driving him to the point of tears with his astute defending.
The prodigy registered six clearances, five tackles and five interceptions in total and it was no surprise the flood gates opened after he was forced off with injury midway through the second.
Louis van Gaal has lost his marbles
In what was perhaps the most bizarre decision ever made in his Manchester United career- more bizarre than Phil Jones taking corners- the gaffer brought on Ashley Young for Marcus Rashford at the stroke of half time.
Instead of moving Young to the left wing with Anthony Martial as a striker, the Dutchman became the subject of ire from pundits by playing him as centre forward, a position he held ineffectively until the end of the match.
When Martial was finally played as United’s furthest man, it was too little too late for the Frenchman to have a bearing on the final result on the scoreboard.
At time it’s almost as though Louis van Gaal is begging for his p45.
De Gea can’t do it all
Voted the best goalkeeper during the 2015 Ballon d’Or- second only to Manuel Neuer- David De Gea is without an iota of a doubt among the best there is. But even the best shot stoppers require some support from the backline. Not necessarily the best defense, just a sane defense.
This wasn’t the case as a series of daft, slapdash defending saw United’s fate concealed as they conceded three goals in a staggering six minutes.
Although Matteo Darmian was culpable for two of the goals, it was hard to pin the blame on him when the whole defensive line appeared stretched and resigned.
Champions League highly unlikely
Manchester United’s chances of achieving Champions League qualification seemed ever bleaker after their loss to Tottenham.
The Old Trafford outfit are now fifth in the log with 53 points, four points behind their noisy neighbors Manchester City who hold the last Champions League spot.
Even if they finish at full throttle by winning all their last six games with the hope that Pellegrini’s men drop massive point’s, who’s to say City won’t win the Champions League this season and limit the number of English teams to three for next year’s competition?
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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