|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)||MANCASHTER UNITED 0 (0)|
|Date : – Saturday 19th August 2023||Kick off : – 17.30|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,910|
|Referee : – Michael Oliver (Durham)||Linesmen : – Mr. Stuart Burt; Mr. Dan Cook|
|Fourth official : – John Brooks|
|VAR official : – Craig Pawson||VAR Assistant : – Simon Long|
|Weather : – Warm, sunny|
|Mancashter United kicked off the first half attacking the Paxton Road end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 13 minutes
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||MANCASHTER UNITED|
|Sarr 48m 39s||None|
|Martinez (o.g.) 82m 09s|
|Udogie (preventing a free-kick being taken) 63||Wan-Bissaka (preventing a free-kick being taken) 33|
|Anthony (foul on Bissouma) 38|
|Fernandes (dissent) 39|
|Ten Hag (dissent) 90|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||MANCASHTER UNITED|
|13.||Guglielmo VICARIO||24.||Andre ONANA|
|23.||Pedro PORRO ( 12. Emerson ROYAL 88)||23.||Luke SHAW|
|17.||Cristian ROMERO||19.||Raphael VARANE|
|37.||Micky van de VEN||6.||Lisandro MARTINEZ|
|38.||Destiny UDOGIE ( 33. Ben DAVIES 70)||29.||Aaron WAN-BISSAKA ( 20. Diogo DALOT 66)|
|29.||Pape Matar SARR ( 5. Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG 76)||18.||CASEMIRO|
|8.||Yves BISSOUMA||7.||Mason MOUNT ( 28. Facundo PELLESTRI 85)|
|21.||Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 27. Manor SOLOMON 88)||21.
||ANTHONY ( 14. Christian ERIKSEN 66)|
|10.||James MADDISON||8.||Bruno FERNANDES (c)|
|7.||Heung-Min SON (c)||49.||Alejandro GARNACHO ( 25. Jadon SANCHO 66)|
|9.||RICHARLISON ( 14. Ivan PERISIC 70)||10.||Marcus RASHFORD ( 9. Anthony MARTIAL 85)|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||26.||Dean HENDERSON|
|6.||Davinson SANCHEZ||40.||Radek VITEK|
|4.||Oliver SKIPP||2.||Victor LINDELHOF|
|18.||Giovani Lo CELSO||39.||Scott McTOMINAY|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Manager : – Ange Postecoglou||Manager : – Erik Ten Hag|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – Nike|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – TeamViewer
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – DXC Technology
|Colours : – All white with Navy Blue collar and cuffs on shirt
||Colours : – Red Shirts with three black adidas striped on shoulder,
Black socks with three white stripes on turnover
|It was a good evening in many ways for Spurs, with nothing more pleasing than the three points gained from a 2-0 win over Mancashter United. Even though goalkeeper Andre Onana claimed that his side were better on the day, there was no criteria as to how he came to that opinion, whereas the normally accepted way of determining the better side showed that Tottenham were much better at getting the round thing between the white things.
Cristian Romero was “good to go”, as Ange said, while the side that started here saw two changes from the one at Brentford last week, with Pape Matar Sarr coming in for Oliver Skipp and Pedro Porro replacing Emerson Royal. United’s big money striker signing Hojlund was out injured, so their star-studded squad had to make do without him as the glorious sun shone on a big crowd inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs could have gone ahead within the first minute, as Dejan Kulusevski made good ground on the right and picked out a cross to the far side of the penalty area, where Heung-Min Son was waiting, but he got his volley wrong and skewed it back across goal. After Porro was robbed just outside the Spurs area, Anthony fired a shot over and then Vicario got down to make a regulation save from a low Garnacho effort.
With six minutes gone, Bruno Fernandes started his 100 minute long whinge when Pedro Porro made a block tackle on him and was more determined than the United captain, leaving him holding his leg. The game went on and the referee eventually stopped the play for him to get attention. Porro was in defensive action straight after when Shaw got away down the left and Pedro’s pace allowed him to get back and make a well-timed sliding block for a corner to stop the cross.
When Anthony ran at the Spurs defence in the 12th minute, Rashford took it on and tried to poke a shot past Guglielmo, but the Italian keeper made a really good save with his right hand close to his body and Romero completed the clearance. Vicario did well to time his run out to meet Rashford and kept his goal intact. Twice Kulusevski got free on the right thanks to passes from Sarr and Porro, but on both occasions, he was unable to get a cross over to Son and Richarlison as he was blocked by Martinez winning corners each time. Nothing came from them, but Tottenham should have had a free-kick in a dangerous position when Son played the ball down the left and Maddison was pulled back by Garnacho, but unfortunately, referee Michael Oliver decided it was a Mancashter United player, so nothing was given.
Every time that United got a corner, they were bombarded with the plastic bags used for the pre-match tifo and it gave Fernandes something else to moan about. Rashford planted a header over the bar, but it would have been immaterial if it had gone in, because he was offside, but Spurs were being opened up and it was on our right that most of the attacks were coming down. The Spurs players were blocking well and following one, Son beat Varane for pace, doing what all United players do when they can’t keep up – pulling Sonny back, but he continued his run. He played a square pass to Sarr, who fed it on to Kulusevski, who could only shoot low into Onana’s dive.
Twenty-five minutes in, there was a break that gave Garnacho a chance to come in form the left and his shot hit Romero, sending Vicario the wrong way, but going off for a corner. The red shirts started to plead for a VAR review as the ball had hit Romero’s arm. As usual, it took ages to come to a decision, with no idea given to the crowd about what was being considered, but in the end Oliver pointed to the corner as it was deemed that the arm was not in an abnormal position. Having been too busy moaning, which was a bit rich considering Wolves should have had a penalty when Onana punched tow players in the face without getting near the ball on Monday, they were not in a position to take the corner and more time was wasted.
Spurs had been building in confidence, based around Bissouma’s ball-winning and passing abilities, but when Maddison ran away from the pedestrian Mount from the edge of our penalty box, he passed it off to Udogie, then he gave it to son outside him on the left. The Italian youngster continued his run into the box, but had gone offside by the time Sonny played it through to him, but Pape Matar Sarr had made a diagonal run from a central position and turned a shot at goal with his left foot that Onana could only block. Pape got to the rebound, but could only poke it back at the keeper with little power behind it. That was just before the half hour and from that point, United started to lose it. Firstly, Wan-Bissaka went through Son from behind for the second time to concede a free-kick and then stood in front of it. Obviously, the referee regarded this is a more serious offence than the two fouls on the safety of the player, as he waved a yellow card at him for thwarting the quick taking of the dead-ball award. Secondly, when Fernandes got between Udogie and van de Ven to meet Shaw’s cross with his head, it looked a goal all day long, but he manged not to just put it over the bar, but way over the bar from the edge of the six yard box. Completely unmarked, a player of his supposed quality should not be missing the goal. Shaw then tried to pull Kulusevski down, but the Swede still got his pass off and finally, Anthony hacked down Bissouma as he moved past him. He got booked but then showed the biggest display of dissent against the decision you could imagine, which was probably worth another booking on top of the first. The crowd agreed, but when the yellow came out again, it was Fernandes who went into the book for questioning the Anthony booking.
When van de Ven scooped a pass over the United back line into the box, Destiny brought it down and Sonny took it off his foot. He ran right and laid the ball into the path of Pedro Porro, who smashed a shot out of Onana’s reach, only to see it crash back out off the crossbar. Shaw headed out, but only to Sarr on the right hand corner of the box and he took the ball to the dead-ball line, crossed and it came off Shaw’s knee and up onto the outside of the post with Onana nowhere. Unfortunately for Spurs, the ball came out and was scrambled away. That was five minutes before the break and two minutes on, Kulusevski shot from the right, but again into the chest of the keeper.
The break might not have come at the right time for Spurs, but three minutes into the second half the way we had been playing paid off. Porro passed in front of Kulusevski and he ran at the defence, taking the ball to the dead-ball line and pulling it back. It was a difficult ball to deal with and Martinez could only deflect it across goal off his hip and coming in at the far post, Pape Matar Sarr fired it into the roof of the net to put Spurs ahead. It wasn’t an easy finish, but he showed good technique in keeping the rising half-volley on target and he celebrated the goal with the fans down in the South-east corner.
The joy was almost very short-lived, as United launched an attack, with Anthony coming inside onto his left foot from the right and curling his trademark shot against Vicario’s right-hand post. Immediately, Spurs moved upfield and it was Cristian Romero winning the ball five yards outside the United area that won the ball to Sarr and it moved across the face of the box through Maddison to Son on the left and his cute ball beyond Wan-Bissaka picked out Udogie’s run and his early shot was kept out low at his near post by Onana kicking the ball away. When we won a corner shortly after, the ball came back into the box when it was cleared, with Martinez blatantly blocking off Romero without any intent of playing the ball, but the referee didn’t give it a second glance. The United defender knew what might be coming as he looked nervously over his shoulder at Oliver and hadn’t even bothered running after the loose ball. With Romero grounded, the ball came back in and Maddison was floored by a tackle from Anthony. Both Spurs men were on the floor, as United continued playing and the referee only stopped play when a long ball had gone through to Vicario. The Maddison challenge looked like it was a block tackle, while the first was shockingly thought not to be a penalty, as no contact with the ball was made.
Oliver had decided that he wasn’t going to give anything to Tottenham. Every time there was a foul on Richarlison, nothing was given. Two handed push in his back by Martinez – no free-kick. A handball as the ball was played past Mount – nothing given. but a weak touch on Rashford and suddenly there’s a set-piece for United that was crossed from the right by Fernandes and Casemiro rose to win a header unmarked seven yards out and Vicario dived upwards and stretching for it, managed to flick it over the top with a strong right hand. From the corner, Son cleared it away and Kulusevski was first to it ten yards inside our half. Wan-Bissaka was with him and just got the slightest touch on it before he brought Dejan down, otherwise he would have been off.
Guglielmo was in the action again, diving low to his left to push a shot by Fernandes wide after a through pass beat Romero’s intended interception, but there was an offside flag up anyway. Bissouma fired over at the other end, before the midfielder dragged the ball under his foot to Son in the box, he played it out to Udogie, who found Bissouma again. This time it was a back-heel that went to Destiny, who touched it to Son on the left of the box and he had to run across the box 12 yards out to try and work a shooting chance, only for Shaw to block his effort at the end of it. It was a very nice piece of play and seems to typify the belief this group have in playing under the coach’s direction.
The referee booked Udogie when he gave a free-kick against him and the Italian didn’t agree. Spurs were winning the ball with ease and when the ball was played up to Bissouma, he shimmied and shifted the ball as he moved into the box and ended his run with a prodded shot that had Onana scrambling, but went wide. The Tottenham crowd were very loud, while, apart from a few “Glazer out” chants, the United section was notable by their silence. Christian Eriksen got a good ovation form the Spurs fans when he came off the subs bench as part of a triple substitution. The strength of Romero’s tackle dumped Shaw on the floor and when Fernandes played a pass straight off the pitch, he was rounded derided by Spurs fans, as United were being pressed all over the pitch.
United’s intention to play the ball out from the back almost back-fired when Onana played it to Eriksen on the edge of their box and he slipped as he went to pass it and only a panicky covering interception by Varane prevented Maddison having a free shot at goal. Pape Matar Sarr made some crunching tackles in front of the dug-outs to stop United breaking away and a new star was born. He was substituted with 15 minutes to go with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg replacing him.
In the 83rd minute, Romero played the ball forward to Son, who laid it back to James Maddison, who swept it left to Perisic. The Croatian poked the ball through Dalot’s legs and Ben Davies popped up to have a swing at it and might have got the slightest touch, but Lisandro Martinez did touch it and left his keeper standing as the ball went into his own net to double Tottenham’s lead. It was a good passing move and at this stage of the game, United were being passed around, without making a lot of effort to get it back.
Vicario came to claim a low ball into the box and then Pellestri went down in the box, Fernandes was in the referee’s face straight away and after a VAR review, it was decided that the United player went down easy. Manor Solomon came on for his debut with three minutes left and Porro was rested, with Royal taking his place. Solomon was soon making Shaw look stupid, as he shifted the ball from one foot to the other to get past him and like a lot of United players, if they can’t tackle, they pull you back. Fernandes, who had been shocking all afternoon, tried a weak effort from outside the box that Vicario was able to pat down and gather with ease.
All the Spurs players were getting in on the act, with Hojbjerg’s Cruyff turn tight to the line leaving Sancho standing, with “When the Spurs go Marching in” rang out. Davies seized onto a blocked Maddison shot to thunder a right-foot volley at goal that would have tested Onana if it hadn’t hit Perisic. With a couple of minutes of added time left on the clock, a cross into the box was met with the full force of Varane’s forehead and Vicario rose to push it over off the bar, which was a fine save, as he hadn’t known that the United man was offside, so it wouldn’t have counted.
A tired challenge by Bissouma on Pellestri on the edge of the D gave United a last chance to get anything out of the game, but Fernandes capped off a dreadful afternoon by putting it over the bar. And that was that. A well-won home opener and a welcome victory over one of the supposed title challengers (stop laughing). While Fernandes said he would be waiting an apology for not having a penalty, perhaps he needs to look at his role in their defeat. As captain, he sets an awful example and once he loses it, his game goes to pot. Ten Hag can moan all he likes about the decisions, but perhaps he would like to comment on all those that went his way, when perhaps they shouldn’t have. No doubt the referee was correct on every occasion then.
Apart from snide fouls, it was difficult to remember that Mount and Caesmiro were playing, while Shaw looked slow and was found out quite often. Martinez was probably the better of the United defenders, but was at fault for both of the goals and up front, Rashford looked like the 2021-22 version, with Garnacho and Pellestri both weak when they had the ball in good positions. Anthony dances around with the ball, but his end product isn’t consistent enough, so a lot more money needs to be spent, as the new striker that Ten Hag reckons will change their form won’t deal with all the issues evident in their side.
As for Spurs, the Ange-Ball era is now well underway and it is such a refreshing change from the last few seasons with Mourinho and Conte in charge. The team looked like it might revolve around Maddison, but it appears that Bissouma will be the central character in our game. James was inches away a couple of times from providing goal-scoring opportunities, but is always keen to receive the ball to prompt our attacks. Not only that, but van de Ven looked comfortable on the ball and defending today, with Romero alongside him playing with a calm assurance, rather than an over-aggressive ferocity. Kulusevski is finding his range with shots on goal, but is providing problems for the other side’s defence, with Son, operating astutely on the other side. Richarlison is still looking for the service he needs through the middle, but works hard and links the play and Sarr was a star today, reading the game, tackling and passing like a much more mature player.
It may be getting a bit boring by saying that Yves Bissouma was the man of the match, but he ran the midfield for Spurs and there are shades of Dembele about him which other people have mentioned, but, for me, there are bits of Modric too. The way he manipulates the ball and eases around players, using his body to prevent opponents getting a tackle in is superb and it is difficult to know why Conte wouldn’t use him. Yves was pressed hard for MotM by Pape Matar Sarr and Cristian Romero, while Vicario, van de Ven, Udogie, Son and Maddison were all top performers. Porro had a difficult first half, being played the ball in tight areas a couple of times when he lost the ball and with the United attacks coming down his side of the pitch, but there were some good things he was involved in and he grew into the second half.
The trumpet version of “When The Spurs Go Marching In” before kick off got the crowd going and the pumping anthems at the end of the match gave the crowd the opportunity to cheer the team off in attempts to improve the atmosphere. For once, the loud music at the end wasn’t to bury “Levy Out” chants, with the pre-match protest about ticket prices being held outside the ground, leaving inside for a more positive environment to get behind the side.
It’s only the second game, but already the season looks as bright as the sun that shone down on the THS this evening.
|Nottingham Forest||2||Sheffield United||1|
||1||Brighton & Hove Albion||4|
|Mancashter City||1||Newcash United||0|
|West Ham United London||3||Chelsea||1|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|1||Brighton & Hove Albion||2||2||0||0||8||2||6||+6|
|7||West Ham United London||2||1||1||0||4||2||4||+2|