Manchester United 1-1 Spurs: 3 Talking points from an entertaining draw

Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

While the scoreline may read boring, Manchester United put on a show.

Spurs and Manchester United were both in full strength for a clash that would decide Champions League places for next year with a spotlight on Paul Pogba.

It has been more than three months since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men last played a competitive match, with the Premier League suspended in March and then rescheduled for June because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was going to be an intense game with former United boss Mourinho look to get one back at his old team with the game happening behind close doors in North London

With the likes of Pogba back in contention, it was always going to be a battle between Pogba and Mourinho due to their relationship during Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford. There was a conundrum for Ole to choose his midfield trio with the likes of Bruno-Pogba-Fred preferred by most fans. But Ole ended up setting up Mctominay-Bruno-Fred in the team lineup with the idea of introducing Pogba in the second half due to concerns over his match fitness.

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While Spurs midfielder Dele Alli was suspended, Harry Kane, Heung Min Son and Moussa Sissoko were back into the lineup as a welcome relief for Mourinho. Spurs came to the game winless in last five matches, losing twice to Leipzig in Champions League and losing to both Chelsea and Wolves in the league. Spurs’ defensive woes hadn’t improved much since hiring Mourinho.

Meanwhile, United had won three of four, with wins over Chelsea and Manchester City and was looking in good form since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes. Manchester United’s form against Top 6 team gave us an indication that it was going to be a routine win over stuttering Spurs.

#1 Maguire-Lindelof pairing issues and De Gea’s goalkeeping errors

United will be going all out to get Sancho this summer. But another area that requires an upgrade is the centre-back position. Tuanzebe and Bailly are injury-prone while Jones is not something United will trust in the defence with all the errors committed in the last few seasons. In this game, we got to see why the Maguire-Lindelof partnership is questionable with Bergwijn make running for it through the defence for the first goal.

Maguire was at fault taking to long to make the tackle and allowing space for Bergwijn to run into and Lindelof was unable to catch him in the nick of time. De Gea was also criticized for not making a routine save, conceding at his near post which has become a trend this season with him.

#2 Ole’s lacks Plan B against top 6 teams

It came as a surprise to United fans that Solskjaer opted for 4 defenders at the back instead of his preferred 5 against top teams to ensure that stability in defence while attacking on the counter. Although a lot of pundits and fans hated the back 5, it did produce results. In the second half, once Pogba was introduced they looked better with Bruno partnering the Frenchman. But Ole needs to make a few decisions regarding his ideal lineup and formation for next few crunch games to seal a spot in the Champions League.

#3 Pogba is a beast

The moment Pogba came on the game changed for United,he made some daunting runs at the defence and won the penalty which Bruno Fernandes slotted in calmly. He was a constant threat with his long balls and his partnership with Bruno looks exciting and will cause more damage to opponents in coming fixtures. United fans need to stop criticizing and get behind him because he could be the difference to United’s Champions League chances. A world-class player indeed.

Next. Manchester City vs Arsenal: Top performers and flops of the match. dark

Manchester United face Sheffield United at Old Trafford while Spurs have a London derby against West Ham.