Match Report | Highlights | Post-Match Reactions
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester United 2
Porro 56′, Son Heung-min 79′ | Sancho 7′, Rashford 44′
Manchester United went in at halftime two goals to the goal and safe in the knowledge that they were, by far, the better team. A goal in the seventh minute from Sancho and a finish close to halftime from Rashford had given them what seemed like an unassailable lead in one of their most comfortable halves of football this season. Unfortunately, the comfort of the first half became complacency in the second as they conceded two goals to a poor Spurs side.
People will talk about a Spurs fight back, but that is not what happened. This was a capitulation from a United team so superior to Spurs in the first half that they thought they could coast to victory in the second.
United, not playing particularly intensely, broke through Tottenham’s defences within seven minutes of the start. Lindelof, under no pressure, played the ball vertically to Rashford, who made his way past a couple of half-hearted challenges before feeding Sancho on the left corner of the box. Sancho took a couple of touches, then dropped his shoulder before curling a shot into the far right of the goal. It was a great finish, but it also felt like Spurs had collapsed under the slightest pressure.
Disappointingly, despite being the far superior side, United coasted most of the rest of the first half, willing to play well within themselves and with little urgency to rack up more goals. However, Spurs were so poor that a second United goal was inevitable, and eventually, it would come.
Late in the first half, from one of Spurs’ few sporadic attacks, Perisic brought out a decent save from De Gea. From the resultant corner, United won the ball, and Fernandes launched a long ball to Rashford on the counter. Rashford, one v one against Dier, took the defender on before smashing home an unstoppable left-footed shot past Forster.
United went in at halftime two goals up without ever having to be at their best. Spurs had hardly made a fight of it, and it should’ve been game over. All United needed to do was turn up for the second half, take their inevitable chances, and this would’ve been a comfortable stroll to victory. Instead of taking their foot off the pedal, United put their feet up and hoped for the best.
Spurs were fired up at halftime. The first half had been humiliating. That they showed some spirit in the second was hardly surprising. It came as a huge shock to United, though. Used to time and space to do whatever they wanted, the slightest pressure from Spurs was too much for them to cope with. The first Spurs goal came after an ambling Wan-Bissaka allowed Peresic to cross unchallenged. As United defenders panicked, the ball fell to Porro in the box, and his volley nestled in the top corner.
United tried to go up the gears immediately. Fernandes hit the crossbar after a brilliant move, but after being in neutral for so long, United struggled to regain composure or possession outside of fleeting moments of quality.
Fearing tiredness would cause them to lose control of the game, ten Hag made several questionable substitutions that ensured United lost control. Malacia, Fred, Weghorst and Martial replaced Wan-Bissaka, Eriksen, Antony and Sancho. Perhaps understandable given United’s long season and recent travails, the changes undoubtedly ceded control to Spurs, and the subsequent equaliser became almost guaranteed.
At eighty minutes, Malacia was caught out of position from a De Gea goal kick and allowed Kane beyond him. Kane slid a cross along the ground to the far post and Son, completely unmarked, had an easy finish for the equaliser.
This wasn’t a fightback; it was a capitulation. United play the vastly improved Aston Villa on Sunday and, if this level of performance is repeated, will be lucky to get anything from the game.
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw, Dalot, Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Rashford, Sancho.
Subs:Butland, Malacia, Williams, Fred, Pellistri, Sabitzer, Elanga, Martial, Weghorst.
Forster, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Porro, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Perisic, Richarlison, Kane, Son
Subs: Austin, Sanchez, Danjuma, Kulusevski, Tanganga, Moura, Sarr, Davies, Mundle