Ange Postecoglou Hands Erik Ten Hag A Midfield Lesson As Spurs Beat Man Utd

Tottenham dominated as Man Utd put in another tepid display
19:29, 19 Aug 2023

Tottenham Hotspur gave Manchester United a midfield lesson in the second half of their 2-0 win in the Premier League. Yves Bissouma was absolutely phenomenal in the middle, as for the second consecutive week United were second best and this time, they didn’t escape with any points. 

Erik Ten Hag named an unchanged side as he searched for a response to his side's below-par performance against Wolves, but he simply didn’t get it, despite a bright opening. Cristian Romero escaped conceding a penalty as the ball struck his hand from Alejandro Garnacho’s effort and Bruno Fernandes missed a header from six yards out when unmarked. 

But from that point, they were completely second best as Spurs found their composure. The home side hit the post twice in a minute as Pedro Porro thumped one against the Manchester United crossbar before Luke Shaw deflected a cross onto his own post. 


They went in at the break level, but Postecoglou’s words took his side up a level, as United wilted. Spurs opened the scoring as Dejan Kulusevski was handed too much space on the wing. He drove the by-line and pulled one back to Pape Sarr, who found the roof off the net. 

Antony hit the post immediately in reply and Casemiro’s header from set piece flicked over the bar by Vicario as UNited tried to come back into it. However, Tottenham continued to press on, and created chances at will. 

Along with Maddison, one of the key creative forces was Yves Bissouma. The former Brighton midfielder struggled for chances last term, but under Ange Postecoglou looks to have found his feet in London. He was not just energetic and ferocious when winning the ball back, but quality on the ball as United’s midfield three once again found life tough. 

United's stars haven't fired so far this season
United's stars haven't fired so far this season

The balance in Manchester United’s midfield looks to be off. Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount are yet to click as a trio. Last week they were overwhelmed by Wolves’ physicality, and this week, Bissouma, goalscorer Sarr and Maddison just looked better than them. 

Given the money they’ve spent addressing that area, it seems odd that they are being so outplayed across midfield. Questions will rightly start to be asked of Ten Hag. He’s made some big bold calls in his time at the club so far, but things don’t seem to be clicking so far this term. It’s still early, and they have a win on the board, but they look so dysfunctional going forward. Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Antony, along with the substitutes, look like they barely know each other. 

On the other hand, Spurs were fluid going forward, even if Richarlison was slightly off it yet again. They seem to have an attacking plan when they move forward, getting the ball to Maddison in space and Son out on the left after a patient build-up. 

The calmness on the ball at the back is something that Spurs fans will have to get used to but those in attendance today will have loved what they saw from their side. They might not have the ability without Kane in the final third, but they do have a functional team to cheer on. Which is more than can be said of Manchester United at the moment. 

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