Takeaways from United's triumph at Tottenham
Manchester United got back to winning ways with a fantastic team performance in a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley put the Reds in front at the break after a few hairy moments, not least when Cristian Romero appeared to give Spurs the lead – only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.
The home side pushed further forward in the second half but were caught out twice, Edinson Cavani deftly dinking home before Marcus Rashford put the icing on the cake in the closing stages.
Here are five key topics of conversation, direct from north London…
Much of the pre-match talk surrounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to start with a back three – or a back five, depending on how you look at it. United hadn’t started a game in that shape for almost a year and it can be difficult to switch between systems. But the solid week of work at Carrington, plus the return of Raphael Varane as the central marshal, clearly paid dividends and Tottenham's dangerous front three of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura were largely kept quiet. It was only a second clean sheet for the Reds this season and came at a much-needed time following last week's defeat to Liverpool.
Playing three central defenders, plus two ‘sitters’ in Fred and Scott McTominay, places plenty of onus on the wing-backs to cover each flank and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw certainly didn’t disappoint. The former was arguably United’s most impressive player in the first 45, as he chewed up the acres on the right, while Shaw recovered from an early booking to be a constant menace down the left, providing the pre-assist for Ronaldo’s opener.
Ronaldo and Cavani have plundered goals through their career: as journalist Rich Jolly pointed out before the game, the pair’s tally added up to an astonishing 1,218 before kick-off. But could both, with a combined age of 70, lead the line together? That question was thoroughly answered over the 90 minutes in north London, with our new no.7 scoring the opener and then laying on United’s second strike brilliantly for Cavani, the man who so brilliantly and generously gave up the famous shirt for Ronaldo in the summer.
CAVANI MAKES IT TWO 🏹— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 30, 2021
A perfectly timed pass from Ronaldo to set up Edinson Cavani for a sweet finish to double United's lead
📺 Watch reaction live on Sky Sports Premier League pic.twitter.com/fzxY5LCySe
TON UP AGAINST SPURS
Cavani’s strike was the 100th that United have scored against Tottenham in the Premier League. The Lilywhites are the fourth team we’ve put a century of goals past since the top-flight rebrand, after Newcastle, Everton and West Ham. This is the 59th time United have played Spurs in the league since 1992 and we’ve now won 37 of those games, with the north Londoners only prevailing on 10 occasions.
💯 Edinson Cavani scores Man Utd’s 100th PL goal v Tottenham - the 4th team Man Utd have scored a century of PL goals against (after Newcastle, Everton & West Ham) pic.twitter.com/qwMLyC3yZc— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 30, 2021
BRILLIANT AWAY SUPPORT
It almost goes without saying at this point, as our supporters have been phenomenal all season, even at Old Trafford after last week’s defeat to Liverpool. Although the Tottenham faithful were loud and boisterous during a tight first half, they clearly became frustrated after the break and were eventually drowned out by the joyous away end, who serenaded Solskjaer with numerous songs before turning their attention to Cavani after his goal. Oh, what fun it is to see United win away!