Match report: United 2 Tottenham 0
Manchester United put on a thrilling display to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Old Trafford, led by goals from standout performers Fred and Bruno Fernandes.
Fernandes’s brilliant curler capped a display that arguably ranks as the team’s best since Ten Hag took over in the summer.
United started energetically, with captain Fernandes setting the tone in a tight midfield battle by cleverly finding pockets of space between Spurs’ central trio. Antony and Diogo Dalot saw speculative efforts fail to trouble Hugo Lloris, before Rodrigo Bentacur flashed wide of David De Gea’s goal.
Fernandes was the catalyst again as United rained down a barrage of attempts on the north London side's net. His brilliant dummy set Antony free as Spurs backtracked, allowing the tricky forward onto his left. The Brazilian curled a shot off Lloris’s left post, whipping up the crowd in the process.
From here, only an array of excellent Lloris saves kept the scoreline at 0-0. Fred’s pinpoint pass put Marcus Rashford through on goal, but his powerful shot lacked precision and allowed Lloris to stand up to it. The Frenchman then worked overtime as he stopped a Fernandes free-kick and a cracking Luke Shaw volley from hitting the back of the net.
United racked up an incredible 14 shots inside a frantic 30 minutes that saw Bruno and Fred bound forwards to support Rashford down the middle. There were no signs of the any slow build-up sometimes evident in our disappointing 0-0 draw against Newcastle, as we snapped together a number of intricate passing moves around Spurs’ box.
Antony rounded off the half with a brilliant piece of skill that sent his two closest markers flailing into thin air, before Harry Kane fired an effort straight at De Gea, a timely reminder of Spurs’ counter-attacking threat.
SECOND-HALF - THE HARD WORK PAYS OFF
All of United’s endeavour was rewarded within 76 seconds of the second half. Nineteen attempts at smashing the Spurs door down in the first half, and all it took was one nudge in the second. Fred’s willingness to sprint forwards once again saw him get into a shooting position on the edge of the box, to pick up a Sancho pass. His effort deflected off Ben Davies and trickled beyond the static Lloris for 1-0.
Rashford exploded into life from the restart, pummelling a shot at the Spurs stopper once more. United’s press forced Spurs deeper and into making mistakes, as Rashford, Fred and Bruno continued to stifle the visitors’ attempts to play out from the back.
Kane, marshalled by Lisandro Martinez, began to drop deeper in an attempt to influence play. The England striker had few chances throughout the night, but got himself in a good position to force De Gea into a reactive save. The flag went up, but referee Simon Hooper waved play on as United thrust back up the pitch.
It proved to be a vital moment. Bruno finally got the goal his performance deserved with a wicked curler beyond the diving Lloris. Fred’s tenacity led to the second and almost triggered a third, with Rashford once again rueing the brilliance of Lloris, who slapped away a powerful drive.
Rashford and Bruno nearly combined for a fantastic third, but the offside flag halted the captain's celebrations after he latched onto a defence-splitting pass and rounded Lloris with a classy dummy.
United had time to bring on Christian Eriksen against his former side, another bright spot for Ten Hag as the Dane recovers from illness. Spurs offered very little threat, in truth, highlighted by Martinez’s crunching tackle on Kane just before the final whistle.
A terrific performance from the Reds, with everyone putting in a memorable shift. Next up, Chelsea away!
United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro (Eriksen 86), Fred; Antony (McTominay 75), Fernandes (c), Sancho (Elanga 86); Rashford.
Substitutes: Heaton; Lindelof, Malacia; Pellistri, Garnacho, Ronaldo.
Goals: Fred 47, Fernandes 69.
Spurs: Lloris (c); Romero, Dier (Sanchez 81), Davies; Doherty (Sessegnon 81), Hojbjerg, Bissouma (Moura 81), Bentancur (Skipp 88), Perisic (Spence 88); Son, Kane.
Substitutes: Forster, Lenglet, Tanganga, Gil.