Tottenham 0-1 Manchester United: The Mailbox

Read this and weep. No, just read this and then send your own mails to theeditor@football365.com

 

Man United fans are giddy
It’s been a while since United beat a big team, so I’m still absolutely buzzing this morning! It was never going to be an easy game, and given how good Spurs have been lately, despite their injury troubles, it’s remarkable that we were able to keep a clean sheet. And it’s almost entirely down to Spanish Dave.

De Gea is, quite simply, on another planet. There was an interesting article in the build-up to the game about how he’s under-performed this season, by his own extremely high standards. While there is an element of truth to that, last night he proved yet again why he’s one of the very best.

Another very encouraging sign – over the past few weeks in fact – has been the emergence of Victor Lindelof. He’s quietly becoming the steady presence in defence that we’ve been crying out for since Rio and Vidic left. Stays calm under pressure, and he can play out of the back quite well. He should definitely now be one of the first names on the team sheet. If United recruit wisely (hah!) and pair him with a CB who can take on the more physical side of things, that could solve a lot of our problems.

In the end, it’s a result that’s surely pushed Solskjaer higher up the list of candidates for the full-time job.
DJ, MUFC (haven’t been this happy on a Monday morning in ages. Long may it continue!) India

 

…Some thoughts on the game, because I have thoughts but they usually just stay in my head.

Firstly, United’s line-up seemed like the blatantly obvious best 11 available, particularly in midfield and attack, so why in Ferguson’s name has it taken this long for them to be playing together regularly? (I know why, and it rhymes with shbad shmanager)

Secondly, De Gea’s heroics were obviously vital, but United’s approach to this game was so refreshing. Seeing us attack with fluidity and actually create chances against one of the league’s best teams instead of the usual “if we don’t concede for 93 minutes maybe we can create a chance in the 94th” speciality was something I have been desperately longing for.

That Pogba pass to Rashford made me feel like everything is okay with the world, like there is meaning to be found in the small things and that that alone is enough. Okay I’m getting carried away but what a pass, and that finish was something special too. The players look reformed, it is very early days but it is amazing to see how students begin to thrive when the teacher isn’t actively trying to sabotage their chances of getting into a good university. Pogba, Rashford, Herrera and Matic all look like different players.

Special mention to Lindelof, who looked and played like a captain tonight, and has been our best defender all season. He has a huge future at United.

Lastly, Ole is currently saying all the right things and making all the right decisions. While this honeymoon period won’t last forever, the difference between a toxic-one-sided relationship and true reciprocal love is already painstakingly obvious. Let the love grow, let the love flourish, and let’s hope it lasts a very long time.
Gaaavie, Cape Town

 

Ander Herrera = Roy Keane
De Gea will get all the plaudits and rightly so, but what I saw from Ander Herrera today I haven’t seen since Roy Keane. He was absolutely outstanding and needs to be appreciated!
Joe, MUFC/LOFC

 

Loads more conclusions
1) Everybody has been talking about how De Gea kept Spurs out, but if you look at his saves again, they were all good saves, and some excellent reflex stops, but none of them were really unsaveable. And the reason for this is that United’s much-maligned defence was also doing its job. For all the shots Spurs had, there was always a defender harrying them into a hurried shot. In the Mourinho version, there were too many occasions where the opposition had all the time in the United box to steady themselves and pass it into the corner with no pressure. Credit must go to the defenders for their role in helping De Gea do his thing.

2) Matic is a player who has earned his share of opprobrium in recent times, but I remain a great fan of his ability to retain possession under pressure. He is calmness personified – like a much older kid keeping the ball away from swarming younger players. Yes, he can and does tire occasionally but he is immense in holding the ball up in midfield while transitioning from defence to attack. Yesterday United over-elaborated at times but when they wanted to slow the game down and recycle possession in the middle of the park, he was a critical cog.

3) From nowhere, United are suddenly equal on points with Arsenal, and the goal difference isn’t much to speak of. Chelsea are still six points ahead, but suddenly United look like the team who can win consistently and have the depth of squad to make it count as the big games come around. If he does nothing else, Solskjaer deserves great praise for banishing fear from the Manchester United game.
Ved (You Are My Solskjaer, My Only Solskjaer!) Sen

 

…1) Firstly, Utd players do not “have to look at themselves in the mirror” I was as Pro José as anyone, but he did this to himself, like always.

2) A disgusting thunder storm here meant I missed the first 30 minutes, but from what I saw, yet again Rashford was excellent, gave that turn and pass from Pogba the finish it deserved and his harrying of defenders and workrate up front is really underrated, almost Tevez like.

3) Herrera was Herrera, we couldn’t have hoped to have someone who loved and understood the club as much as Uncle Pat so soon after he left, but there we go, our current Mr. Man United and as F365 have said, he is the bastard we all need, LOVE him.

4) Pogba’s pass was great, there were even more than a couple silky moves to get out of sticky situations, he got on the end of some good balls and could have scored three with a bit more luck/conviction, but wow was he poor defensively in the second half, zero tactical awareness, waving his arms every time he got dribbled past as if it’s a teammates fault, hope it’s just a poor game because I’ve seen him be pretty good defensively (at least for France).

5) David De Gea man, David De Gea, the best goalkeeper at goalkeeping, with his feet or his hands on the planet earth, might be a better one on Mars, but not earth mate.

6) Lindelof, Lingard and Matic were pretty good as well, Lindelof especially has been much better this season, even when José was still skulking around. He would do well with a “hard” defender a la Vidic (a fit Bailly could do it, but Koulibaly would be great) as he reminds me of Rio, you know “a Rolls Royce of a defender”.

7) Okay, I know it’s still early, but I’m gonna say what we’re all thinking.. Ole IN, we’re happy, playing attacking football and he deserves much more credit for his tactics, Lingard in a false 9 linking the midfield and attack, Ant and Rashers attacking the space in between the CBs and full backs, brilliant, and when the interviewer asked him about the second half he said “we were in control of the first half, second half they had many chances, but you’re allowed to have a good goalkeeper, I think” which is pre-Madrid José levels of cheek, loved that, Woody Woody Sign Him Up!
Cortez(meanwhile at Arsenal…LOL Bizzy)MUFC, Botswana

 

…1) David de Gea is officially back. We have missed this version of him. And truth be told I don’t care if he carried us in the second half, “we are allowed to have a good goalkeeper”.

2) Ashley Young, I believe worked very well to keep Son numb for long swathes of the game. Son had a terrible game today, primarily due to Young.

3) Jones is basically almost useless. He was unable to keep track of Kane and he was a burden to watch. He did make one great save at the edge of the box, which was down to luck, for he didn’t know the ball was at his feet.

4) Lindelof has finally grown to his role as center-half. I have been suspicious of this for a while now (ever since Jose’s time) but now am convince, he own Tottenham’s through balls and killed their attack, at least in the first half.

5) I can’t believe Jose kept Herrera on the bench and mostly out of the match squad list. This guy is a genius. He was calm with the ball and great without it.

6) Involved in the last 11 goals for United, hats off for Rashford. And he is ours.

7) Ole Gunner Solskjaer has proven it was not a fluke. He is a tactical master. I mean, he learnt from the old Scot.

8) Six points off the top four. We might just make it.

9) Am enjoying this ride

10) Man United 1 Spurs 0
Elvince Ager, Nairobi

 

An objective view
Before all the inevitable “isn’t OGS the greatest human being ever!” and “SPURS BOTTLED IT. LOL!” mails are shown for the next week, may I present an objective view on the match:

– United played very well the first half. In fact, after 10 minutes I thought it was probably the most entertaining game they’d had against another top-six team in years.

– On another day Spurs win that game 11-1. De Gea was good, but he made saves that a top-level goal keeper should make. Virtually all of Spurs shots went straight at him, he didn’t have to make any finger tip saves. I’m sure Kane & co will be kicking themselves for not being clinical.

– United rode their luck (think of Llorente not getting the ball out from under his feet and weakly shooting straight to De Gea in the final few mins) but that’s not a dig at them, nobody would’ve expected them to dominate the match and they did well to hold on in the second half.

– Poch hasn’t flopped “his interview”. See point two, if Spurs’ players had managed to find the corners a few times instead of straight at De Gea then they’d have won comfortably.

– Equally it’s important not to get over excited by OGS. Winning six in a row is very impressive, hats off to him, but this still feels more like the United players showing their best after years of being told they’re shit. Porto and Inter aside (departed after winning the UCL with both), the is a longish history of teams going on good runs after Jose gets sacked.

– Overall it was an entertaining game, United will be thrilled with the result and Spurs will be kicking themselves.
James

 

Giving credit to Ed
Over the past couple of years, Ed has been (deservedly) getting the stick from both fans and journalists alike. His each noodle, tractor, bathroom fitting deal has been mocked upon and he has been help responsible (along with Glazers) for what seem(ed) like a gradual decline. Waiting for mathematical impossibility to reach Cl qualifiers for both Moyes and LVG before giving them the pink slip had everyone raging.

This time, however, he fired JM just when it was becoming really toxic and not waited till we consolidated 6th or 7th, he also appointed a club legend (caretaker albeit) whose managerial record in PL has been dismal and not Zizou or Blanc who were the front-runners. that gamble has now paid off. Happy squad, happy supporters and results are following. For all doubters who think this is a blip, they need to see the games and how the team is now playing for each other, supporters and more importantly for their manager.

He should surely get some credit.
JM (not the special one) Singapore

 

On De Feet of De Gea
I’m sure there will be enough mails from Spurs and Man Utd fans on the game so here’s something different on goalkeeping styles prompted by De Gea’s well deserved man of the match performance.

Peter Schmeichel was the best keeper in the Premier League for a long time although for a season or two before his head injury Petr Cech was also pretty invincible. Both these keepers seemed to fill the goal and be damn good at intimidating opposition strikers.

Schmeichel had his own brand of charging out and ensuring all his body parts (OK, almost all) were in the way of the striker scoring and in charging off his line he also gave them less time. It worked bloody well and he was a big part of Utd’s success. Most keepers now are pretty quick to charge out and close the gap although De Gea is less likely than most to do so, preferring to stick to the six-yard box predominantly.

In De Gea, I think he’s got a unique style which works bloody well and I’m not sure any other keeper does it like he does? Many of the shots he saved yesterday (and throughout the season) with his feet and legs are shots that most keepers would have tried to save with their hands at their sides and undoubtedly with less success. Almost all the shots he saved were due to his style and positioning rather than cat-like reflexes.

There are better keepers at distribution and coming off their line to stop a through ball before an attacker gets on to it but for stopping the ball going in their own net, he’s the best in the world with that feet and legs style being the difference (his cat-like reflexes when required also helps).
Jon, Cape Town (Loving this Utd)

 

Laughing at Tottenham
Spurs are famously the first team ever to finish third in a two-horse race. Could they be the first to finish fourth (or lower) in a three-horse race?

Let’s hope they’ll never be in a 17-horse race….
Tom K

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