Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur entered Sunday’s clash with topsy-turvy ambitions. United were chasing the top four; Spurs the title – a marked role reversal in comparison to the last decade. Let’s take a look at four talking points from Sunday’s game at White Hart Lane.
1.Spurs can win, and win well, despite not playing brilliantly.
There have been times when Tottenham have been simply irresistible this season, but to be frank, this wasn’t one of them. Spurs started poorly, ceding a lot of possession to Louis Van Gaal’s side, and all early indications suggested it’d be a close contest.
Then Spurs stepped up in the second half. Whatever Pochettino said to his men at half time clearly had the desired effect and Tottenham swept to a deserved victory.
What was notable about this performance is that it wasn’t a vintage Spurs display. They lost the ball a lot and they failed to get Harry Kane involved anywhere near as much as they should have. Yet they won – comfortably. The mark of a great side is their ability to win when they aren’t at their optimum and we saw this quality in spades on Sunday.
2.David De Gea must be counting down the days.
The United goalkeeper was by far the best player in a United shirt, and to be honest, he must be embarrassed to be part of such a mediocre side. De Gea is the one name that makes you sit up and take notice when the United side is read out, and that must be an alarming thing for a player who wants to be Spain’s number one goalkeeper for many years to come.
He didn’t leave last summer, but all evidence suggests that he must be off this June, with Real Madrid waiting in the wings. Who could blame him for heading south?
3.United really are very average.
It may seem harsh to labour the point, but it needs to be said: this United team is in need of a major overhaul. Scan through the lineup and there’s no one scary, no one that makes you think that they could turn a match on its head. Instead – bar de Gea – it’s a load of overpaid, overrated prima donnas.
I cannot imagine United letting van Gaal stay now, but whoever comes in needs to spend big to get the players who can make a genuine difference to a side that used to be great, and is fast becoming very average indeed.
4.Erik Lamela has made it.
When the Argentine teenager signed from Roma in the summer of 2013, he had an awful lot of pressure resting on his shoulders – and he didn’t deliver.
But with most of the cast of 2013 moved on elsewhere, Lamela is still at White Hart Lane alongside Christian Eriksen, orchestrating attacks, scoring goals and winning matches
His man-of-the-match award was well deserved, with a pinpoint cross for Toby Alderweireld’s goal preceding a wonderful finish for Tottenham’s third. We can finally say that Lamela has made it in the Premier League.