Manchester United finally broke their series of home draws with a 1-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday, thanks to a thumping strike from Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the first-half. Despite the win, Jose Mourinho’s men still remain in the 6th position in the table but are just 3 points behind 5th places Spurs.
United, having played out four draws at Old Trafford, started the game brightly forcing Hugo Lloris into an early save. However, the visitors soon started to boss the possession but lacked the cutting edge though and as soon as Ander Herrera won the ball from Harry Kane at the halfway line and slid in to Mkhitaryan, the Armenian hit home with aplomb.
Paul Pogba came close to double United’s lead in the second half, as he struck the woodwork with a free-kick and then forced Hugo Lloris into making another save. Spurs piled on the pressure in the dying stages, with substitute Moussa Sissoko causing problems from the right-hand side, but the Red Devils stood firm and made sure they walked with three points.
It was a highly impressive performance from Jose’s team despite Tottenham enjoying a bigger share of possession of 60% compared to United’s 40%. However, the home team were much sharper and brighter with and without the ball throughout the night. Spurs had the ball but it was United who looked the more threatening and as a result, they had more shots (14) compared to the Londoners (12). United were more accurate with their shooting as well with 5 of their shots on target compared to Tottenham’s 4. If not for Hugo Lloris’ brilliance in the goal, the margin of defeat could’ve been much higher for Spurs.
United did give away possession at times often though as only 198 out of their 288 attempted passes reached the intended target, meaning a success rate of 69% whereas Spurs were much more efficient with the ball having made 429 passes out of which 333 were accurate at a success rate of 78%.
The away team were also more successful in their attempts at dribbling past an opponent player having won 16 of their 26 tries to go past a United man. United though didn’t attempt many dribbles as they looked to hit Spurs on the counter and hence made only 12 attempts out of which they went past only five times. Spurs also won more corners (8) than the home side (3), especially in the late stages as they tried to get something out of the game.
However, they were outdone in aerial duels by Mourinho’s men, despite the physical advantage with the likes of Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen etc. United came up trumps 20 times in their attempts to win an aerial ball compared to 13 wins for Pochettino’s men.
United looked to harry their opponents throughout the game, with the likes of Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick always looking to force an error on the ball from Spurs players. As a result, the Mancunians managed to dispossess their opponents 15 times while Spurs won the ball from United on 11 instances. That also meant the 20-time league winners made more fouls (19) than Spurs (17).
The Red Devils were very strong defensively throughout the game, having made a whopping 24 interceptions, compared to only 10 for Tottenham. United also attempted more tackles (37 attempted, 21 successful) than Spurs (27 attempted, 22 successful) but the Lilywhites enjoyed more success with their tackle attempts in comparison with United.
It was a typical Jose Mourinho team on display at Old Trafford, as they worked extremely hard defensively, and hit their opponents with some direct counter-attacking football. It was an emphatic win for Mourinho and United after some disappointing results, especially at home and could act as a springboard for them going forward this season.