Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Premier League as they eked out a hard-fought 1-0 win over Tottenham at Old Trafford on Saturday
Manchester United started the match the brighter of the two sides as Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford came close in the early stages. But, Tottenham took control of the proceedings, grabbing a few half chances, with Moussa Sissoko also spurning a big chance when David De Gea spilled the ball after colliding with Phil Jones.
Chances continued to come few and far between for both sides even after the break, with Dele Alli coming the closest to scoring when he missed an open chance from close range, while Lukaku was unlucky to head against the post not long after.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 28, 2017
But, the hosts had the last laugh as Lukaku’s glancing header released substitute Anthony Martial clean through on goal, with the Frenchman making no mistake in scoring past Hugo Lloris. Thus, Mauricio Pochettino was made to feel hard done by the absence of Harry Kane, whose finishing abilities could have come in handy.
Manchester United, though, went clear into second place, maintaining pace with neighbours Manchester City, who remain five points ahead. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jose Mourinho’s men after a hard-fought win on Saturday.
David De Gea: 7/10
Not troubled upon to make many saves, with Tottenham creating very few clear cut opportunities. But, De Gea was at his alert best as he collected the ball calmly, apart from the one spilled ball in the first half, while also coming off his lines quickly, whenever required.
David De Gea has faced 13 shots at home in the Premier League this season:
No way past. pic.twitter.com/aUAUW9PTEJ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 28, 2017
His distribution was on point as well, in particular in the buildup to the goal as he found Romelu Lukaku with his long ball before Anthony Martial converted. All in all, an assured performance during which he ensured that he was rarely left troubled.
Eric Bailly: 7/10
Making his first start in nearly a month, Bailly showed no signs of rustiness as he looked assured and solid, keeping Dele Alli quiet while dealing with the aerial threat well too in the latter end of the match. His return bodes well for Manchester United.
Chris Smalling: 7/10
Chris Smalling’s game by numbers vs. Spurs:
100% aerial duels won
3 aerial duels
Clean sheet ✅ pic.twitter.com/m0x2bCgilD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 28, 2017
Sitting in the middle of the back-three, Smalling played the sweeper role smartly while also marshalling the back-line superbly at the same time. Did well to do his bit to build up play from the back as well, but the Englishman was rarely troubled, giving very little space to for Spurs exploit.
Phil Jones: 7/10
Nervy to begin with, Jones grew into the game as it progressed as he became increasingly solid and confident, particularly on the ball. Off it, there was very little to fault out of the Englishman as he closed down spaces smartly and made some superb last-ditch tackles. Another player whose fitness is key.
Antonio Valencia: 7/10
Solid and composed at the back, Valencia was only troubled by his opposite number in the Spurs side on a couple of occasions. But, his impact in the final third was not as pronounced as usual, especially with Tottenham seeing more of the ball. Nevertheless, another no-nonsense performance that could have also ended with a screamer in the second half.
Ander Herrera: 6/10
Only did half his job well as he kept Harry Winks quiet and was at his tenacious best off the ball. But as has been the case for the most part so far this season, Herrera created very little impact with the ball, with his attempted through balls being intercepted with ease. Nevertheless, it was a solid outing for him as he played his part in the result.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
Man of the Match, Nemanja Matic
Most passes (53), possession gained (10 times), interceptions (4) and distance covered (11.61km) for Man Utd pic.twitter.com/XIBAPRzDzN
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 28, 2017
Reliable and dependable as ever, Matic screened the back-line well, but his passing was slightly off in the first half. In the final 45 minutes of the game though, the Serb was at his best as he not only kept things tight in midfield, but also dictated the tempo of the game well.
Ashley Young: 8/10
Yet another outing when the veteran Englishman showcased his versatility and dependability. Young is growing in the left-back role with each passing game, and he defended resolutely on Saturday, with a 100% tackle rate in particular being highly impressive.
In addition to that, Young was the brightest of the four wing-backs in the game as he charged forward with purpose, creating a number of chances that went abegging. Man of the match.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 5/10
The poor run of form continued on Saturday for Mkhitaryan, whose creativity was nowhere to be seen on the day. Instead, the Armenian was sloppy in possession, and misplaced several passes. With his end product lacking at the moment, his confidence seems to be headed downhill.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
A lively and energetic performance on the back of a superb outing in the midweek, Rashford was the biggest threat for the hosts. Often at a numerical advantage though, his efforts didn’t amount to a lot for the most part. He did come close though, early on.
Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10
Lukaku’s game by numbers vs. Spurs:
4 aerial duels won
11 passes completed
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 28, 2017
Made to work a lot off the ball, Lukaku was diligent in his defensive duties, but his hold-up play left much to be desired. The Belgian did grow into the match as it progressed though, and he brilliantly flicked David De Gea’s long ball to set Martial up for the winner. But, he surely is in need to find his scoring boots.
Jesse Lingard: 6/10
With the Tottenham defenders tiring, the move to bring Lingard on was a smart one by Mourinho as he threatened with his pace. But, he was guilty of putting the match to bed late on when he sent the ball way over the bar when clean through on goal.
Anthony Martial: 7/10
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 28, 2017
Yet another game in which Martial made an impact from the bench. The Frenchman now has four goals as a substitute in the Premier League this season as one of his several penetrating runs ended in success.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
Came on with minutes left on the clock, and the Italian barely had time to make an impact.