A day to celebrate…
…but the outcome was in the balance for a long time.
‘Lads, it’s Man Utd.’ Blimey.
United were unambitious and the odd run from Martial aside carried no threat. Backwards and sideways and sideways and backwards, they made it hard for us to get any possession but my word, what a mess of a team. Martial out wide, an ineffectual kid down the middle replaced with Young at half time, Mata in a strange position, Lingard also. A mess. LVG – a bullet well and truly dodged.
They did enough though, especially in the first quarter of an hour or so, to disrupt our rhythm and ensure that we were the ones who looked more like they’d changed on the bus.
6 marvellous minutes
Man-boy Fosu-Mensah was probably their stand out player and it may not be coincidence that Dele Alli opened the scoring very shortly after the defender had to depart with an injury in the 68th minute.
There was a battle for possession in the centre before Kane intelligently found Eriksen who in turn crossed adroitly from where Fosu-M would’ve been for Alli to confidently side foot home under De Gea. A couple of minutes later Kane was fouled by Darmian, F-M’s replacement and Alderweireld headed home beautifully from Lamela’s free kick. Those Man United fans who started leaving as soon as Toby’s pin point header found the corner would’ve probably still been in the ground when Lamela completed the scoring a few minutes later by driving Danny Rose’s cross first time low past De Gea’s right hand.
Rose ranked among the best of our performers on a day when ironically what on paper looks like one of our best results of the season was in fact one of our more disjointed displays until Alli’s goal opened the floodgates. Alderweireld was excellent as ever as was Hugo but further forward the players struggled to find space (Dean’s eccentric refereeing didn’t help) and also with their first touch. Eriksen was the only one whose technique consistently allowed him time, Dembélé was hurried, Alli ineffective, Kane a victim of Smalling’s wrestling fetish and Lamela typically alternately wasteful and inspired. He really should scored with a header after thirty minutes or so and made the whole afternoon a lot more comfortable.
Dier did well but we’ll get more from him during the next few games now that he’s reached the yellow card amnesty threshold.
Who needs a drummer?
The three goals arrived in six minutes or so and could’ve been followed by more as the away team fell apart. The atmosphere had been good all the way through but after Alli got the goal scoring underway it was raised several notches as the Park Lane, lower Shelf and even the Paxton Rd end turned the stadium into a bear pit. The away fans filtered away just like their team’s defence, with Darmian and Depay in particular losing their cool.
Today for the first time there seemed to be an outbreak of a song for Pochettino, “he’s magic, you know”. It’s about time too, what that man’s done for us is becoming hard to put into words without being accused of hyperbole.
Stoke next week. COYS.
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