Manchester United suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, losing 2-0 in London. The match week two fixture was going to be a tough test early in the season, and Erik ten Hag’s side failed to match their opponents despite a fast start to the match.
The Reds started on the front foot, pressing well and creating chances from the start. Alejandro Garnacho and Antony each had a go at goal in the opening five minutes, but Vicario wasn’t too troubled by the one attempt on target.
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford got in on the action as well, showing creativity and sharpness that was absent from the first game. The latter set up a good chance for Garnacho on the break after skipping past Mickey van de Ven, and there was a VAR check for a handball by Romero to stop the shot. Given the short distance between Romero and Garnacho the check didn’t take very long, and no penalty was given.
Still, United were the much better team in the first half.
Apart from an appallingly bad miss by Bruno in front of goal and a poor spell to end the half, the signs were very promising. United had 14 total shots with 3 on target and held the majority of possession. The counter pressing in particular was well organized and got the ball back high up the pitch with space to attack, but the sides went into the break still level at 0-0.
Unfortunately for United, Tottenham continued the form they ended the half with, scoring through Pape Matar Sarr in the 49th minute. An effort from the right was deflected to the back post, where Sarr arrived just in time to deliver a clean hit past Onana for 1-0.
The goal brought some urgency to United, but it didn’t bring composure. Antony hit the post and Casemiro had a couple decent chances in the air, but apart from that there was no real threat posed to Vicario for the remainder of the match.
Spurs sealed the three points in the 83rd minute with a bit of a head scratching goal as Ben Davies played a weak shot off target, but a slight deflection by Martinez steered it on target past a helpless Onana.
Nine minutes of added time weren’t enough to help United even after several substitutions. Casemiro and Varane both had headed chances saved, but Spurs saw out the win rather comfortably.
The first loss of the season stings, but it was a preventable loss. United squandered their chances early and faded far too easily in the second half to allow Spurs to take control of the match. Perhaps some effect on the squad from the turmoil surrounding the club hierarchy and the Mason Greenwood situation, as well as potential charges filing against Antony for domestic violence against his former partner, and overall just a very bad match to cap a very bad week for the club.