Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the first Manchester United manager to win his first six games as his side ran out 1-0 winners against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur.
The two sides began strongly, with both Harry Winks and Marcus Rashford having good chances to open the scoring early on. Harry Kane had a goal correctly ruled out for offside, before United deservedly took the lead. Rashford continued his electric form under Solskjaer and confidently drilled the ball across Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner to give United the lead shortly before the break.
Chances were not hard to come by in the early stages of the second half, with Lloris and David De Gea both forced into several excellent saves to keep the scoreline as it was. The attacking intent from both sides was clear, with the likes of Kane and Paul Pogba coming close. De Gea was in especially fine form, denying Kane and Dele Alli with a series of stunning saves.
Pochettino’s side pressed heavily, but could not find a way past a resolute United defence. Victor Lindelof and De Gea were both outstanding, and they fought hard to earn a monumental 1-0 victory.
Key Talking Point
Something went very wrong for Tottenham at Wembley. They simply did not look like themselves, misplacing pass after pass and struggling to break down a resolute United defence. Coming up against De Gea in such inspired form is never easy, but Tottenham did not help themselves at all and were guilty of some frustrating decisions in attack.
Their poor performance in the first half left them chasing the game, and they cannot afford to gift top sides so many chances to take the initiative in games.
Tottenham were certainly unlucky to lose Moussa Sissoko to injury in the first half, and this proved to be a turning point in the game. Not only did Tottenham lose their primary source of physicality in midfield, but Christian Eriksen was forced to drop into a deeper role, reducing his effectiveness. Ultimately, they found themselves lacking a cutting edge, and it cost them.
Starting XI: Lloris (6); Trippier (5), Alderweireld (5), Vertonghen (6), Davies (5); Sissoko (6), Winks (5), Eriksen (5); Alli (6), Son (6), Kane (5).
Substitutes: Lamela (6), Llorente (N/A).
STAR MAN – Son Heung-min
It was a tale of two halves for Tottenham. They struggled to create anything significant in the first half, before looking to be a completely different side after the break. Several attackers looked determined to make an influence, led by a huge effort from Son.
The Korean looked energetic and creative, and Tottenham will certainly miss him as he departs for international duty. He was unable to make the difference against United, but it certainly was not for lack of trying.
Fans jumped on Twitter to express their delight at Son’s impact.
Son Heung-Min has become a lot more influential than Dele Ali in the Spurs set up. Dele Ali’s development seems to have stalled
— BabaAlaje (@SunkanmiShams) January 13, 2019
Son Heung-min is a role model in the matter of work’s intensity. Intensity in the aspect of mental focus. Always active, always looking for support with vision and ready to break the tempo, attacking the space from the deep. It’s hard to find a player of similar profile. #TOTMUN
— SM (@slawekmorawski) January 13, 2019
WORST PLAYER – Christian Eriksen
When Sissoko was forced off the field through injury shortly before the half-time break, it was Eriksen who dropped deep into midfield to replace him. However, Eriksen found himself surrounded by United’s energetic midfield, giving him very little time to operate. As a result, he failed to impose himself, and Tottenham certainly needed more from him.
Key Talking Point
Coming into this match, the focus was on Mauricio Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with the United job in recent months. However, Solskjaer truly cemented himself as a leading candidate for the role on Sunday evening.
This was the biggest test of Solskjaer’s United tenure to date, and he passed with flying colours. Tactically, he set the team up to deal with Tottenham’s creativity. The midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba worked tirelessly to stifle their opponents, and the likes of Rashford and Lindelof look to be playing with a newfound freedom and confidence.
Yes, United needed a monumental effort from De Gea in goal, but they deserved as much. The players look to be enjoying their time with Solskjaer, and the Norwegian definitely proved why he deserves to be considered for the permanent role.
Starting XI: De Gea* (10); Young (7), Jones (7), Lindelof (8), Shaw (7); Matic (7), Herrera (7), Pogba (7); Lingard (6), Martial (7); Rashford (8).
Substitutes: Lukaku (5), Dalot (N/A), McTominay (N/A).
STAR MAN – David De Gea
There’s a very good reason why De Gea is viewed as one of the world’s finest goalkeepers. It’s because he is a phenomenal shot stopper, and his skills were truly on show at Wembley.
United needed him to keep out the likes of Kane, Alli and Toby Alderweireld, and De Gea was up to the challenge. Whether it was with his feet or his hands, De Gea pulled off a stunning string of saves to keep his side ahead, and deserves a huge amount of credit for United’s victory.
It was a sensational performance from the Spaniard, and fans were quick to praise De Gea on Twitter.
De Gea isn’t human. Pass it on.
— Stephen Howson (@MrStephenHowson) January 13, 2019
WORST PLAYER – Jesse Lingard
It was by no means a poor performance from Jesse Lingard. However, with the rest of his teammates in inspired form, he struggled to make his mark on the match. He will have wanted to have been more influential in attack, but United fans will certainly not be worried.
Tottenham will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Sunday.
As for United, they will be looking to make it seven consecutive wins when they host Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.