My thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for this wonderful report:-
Saturday 19 August 2023, 5:30pm
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 2 Manchester United (0) 0
Sarr 49, Martinez 83 og
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1):
13 G Vicario; 23 P Porro (12 Emerson Royal 88), 17 C Romero, 37 M van
de Ven, 38 D Udogie (33 B Davies 70); 29 P Sarr (5 P-E Hojbjerg 76), 8
Y Bissouma; 21 D Kulusevski (27 M Solomon 88), 10 J Maddison, 7 H-M
Son (c); 9 Richarlison (14 I Perisic 70)
Subs not used: 20 F Forster, 6 D Sanchez, 4 O Skipp, 18 G Lo Celso
Booked: Udogie (63 dissent)
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Erik Ten Hag
24 A Onana; 29 A Wan-Bissaka (20 D Dalot 66), 19 R Varane, 6 L
Martinez, 23 L Shaw; 18 Casemiro, 7 M Mount (28 F Pellistri 85); 21
Antony (14 C Eriksen 66), 8 B Fernandes (c), 49 A Garnacho (25 J
Sancho 66); 10 M Rashford (9 A Martial 85)
Subs not used: 26 D Henderson (gk), 40 R Vítek (gk), 2 V Lindelof, 39
Booked: Wan-Bissaka (33 preventing free kick from being taken), Antony
(38 foul on Bissouma), Fernandes (39 dissent)
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Attendance: 61,910
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt, Dan Cook.
Fourth Official: John Brooks.
VAR: Craig Pawson.
Assistant VAR: Simon Long.
An exhilarating first win for Postecoglou
Football as Spurs supporters wish to see it returned to Tottenham
Hotspur Stadium in the opening home fixture of the season. Spurs beat
Manchester United fairly comfortably in a game that featured lots of
attacking football. Given that Manchester United finished third in the
Premier League last season while Spurs in the second game of this
season are still a work in progress, the result is hugely encouraging.
The Spurs versus Manchester United fixture has always been one of the
highlights of the top division matches which has produced many
memorable instances of attacking fast-flowing football down the years.
It may have reached its apogee during the 1965-66 season when Spurs
won the game at White Hart Lane in October 1965 5-1 with all five
forwards scoring. Two months later at Old Trafford Manchester United
won by the same score. In October 2020 Spurs enjoyed their most
successful visit to Old Trafford triumphing 6-1. While today's game
didn't produce a significant number of goals it was a very
entertaining game with both teams committed to attacking football.
Spurs made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Brentford last
weekend. Pedro Porro and Papp Sarr replaced Emerson Royal and Oliver
Skipp. It probably reflects the situation where Ange Postecoglou has
nine preferred starters but the competition for the final two
positions is very close. For the second consecutive game Sanchez was
the reserve central defender with Dier again being omitted.
Erik Ten Hag fielded an unchanged team from that which won
unimpressively against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening. He
did however make an interesting decision. Harry ('Slab Head') Maguire
has dropped down in the United pecking order since Ten Hag arrived. He
has lost the United captaincy and is believed to be Ten Hag's fifth
choice central defender. He had a chance to move to West Ham United
but appears to have declined the move. Ten Hag was since quoted as
saying he was glad that Maguire had opted to stay and fight for his
place. However Ten Hag named two goalkeepers among his substitutes
today, surely unnecessary, and there was no sign of Maguire It may be
a case of actions speaking louder than words and Maguire may be
well-advised to pay attention!
Spurs began the game as is tradition by playing towards the north-end
backed by a vociferous crowd. In the early moments they demonstrated
that a Postecoglou team will always play the ball out from the back.
On the first occasion it took them about 45 seconds to move the ball
far from the box. It was then relayed to Kulusevski who made a good
run down the right wing. He crossed the ball but Son was unable to
capitalise on a not very promising chance.
Minutes later the same process happened but a Spurs player lost the
ball just outside the box. Garnacho set up Antony but the latter's
effort was high. As Postecoglou said in his press conference on Friday
he wants to bring joy to the supporters "but they need to understand
there will be some suffering within that."
United had some half chances in the first fifteen minutes. Porro
blocked a Shaw effort. Rashford had the ball in the box but Vicario
closed him down well and Romero denied Garnacho an opportunity.
Bissouma was prominent in breaking up attacking moves from United and
starting counter-attacks. He set one up for Son who crossed to
Kulusevski but his shot was saved.
After 25 minutes Garnacho attempted a cross in the Spurs box. The ball
hit Romero's outstretched arm although he was fairly close to
Garnacho. The United players appealed for a penalty and the incident
was reviewed by VAR who decided that the referees' decision should
stand. It was one of those incidents where those of a Spurs'
persuasion will feel that the decision not to award a penalty was
quite justified while those in red will feel hard-done-by.
Maddison initiated a counter-attack which resulted in a Sarr shot
being saved. Wan-Bissaka was booked for preventing a free kick from
The best opportunity of the first half occurred around the 35th
minute. Shaw crossed from the left. Fernandes was unmarked but headed
over when he should have scored.
Antony was booked when he fouled Bissouma who was initiating a
transition. Fernandes, the United captain, got involved and he too was
booked for dissent.
Spurs best opportunity came around five minutes before the break.
Porro hit the bar with a shot. The ball bobbled around in the United
box. It fell to Sarr close to the right post. His shot deflected off
Shaw onto the bar.
Spurs could feel reasonably satisfied when the break came.
Soon after the break Udogie created space for Maddison on the left. He
was unable to set Son up.
Kulusevski made a fine run down the right. He crossed the ball into
the box where it deflected off Martinez. Papp Sarr made a great run in
the inside left channel and arrived at the right moment to score with
a shot to the near post. It was his first competitive goal for Spurs
in his sixteenth appearance. (His last goal was for Metz against
Lorient in December 2021).
Shortly after the goal United had their best opportunity of the half
but Antony's effort hit the post.
Spurs had a half-hearted penalty appeal when Romero went down in the
opposition box. It resulted in both Romero and Maddison being on the
ground injured. The referee didn't initially stop play because they
weren't head injuries but eventually brought proceedings to a halt.
Following a United free-kick Casemiro produced a good header which
Vicario tipped smartly over the bar. Son made a good run in the
opposition box beating two defenders but his shot was blocked. Udogie
was booked for dissent.
Spurs were a goal ahead and looking comfortable. Ten Hag responded in
the 65th minute by making a triple substitution. It included Christian
Eriksen who was warmly welcomed by the home crowd.
Four minutes later Postecoglou responded with a double change
including a tactical switch. Davies replaced Udogie while Perisic came
on for Richarlison. Perisic became the wide front man with Son moving
into the centre. Richarlison looked disconsolate on being replaced but
hadn't made a significant impact and couldn't complain.
Eriksen embarrassingly misplaced a pass on the edge of his box and
will have been relieved that Spurs couldn't capitalise on the
opportunity. With 14 minutes remaining Postecoglou perhaps decided to
consolidate what he had by replacing Sarr with Hojbjerg. Sarr departed
to a standing ovation.
With seven minutes remaining Perisic became an impactful substitute.
He crossed the ball from the left. Davies had made a good run into the
box may have touched the ball before United's Argentinian defender
Martinez deflected the ball past his goalkeeper Onana.
Spurs had looked comfortable even with a one goal lead and the second
goal consolidated the position. Two minutes before the end of normal
time Manor Solomon came on to make his competitive debut replacing
There were nine minutes added on at the end of the match which seemed
generous but Spurs saw out the remaining minutes comfortably. United
had opportunities but the Spurs defending was resolute. In
appreciation the Spurs supporters sang "Oh Ange Postecoglou".
There were a number of encouraging features today.
In the Brentford game, quite understandably, given the lack of
pre-season games the team appeared a bit disjointed at times
particularly between the different areas, defenders, midfielder and
front-runners. Today there was a noticeable improvement in co-ordination.
The most encouraging aspect was the defending. Over the last four
seasons I wouldn't care to estimate how many goals were conceded
because a defender was out of position and the opposing player had all
the space and time to decide where to score.
The back four were solid today. More importantly almost every time
United went forward the midfielders were back too and there were solid
lines to block the attackers before they reached the Spurs box. If
this level of co-ordination between defenders and midfielders can be
maintained there could be a significant reduction in the number of
There had been only one clean sheet in the last twelve competitive
games but today's one was quite comfortable. If this can be built upon
it augurs well.
The new signings continue to impress. For the second game in a row
Bissouma was outstanding bringing opposing moves to an end and
There was excellent support from the crowd today. There may have been
a protest at the ticket office before the game but the supporters were
solidly behind the team today. After the final whistle the manager and
the players acknowledged the supporters in various parts of the stadium.
The issue still remains of who follows Harry Kane? The team has scored
two goals in each league game so far but they have come from a
full-back, a central defender, a No.6 midfielder and an own goal. None
of the front three has scored yet.
The biggest question is whether Richarlison can succeed in the No. 9
position. He scored a hat-trick against a weak Asian team in a
friendly but hasn't really come close to scoring in the league yet
this season. I'm sure he will be given time but what it doesn't work
out? Véliz is probably too early in his career to assume the role
permanently. It will be interesting to see if the club brings in a
more experienced striker before the transfer window closes.
It is fairly remarkable what Postecoglou has achieved between July 1st
and the first win today. Based on his interviews he appears to be a
grounded person. Given that he has suffered setbacks in his career he
is unlikely to become complacent. There is hope. That has been the
case on numerous previous occasions at the club and unfortunately it
doesn't always translate into achievement.
Postecoglou said after the game "We've still got a long way to go and
today we saw elements of how far we still have to go. If we can keep
feeding the players the belief they have in the second half then we
can create something special."
Today was the 200th competitive meeting between the clubs. Prior to
today United were one of only two Premier League clubs who hadn't lost
at the new stadium. Now there is only one and it could be reduced to
none when the club host Liverpool on the last weekend of September.
. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
. Read the preview for this game.
. All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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