- United produced arguably one of the best 45 minutes of football this season during a second half display against Spurs away from home, as they came from a goal down to hit their opponents three times. After a subdued first 30 minutes, the first half came to life when the officials decided to chalk out an excellent Cavani goal – addressed in the second point below – and soon after Son converted a quick Spurs move to get them in front, which was the only shot at goal by Spurs in the first 45 minutes. From that point onwards, United took control of the match and despite ending the first half without scoring, they started pushing Spurs back. The second half started as the first had ended, with United sharper on the ball and creating chance after chance, with some neat crisp passing in the Spurs half and good movement off the ball, particularly from Cavani, Pogba and Greenwood when he came in for Rashford after an hour. Fred scored the first goal, smashing the rebound in the roof of the net after a scintillating United move which was conclude by a Cavani shot from inside the box, which Lloris could only parry in the path of the onrushing Fred. The second goal came from a Greenwood cross which was met by a flying header from Cavani and the third was scored by Greenwood in added time after fantastic work by Paul Pogba. With Leicester losing to West Ham earlier today, the win at Spurs meant that United have now opened a gap of seven points on third-placed Leicester with seven matches to go. Mathematically, United need to win five matches out of their last seven to ensure an improvement over the third place obtained last year. Clear favourites to claim that second spot behind City.
- I would like to discuss the goal scored by Cavani in the first half against Spurs – it had no effect on the result, which is why I decided to comment on it – and was clawed back by the referee with the assistance of the VAR. Just to bring everyone on the same page, with United on the attack, Mc
- Tominay picked the ball just inside the third of the pitch defended by Spurs and he skipped past Son sideways and moved towards the penalty area with Son chasing. In doing that, his flailing hand hits Son in the face with the faintest of touches and the latter falls to the ground as if he was hit with a full round of an AK-47. Play continues and two passes later, Cavani is one-on-one with the keeper and beats him. The ref was consulted by the VAR and after reviewing the presumed offence on the pitch-side monitor, decides to cancel the goal for a foul by Scott. Now, apart from the fact that in my opinion, Son made the most of a mild contact and managed to con the ref and the VAR, I am deeply concerned by the use of retro-active decisions in this manner. I think that a dangerous policy is creeping in whereby once a goal is scored, the VAR enters in action and screens the last 30 seconds preceding that goal to try and find any offence that would rule out the goal and in that way the VAR becomes the centre of attraction. I am in favour of technology in football to assist the officials in taking better decisions but in today’s case – and others – technology was misused. Even if it was confirmed that there was the faintest of touches by Scott, the contact did NOT give United any advantage or had any influence on the goal. It was insignificant in the creation and the execution of the goal and hence, the ref has to let the goal stand. If United had not scored, that contact would have never been penalised by the ref because those type of contacts happen all the time during a match.
- Special mention today goes to Aaron Wan Bissaka. AWB has never disappointed for his defending since he arrived at United last season. He has no parallels in the Premier League when it comes to one-on-one defending and this is recognised by everyone in football. Where he lags behind is going forward and assisting with the United attacks. He has been criticised time and again for the lack of composure on the ball and his crossing. Against Tottenham – but not only, also in other matches lately – AWB has shown that he is improving all the time in this part of his game and he was simply incredible on the right-hand side. Undoubtedly, on the right track…
Looking forward to receiving your thoughts on the Facebook page. GGMU
Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.