Sport Tactics Break: different match, same issues for Tottenham vs. United
SoM Staff Roundtable: Who is Inter’s most underrated player?
The SoM staff looks at who doesn’t get the credit they deserveI always hesitate to label Inter players underrated because we see these guys week in and week out, so we typically know what they all bring to the team. However, if I am going to venture out onto this limb, I would have to go with Alexis Sanchez. We all know about the fitness woes that have been on and off throughout his Inter career so far, but he has still managed to put up some respectable numbers as a backup.
Another matchday, another disappointing result forfans to stomach. It’s not just the result either - the fact that Tottenham, time and again, fails to perform against quality opposition is perhaps the clearest tell-tale sign that whatever Jose Mourinho is trying is not working.
There were three things I noticed from the match today that are worth discussing.
Tottenham Fail to Provide a Consistent Threat Against Top Opposition
This season, Spurs have failed to build a system to consistently create goal scoring opportunities. Kane and Son’s dynamic from earlier in the season exclusively relied on chemistry and form of two players. Bale had an excellent month or so in his loan spell, but after his form dropped off, he’s been relegated to the bench again.
Man City win to keep pace with WSL leaders Chelsea who hit six
Man City win to keep pace with WSL leaders Chelsea who hit six Second-placed City took the lead through a Rebecca Spencer own goal in the fifth minute and Janine Beckie scored a superb second to finish off a sweeping counter-attack in the 38th, with Caroline Weir adding a third just after the hour mark.
Mourinho typically asks his forward players to interchange positions constantly, in a bid to both confuse defenders on who to cover and also create space for teammates. Spurs are eager to use the flanks, depending on personnel, to build momentum and play short passes to exploit said spaces and progress the ball. On paper, it makes sense, and we see success against teams that are more defensively fragile.
But against the highest quality teams, Spurs exhibit a mental timidity that makes this style of play not only a bore to watch but ineffective.
A team looking to execute this style of play needs off the ball players to be constantly moving, on the ball players to pass quickly, and players receiving the ball to know what they should do with the ball as soon as they receive it.
Report: Harry Kane planning to move from Tottenham
Harry Kane leaving Tottenham is something that Spurs fans have been preparing for ever since, well, his first few months as a Tottenham player. Your browser does not support this video [ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] A report from The Athletic states that Kane, 27, is putting the building blocks in place to leave Tottenham this summer if they don’t qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Spurs are currently three points off the top four with eight games of the season to go.
Spurs currently don’t do any of the three. I plan to take a deeper dive into this - stay tuned.
Used Wingbacks to Overwhelm Spurs
To keep the cliche alive - it was a game of two halves, with the second being a lot more lively as United looked to get back into the game. One way that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to accomplish this was giving more license to Shaw and Wan-Bissaka to have a higher starting position and get more involved with attacks. Shaw had the second most amount of passes after Fred, and he wasn’t just recycling possession. As United attacked more and more down the left, Wan-Bissaka would be the extra man on the far side, coming into the box and helping outnumber Reguilon. It was this width that led to Hojbjerg being dragged out of position to help cover Tottenham’s left side, and left the center with only (comically) Son to try to stop the move that led to United’s equalizer.
All about Tottenham - Manchester United ... TV channel, streaming, probable / premier league (J31)
Manchester United is moving to Tottenham this Sunday (17h30, 31st day of Premier League). Discover the likely compos, TV channel and stream. © Provided by Football 365 Paul Pogba Manchester United hopes to enjoy. If the Red Devils came to win this Sunday on the Tottenham lawn, they would come back to eleven points of the leader. A gulf certainly, but the men of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also have a match less.
Their constant threat on the flanks led pinned both Reguilon and Aurier back, limiting the impact they could have going forward.
The Sissoko Substitution Wasn’t as Crazy as You Think
As mentioned above, Tottenham were overwhelmed on the flanks, but especially so on their right side. Lucas finished the game with the most amount of tackles attempted due to how persistent United were through their left. Spurs did a good job of covering Fernandes and limiting his impact on the game, but of course the other Manchester United man you have to look out for is Paul Pogba.
He had a massive impact on the game, consistently pulling the strings for the Red Devils. The ball near midfielder, typically one of Lo Celso, Ndombele, or Hojbjerg (along with Aurier) was consistently outnumbered, which afford Pogba the time and space required to be the creative force that United fans wished they saw more of.
Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 1 Manchester United: Red Devils dispatch Spurs with three goals in second half
This is why Mourinho sent Sissoko on, to help clog up the right side that United were finding so much joy in. Although it’s a substitution that affects Tottenham’s prowess going forward, at the expense of Lo Celso, it’s a substitution that made sense given what was occurring in the game at that point.
Mourinho cannot control individual player performances, all he can do is try to establish a system that plays to their strengths. While he has failed to do so with Tottenham’s attackers - and defenders - it’s harsh to criticize him for a substitution that might have, on another day, shored up the defense and given more stability, if less creativity, to Tottenham’s midfield.
I plan to record a match review video in which I’ll dive into these points and more later this week. Subscribe to ourfor weekly content.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for April 17, 2021 .
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Bowen Byram, Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi; Edmonton's Dmitry Kulikov; Los Angeles' Matt Roy; Montreal's Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson; Philadelphia's Jackson Cates; Toronto's Nick Foligno, Riley Nash and Ben Hutton; and Vancouver's Nate Schmidt and Jake Virtanen. Read more here.APRIL 15The NHL has confirmed that the Vancouver Canucks will not return to play from their lengthy COVID-19 pause Friday night versus the Edmonton Oilers as originally hoped.