The first game of the season, the early kick off, the money has been thrown in, I was eager just for the ball to start kicking yet again.
Solid start to the game with the first quarter totally in Tottenham’s hands. They had the tempo, looked more slick in possession and united looked a bit dead for pace. Fortuitously Eriksen’s half volley off a wonderfully crafted over the top pass from Kane found its way just over the crossbar. However, an erroneous pass from Bentaleb in the midfield triggered a wonderful three pass break. Unfortunate for Walker who made an effort to clip the ball off the feet of Wazza before he could pull the trigger, the ball painfully trickled past an outstretched arm of Vorm into the bottom corner.
Using the momentum, United made few more searching forward surges, then the first half slowly petered out. The stand out player in the first half was Darmian as he looked comfortable on both feet, confident one on one and with good pace to keep the players interested. Romero’s distrubution has been nervy but his shot stopping was unnerving. Schneiderlin’s tackles and strength has been impressive. Not a lot gets through him.
The second half resumed in the same tempo, with both teams playing compact football with short passes. Darmian yet again was live in the box as Spurs threaten off a break from their third of the pitch. Michael carrick made way for Bastian to pair up in midfield with Schneidelin. Memphis and Wayne are yet to form a formidable link up, Romero has improved his movement and is early to the ball and decisive especially from crosses.
Memphis made way for Herrera. For his debut, playing behind Wayne, he didn’t really get his game going. Herrera added speed to the midfield while Bastian’s fiest earned him a yellow card. Rooney had the opportunity for an overhead spectacular as Darmian stormed down the right wing to cross, but he didn’t connect. The dead ball opportunity fell for Wayne again when Young got clipped outside the box but he flew it too high. Think he needs to be more prepared if he is to be aiming for a 25+ season.
Darmian got to leave ten minutes before the end of the game to a well deserved applause, the best player in the red shirt today. Valencia got caught out twice as he replaced Darmian and clearly it offered Romero to show his ball stopping ability. Smalling has impressed in his new role in the team and apart from a misunderstanding with Romero, which he himself recovered.
Romero does really well in the end to scramble one out of the danger area and to stop a really powerful low strung shot. Manchester united looked nervy in the last few minutes of official time.
Overall, despite the quality of performance, more importantly its the three points.
My overall verdict on the players performance today: