Manchester United recorded a third consecutive clean sheet as they comprehensively beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Heavy defeats against Brentford and Manchester City are blemishes on Erik ten Hag’s spell as Manchester United manager, but the truth is, the Red Devils have shown glimpses of a brighter future since the Dutchman’s arrival. The first half of this clash was evidence of that as the home side dominated from start to finish. Hugo Lloris’ first save was a fumble from an Antony effort, but from that point on, the Frenchman was imperious. Fred, Marcus Rashford – twice, and Luke Shaw all tried their luck, only to be denied by Spurs’ number one, and on the two occasions they managed to beat the goalkeeper, Casemiro’s drive flew just wide of the post and Antony’s curled strike hit the foot of the post. The visitors, in comparison, were harmless going forward with no significant chances created.
Quite frankly, Antonio Conte’s men were fortunate not to be behind at the break, although they were soon trailing after the interval. It took less than two minutes, in fact, for Ben Davies’ deflection from a Fred effort to escape Lloris’ grasp and nestle in the bottom corner. Despite going behind, Tottenham offered little going forward as United pushed for a second, which came midway through the half. Again, there was little Lloris could do as Bruno Fernandes’ curler from the edge of the area flew into the top corner. The Portugal international almost had another in the final ten minutes but was ruled offside after rounding Lloris and slotting home.
While Ten Hag has led United to victories over Liverpool and Arsenal, the manner of this win will have particularly pleased the former Ajax boss, with his side never relinquishing control. The triumph has a historical significance, too, as the 20-time English champions have now won their last four matches against the Londoners, the first time they have done so since 2010. Spurs have enjoyed a good start to the season, but this match shows their limitations and should pour cold water on any talk of them challenging for the title.