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Player Ratings v Manchester United

Manchester United
1 - 0
Tottenham Hotspur

Old Trafford


Attendance: 75,271


We huffed and puffed but Tottenham Hotspur simply couldn't blow the Old Trafford (goal) house down.

A poor Manchester United side did enough to beat a less than average Spurs side but hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Isn't it?

Snooze patrol

Moaning Mourinho's men scored the only goal of the game after 30 minutes when Harry Kane's misplaced pass was enough for Ander Herrera to take possession and low and behold, he played a through ball to Henrikh Mkhitaryan to hoof a shot past a stranded Hugo Lloris.

Chances were few and far it time for the player ratings.

Player Ratings

Hugo Lloris 7

A couple of first half saves but Mkhitaryan's powerful shot flew past him like a bullet. In fact I doubt he even knew it had been struck and before he knew it he was picking the ball out of the net.

Kyle Walker 6.5

Kept busy by United's pressing attacks. Solid at times.

Toby Alderweireld 6.5

First full Premier League appearance since October and to be fair he didn't exactly standout. He did however make one good turn and sprint to stop Mkhitaryan running clear in the second half. He appears to have fully recovered from his injury and it will no doubt take him a few games to settle into the swing of things.

Jan Vertonghen 6.5

One fantastic first half block to prevent Mkhitaryan from causing more misery but other than that he had little to do.

Danny Rose 6

The only notable point was when he was shown the yellow for a lunge on Mkhitaryan.

Victor Wanyama 6

Missed another sitter when he headed sideways rather than towards the goal following Eriksen's free-kick. I nearly scored him 5.5 but having made some cracking challenges I decided against it.

Mousa Dembele 5

Did nothing to impress Poch and was replaced by Winks. Poor by his standards.

Christian Eriksen 6.5

Tested De Gea a couple of times and seemed likely to get us back into the game. Sadly it wasn't to be!

Dele Alli 4.5

Last week he was blowing hot and against the Manchester lot blew stone-cold. Was out-of-sorts and didn't impress me one iota.

Heung-Min Son 6

Played better and brighter, more than he's done in a few week (during the first 45), just a pity he couldn't continue after the break. Signs of a revival in confidence and determination.

Harry Kane 4.5

Looked sluggish and way off the pace. I also believe he was at fault for United`s goal - minced around the midfield and found it hard to make a decent pass.

Moussa Sissoko 7

Replaced Son (57 mins). Looked a threat straight from the off, injecting pace and passion. Pity he didn't make the starting line-up.

Harry Winks 6

Replaced Dembele (67 mins). Tidy and impressive but didn't have that cutting edge in attack. Join the club Harry!

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou

Came on for Eriksen (83 mins). Fifth Premier League appearance off the bench since his move from Marseille in the summer. Unfair to add a score with so little time on the field.

Date:Monday December 12 2016
Time: 10:21AM


Watch the goal again and see Hugo fall backwards instead of staying on his feet. Dembele was hooked due to a foot injury.
Nick Real Deal
12/12/2016 11:11:00
To be fair, Kane was completely at fault. One sloppy pass caused us to lose. .... seems Alli is getting some stick. Maybe bench time.? On a positive it shows our bench is very weak, let's hope the management team realise and sanction a decent striker in Jan. It was very frustrating, we are a superior team to Man Utd. Onwards and upwards .... let's hope hull suffer for yesterday.
12/12/2016 11:14:00
Superior to United? Have you any idea how much their side cost?
12/12/2016 12:22:00
For my part: Lloris 5 Walker 5* Rose 5 Toby 5 Verts 5 Wanyama 5 Dembele 3 Dele 3 Son 3 Eriksen 4 Kane 3; GKN 5 Sisko 6 Winks 5

On to victory on Wednesday and Sunday !
12/12/2016 13:00:00
Gent it is then for the last 32 EL match. Could have been a lot worse.

As for Weds, will Poch rest Son and Dele after their displays at OT, as well as losing Dembele to injury. I'm guessing Dawson, Mason, Livermore and Hudd will all be looking forward to being back at the Lane.

My lineup would be Lloris; Walker, Toby, Verts, Rose; Wanyama, Winks; Eriksen, Sissoko, N'Koudou; Kane.
12/12/2016 13:41:00
Dembele is a fine player when fit, but unfortunately that is not often enough, he seems to be perpetually either injured, carrying a knock, or coming back following an injury and getting back up to speed, he seems very very rarely fully fit and able to play to his considerable potential. It maybe time to consider somebody more reliable, and durable, in what is a key position in the team, Wanyama was a move in the right direction, unlike the big money purchase of Sissoko who unfortunately does not look to be the answer.
12/12/2016 15:17:00
too many threads, coming too fast...
12/12/2016 16:41:00
At long B****Y last How long has it taken for them to click on to this? ........................................................................................................................
12/12/2016 21:11:00
chrishove123, we need to hear that from Poch re adapting. These players are being made in to robots. If the philosophy is faltering or not clicking, need to train players to react. Right now we are neither pressing high nor unlocking defences. When we do break, we pause for breath and allow the opposition to regroup. Can't remember any decent crosses in from either flank on Sunday.

Frank, I've said the same thing about Dembele. injury prone, zero goal threat, has an occasional good game. Time to move on and give a.n.other the chance.
12/12/2016 21:49:00
Critical - after the CSKA game, I said on VS that the same 3 symptoms are there. (1) Son is a complete passenger who may just come to life for a split second and create or score a goal. We need 90 min players (2) Rose is turning down 80% of opportunities to cross the ball. Walker is better but still about 50:50 (3) We are not defending as a team and the AM's are at fault. Dele is no longer covering in for Dembele and being that defensive force like he was last season.

Once again, against Utd all of the symptoms were there in abundance. I agree with Frank as well in that Dembele is out of the side too much with niggles and injuries. For me, the first thing Poch now has to do is drop Son and find a replacement for Dembele who is injured again. Personally, I would put Sissoko back in with Wanyama and then play Dele in front so he interchanges with Sissoko. For me, Eriksen has always been best tucked in on the right and brings the best out of Walker. That leaves Kane up top and either Winks or N'kooudou for the left. With Dele and Sissoko in the side hitting the box I want to see us getting crosses in against Hull and Burnley.
13/12/2016 10:09:00
muttley, I agree with most of what you wrote. However, there is one other option as I see it. I think we need to get Dier back in DM. Wanyama imo is not a DM as both he and Dembele are essentially box-2-box. I see Wanyama in the oppo's box more than Dembele. So, for me, Dier as DM, with Wanyama and Sissoko both box-2-box. Agree, those that are performing inconsistently put them on the bench. We are nearly 40% way through the season and before you know it, the season could be over while we wait for some of these players be 'on fire'. It's not all doom and gloom, more a case of frustrating. We need to find a fix while we are still within touching distance of top-4. COYS!
13/12/2016 11:24:00
Muttley, you make some very valid points. I too get very frustrated when Rose and Walker don't cross when in good positions. But in their defence they don't often have aim targets to aim at. Wanyama and Dembele never go into the penalty area. Eriksen is normally on the fringes of it. So at best, and not always, we have only three players to look for. And normally 7+ defenders marking them. So I think they're only partially to blame.
Gary Onedaysoon
13/12/2016 11:25:00
First 'aim' should read 'many'. Apologies.
Gary Onedaysoon
13/12/2016 11:26:00
Gary, Agree to an extent about not enough bodies in the box for the crosses. The issue I see is that we no longer break at speed and collectively. Often a single player makes the break (Walker) and no one able to arrive in support. Last season, we broke at full felt and it was a joy to watch and we prevented the oppositions time to organise their lines. The fact that a lot of the teams are happy to sit back, we are forever facing crowded final 3rd. We were very good at turning defence in to attack which is missing this season imo.
13/12/2016 11:39:00
Critical - I get the midfield 3 of Dier, Wanyama and Sissoko. What I don't get is how you then play guys like Eriksen and Dele effectively in behind or with Kane.

Gary - it's chicken and egg. Rose won't cross it if nobody is in there. However, if he doesn't start crossing it, players won't make the runs in there. Personally I would like us to do what every other team does and get it in regardless. A lot of the time you get the second ball anyway and find the defence out of position as the cross has stretched them in some way. I barely saw Utd turn down a chance to cross it. Chelsea were the same when they played us as well as have most teams been.
13/12/2016 11:49:00
muttley, ref your 1st para. That is exactly it! IMO, Poch with new signings, old ones not performing, suspensions and injuries, Poch to trying to find the best combo in teh mid and AM area. Winks and Sissoko introduced this year with Dier dropping to defence, the whole setup seems to have lost the rhythm. NPoch has to use the training and persistence in matches to stick with
13/12/2016 13:26:00
muttley, ref your 1st para. That is exactly it! IMO, Poch with new signings, old ones not performing, suspensions and injuries, Poch to trying to find the best combo in teh mid and AM area. Winks and Sissoko introduced this year with Dier dropping to defence, the whole setup seems to have lost the rhythm. NPoch has to use the training and persistence in matches to stick with
13/12/2016 13:26:00
muttley, ref your 1st para. That is exactly it! IMO, Poch with new signings, old ones not performing, suspensions and injuries, Poch to trying to find the best combo in teh mid and AM area. Winks and Sissoko introduced this year with Dier dropping to defence, the whole setup seems to have lost the rhythm. NPoch has to use the training and persistence in matches to stick with
13/12/2016 13:26:00
continued... (hit submit too early!).. stick with what he considers he wants to develop and not tinker too much. He spent ages trying to accommodate Mousa Dembele last season. We are supposed to be moving a notch up from last year, instead we have discontinuity.
13/12/2016 13:29:00
Oh ffs...apologies for repetitions!
13/12/2016 13:31:00
Muttley, fair point re. crossing regardless. When you think about it, it does seem pointless adopting a playing style that encourages the full backs to get forward if, once they get there, they don't cross the ball.

Critical, good point re. collective breaking at speed. I thought we'd turned a corner after the Stoke game where we scored at least one goal from breaking in our own half and in the blink of an eyelid the ball was in the net.What is also missing this season is the intensity of our forward players' pressing. How many goals did we score last season by dispossessing opponents in their own half and scoring from the turnover of possession? Quite a few that I can remember. But I can't remember a single goal scored this way this season. In fact we very rarely dispossess opponents in their own half now. It's more about closing down the space than pressing the man in possession.
Gary Onedaysoon
13/12/2016 14:18:00
One thing I liked about Ryan Mason, was that he made forward runs from deep giving us more options on the ball and the opposition another threat to think about. Winks seems to do this as well which is a plus. Neither Dembele or Wanyama get forward enough, they both play as DM's rather than box2box. Doesn't sound like a major adjustment, but could help our forward play. At the moment we can be too rigid, ie players don't break out of their horizontal line on the pitch (if that makes sense). dele's the only player who does and look how many chances he gets (and misses) as a result.
13/12/2016 18:54:00
Another issue is that we don't have any genuinely world class creative players (imo) Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea don't look as good without the likes of Ozil, Sanchez, Hazard, DeBryne and Augero. Eriksen's probably the best we have, but he can go off form for months at a time,
13/12/2016 18:59:00
Surely Dembele is a b2b player? Just that he got suspended, injured and is now trying to gain form and momentum. It's not happening for him - he's known for carrying the ball past players with ease, but is currently losing it a lot. Wanyama is a DM if I've ever seen one. I think the nail was hit squarely with the suggestion that we're not pressing and winning the ball upfield, and that our issues this season are from our AM's. Plus obviously we've had to manage without Kane, but there's a distint difference in the levels of energy from last season, and even then, WITH the energy, we often only won by a goal.
13/12/2016 21:26:00
Dembele can be a b2b player, but he isn't really playing as one. He isn't getting forward enough imo, Winks takes up more advanced positions when he's on the pitch. As Kane recently pointed out, theres nothing to press this season (compared to last), because teams are sitting back a lot more allowing us to have the ball. Hopefully Everton hang on here...
13/12/2016 21:35:00
Guyver, I'm think. missing your point. If teams are indeed sitting deeper, and I'm not sure I agree with that, then all we need to do is push up further collectively as a team. Our forward players can still press the player in possession, as we were doing last season. I'm not suggesting our back line go beyond the halfway either.
Gary Onedaysoon
14/12/2016 05:37:00
Gary, not just my point, Harry kanes point. It's easier to press a passing team who are trying to control a game, than it is to press a team who are happy to concede space and possession, to hit us on the counter. If you look at the distance covered and average possession per team, we are still one of the best, if not the the best in these departments. It just doesn't look as pronounced as last season. Our problems this season are more related to what we do when we have the ball, rather than what we do when we don't have the ball.
14/12/2016 10:21:00
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